Having all your literature in one place is a good way to get more efficient at the meetings and in field service. Ideally, the official JW Library app will help all of us annotate and highlight the near future. Until that time comes, we’re able to rely on some pretty nice third-party apps. Previously on AppChasers.com we’ve recommended using the app Documents by Readdle to get this done. And if you’re looking for even more annotation features for notes and such, PDF Expert is an excellent choice. But there is a new app in town looking to get you theocratically organized – JW Companion.
Like the (now defunct) app Equipd, JW Companion is design specifically with Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind. The goal is to let you download, store, organize, and annotate your literature all in one app. It does a pretty good job of it too. The main view is called Briefcase and here you’ll see all your PDF and ePub files. There are also folders that can be arranged, renamed, and organized. Inside each pre-named folder you’ll find a direct link to the section of jw.org housing that publication. So, in the Kingdom Ministry folder, the jw.org link will take you right to the KM section of the site for downloading. This all happens within the built-in browser.
Open a PDF and you’ll be able to annotate it with text, images, drawings, notes, and stamps. You can also capture audio recordings inside your PDFs. It is worth noting that JW Companion handles the new Interactive Program very well as it allows you to take notes while preserving all the links. A Duo Screen mode lets you open multiple PDFs at once. This feature is aimed at users in the foreign language field. In this mode you can open up one PDF and then you’ll see a “+” icon allowing you to open up another. While this sounds good in theory, in practice its buggy and not worth the effort. The views switch from side-to-side to over-under with a slight tilt of the iPad. Its quite a frustrating experience and one you’ll want to avoid. If you’re looking for side-by-side studying, I would recommend Easy Annotate.
The ePub viewing is almost identical to iBooks and you might even think you’re using that app, which is a good thing. You can highlight and add notes. Scripture links will pop-up in boxes too. Where iBooks falls down for me is the lack of true syncing of files. And JW Companion does no better here. So any annotations you make to PDFs or ePubs will not show up outside of the device you’re currently using. That’s a disappointment and one reason a like PDF Expert and Documents so much.Possibly the best feature of JW Companion is the aforementioned built-in internet browser. Within it you’ll be able to navigate to jw.org and download any files, videos, and music you’d like. It all works seamlessly and is great for storing foreign language videos and songs (which JW Library currently doesn’t facilitate). These media files can be watched or listened to within the app. As of this review, downloading from JW Broadcasting (tv.jw.org) does not work. If you’d like to download those videos for offline viewing, check out this video using JW Library. For downloading foreign language videos from JW Broadcasting check the video here.
The following video will show you an extensive overview of JW Companion.
Overall, JW Companion is a functional utility for getting organized for the meetings and field service. However, if you’re looking for a true foreign language studying app like Equipd, right now JW Companion falls way short. Personally, I’m eagerly awaiting annotation and highlighting features coming to the official JW Library app. And I hope they add in foreign language study features like Equipd had. But in the meantime, JW Companion is a quick and versatile study and organizing app for Jehovah’s Witnesses.