Apple adds new App Intents APIs for Shortcuts in iOS 16.4 betas

Along with the first beta release of iOS 16.4, Apple has published a new beta protocol for the App Intents APIs that let developers foreground their process if user interaction is required.

Michael Gorbach, engineering manager on the App Intents, Shortcuts and Proactive Intelligence team at Apple, posted the following about the release on Mastodon:

In other exciting news, we've added some new App Intents APls in the 16.4 betas:
If you have an App Intent / App Shortcut that generally runs in the background, this protocol lets you "continue" the intent in the app, foregrounding it so the user can interact there. This is great for scenarios such as asking the user to log in again, or if an order needs changing due to items being out of stock. If you're an App Intents adopter, try it out and let us know what you think!

Here’s the description of the protocol from Apple’s website:

The ForegroundContinuableIntent protocol represents intents which begin their work with the app in the background but may request to continue in the foreground.

This protocol will be in beta for the iOS 16.4 developer cycle, so app developers can begin building with this now – everyday users won’t see the effects of this in their apps until iOS 16.4 releases in full after Apple’s testing cycle.

Learn more about the ForegroundContinuableIntent protocol in the Apple Developer Documentation.


iOS 16.4 beta: New Shortcuts actions for Stage Manager, Intercom, VPN, Always-On Display coming

Today, Apple posted the first developer beta for iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, macOS 13.4, and watchOS 9.4 — as is tradition, the Shortcuts community rushed to download the new betas and checked for new actions available in the app.

On Reddit, r/shortcuts moderator u/ibanks3 has posted a full list with links to screenshots of each action – here’s the list so far:

  1. Silence Unknown Callers
  2. Set Stage Manager
  3. Set True Tone
  4. Set Announce Notifications
  5. Shut Down
  6. Lock Screen
  7. Set Always on Display
  8. Intercom
  9. Set VPN
  10. Set Airdrop Receiving
  11. Set Night Shift

Apple posts iOS 16.3 release notes for Shortcuts

On Tuesday, Apple posted another update to the “What’s new in Shortcuts” release notes page to add the latest round of fixes made available in the iOS 16.3 cycle.

This latest update includes one main feature, plus a handful of fixes:

This update includes a new checkbox in the Shortcuts editor’s Privacy tab that allows users to disable a shortcut from being run while the device is locked, enhancements to existing actions, and reliability improvements to editing and running shortcuts.

Updated Actions

For those building custom shortcuts, some actions have been updated:

  • Find Reminders can now filter reminders due in the next or previous week
  • Log Workout now supports Ask Each Time for workout duration
  • Log Health Sample now supports Ask Each Time for values on watchOS
  • Find Health Samples now supports searching for health types in the editor
  • Get Contents of URL can now use variables for the file parameter for POST or PUT requests
  • Configure Focus Filter actions now correctly set the Focus Filter on iPhone when run from watchOS
  • Show Notes Folder action now correctly appears in the editor

Apple posts Shortcuts release notes for iOS 16, 16.1, and 16.2

Following the release of iOS 16.2 on Tuesday, Apple published an update in their Support knowledge base detailing new features and issues fixed in Shortcuts in the last few releases since iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS Ventura launched.

The main headline features for iOS 16.2 are new actions for Books and changes to the Wallpaper actions:


15,000 ways you can use the Action button on Apple Watch Ultra

Source: Apple Newsroom

Today, the Apple Watch Ultra reviews dropped — and I’ve seen lots of coverage mention that the Action button can be set to run any shortcut.

This 9to5Mac article explains “What you can assign to the Action button, secondary actions, third-party apps” with a list of “Native options for the Action button can start/launch”:

  • Workout
  • Stopwatch
  • Waypoint
  • Backtrack
  • Dive
  • Flashlight
  • Shortcut (from Shortcuts app)
  • None

However, being able to use “Shortcut (from the Shortcuts app)” really means a lot more than that one line.


Back at WWDC ’22 during the keynote presentation, Apple’s Senior Director of Siri and Language Technologies, Robby Walker, said this line about the Shortcuts app (at ~0:16:30 in):

“There are over 15,000 apps that work with Siri using SiriKit and Siri Shortcuts.”

That means the Action button can be set to any shortcut  using any of the:

• 15,000+ apps with Shortcuts support,

• 300+ native actions available for custom shortcuts,

• automatically-generated App Shortcuts from your apps

I’ve shared over 800 shortcuts myself in my Shortcuts Library, documented all 300 actions that Shortcuts users can build with in my Action Directory, and have extensive coverage of App Shortcuts so far in iOS 16 — there’s so much opportunity for that dedicated Action button.

As I’ll explain in an upcoming post, the Scripting actions in Shortcuts can also be used to make your chosen Action button shortcut fully dynamic. With a bit of setup in Shortcuts, you can program one shortcut to serve multiple purposes depending on the time of day, day of week, Focus mode, or any other condition that can be detected — sign up here for my newsletter to get updated once that post goes live.

I’m super excited to test this out and get my hands on an Apple Watch Ultra — I missed the preorder, however, so I suppose I’ll be outside my local Apple Store this Friday…


You can set the new Action button on Apple Watch Ultra to anything in Shortcuts

Source: Apple Newsroom

Today in Apple’s “Far Out” keynote presentation, the company released their new Apple Watch Ultra with a new dedicated Action button that can be used for physical access to key goals in apps at the appropriate time.

According to Apple engineering manager Michael Gorbach’s post on Twitter, the Action Button is powered by the new App Intents APIs that were released at WWDC and power the upcoming App Shortcuts feature as part of iOS 16 — and Shortcuts users can assigned a dedicated shortcut to the button as well:

I’m super excited to see this capability come to Apple Watch Ultra — and I hope Apple Watch gets an Action Button in the future ??‍♂️

News Siri Shortcuts

Learn about App Shortcuts from Apple’s WWDC’22 developer sessions

At Apple’s worldwide developer conference during their State of the Union address1, Apple launched App Shortcuts and the AppIntents API, features designed for “zero setup” of shortcuts from third-party apps for use with Siri.

If you’re a developer looking to implement Shortcuts support in your app, Apple has now released all four sessions at WWDC ’22 covering what’s new in these Shortcuts APIs — here are the links:

  1. Dive into App Intents
  2. Implement App Shortcuts with App Intents
  3. Design App Shortcuts
  4. Meet Focus Filters
News Siri Shortcuts

Announcing the expanded Shortcuts Library with 600 shortcuts and 150 bundle shortcuts

I am incredibly excited to announce the relaunch of my Shortcuts Library in its expanded form, including over 600 custom shortcuts!

What’s new

The Shortcuts Library is updated from last year’s release, in which I consolidated my original larger library into 50+ shortcuts that each covered large areas of what’s possible with Shortcuts.

With the new release, I’m distributing 600 single shortcuts in the main library across 100 folder groups, plus I’ve developed a method to compile each folder into 150 bundle shortcuts made out of all the single shortcuts in that folder.

Apps News

Apple adds Shortcuts for Mac support to Pages, Numbers, Keynote

Today, Apple released updates to their iWork suite of apps that adds actions in Shortcuts for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on macOS, bringing powerful first-party actions that Mac users can take advantage to automate their work:

New First-Party Actions

Across all three iWork apps, there are now actions for “Open” and “Create” – plus Numbers has added “Add Row to Top or Bottom of Table” and Keynote has added “Open in Rehearsal Mode” and “Open in Show Mode.”

The Create actions all also include the templates/themes available in the iWork apps, which makes it quick to generate 40+ samples from Pages, Numbers, and Keynote each for a total of over 120+ templates.

Here’s the full list of actions:


Apple posts Shortcuts changelog for iOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3

On Wednesday, Apple published an update in the Apple Support knowledge base detailing new features and issues fixed in Shortcuts in the latest iOS and macOS releases.

Changes to know about

In the post, Apple lists all of the new features added to the Shortcuts app, from Automation changes, new actions, and lots of smaller details:

The second half also lists the fixes that were made for existing issues – general improvements to the editor, tweaks for broken actions or performance problems, and fixes for scripting both in the app & using Shortcuts’ command-line utility:

Apple is listening

The post itself has significance as well, as it marks Apple providing direct communication for the Shortcuts app about new features and problems.

Links News Newsletter Offsite Siri Shortcuts

Announcing my new “What’s New in Shortcuts” newsletter

As part of my new Shortcuts Catalog1, I’ve created a brand-new newsletter called What’s New in Shortcuts?.

This free newsletter is designed for anyone interested in learning more about Siri Shortcuts, covering:
* feature updates as they’re discovered,
* interesting ways to use Shortcuts related to topical stories, and
* creative new shortcuts or apps with Shortcuts actions.

In addition, What’s New in Shortcuts acts as a way to subscribe to learn about future updates to my Shortcuts Library, Action Directory, and upcoming additions to the Shortcuts Catalog.

What’s in the newsletter?

Links News

Apple execs talk updates on The Talk Show, WVFRM with MKBHD

Every year for the past few years, John Gruber of Daring Fireball has interviewed an Apple executive or two on his podcast The Talk Show, just after WWDC and often in a venue right nearby the conference.

This year, as with everything else WWDC, it was done online, with special guests Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Apple, and Greg Jozwiak, Apple’s Vice President of Product Marketing.

Federighi and “Joz” filmed from Apple Park (in seemingly separate rooms, as one does nowadays) over the web with Gruber for over an hour and a half, which you can watch on YouTube: