Apps Tips & Tricks

Tip: Mark Physical Copies As Finished For Your Apple Books Year In Review

From Zach Kahn, Services PR for Podcasts and Books (and Vision Pro) at Apple:

Pro tip: if you’ve read a book elsewhere, like a print copy, just tap the … button and mark the title as read in Apple Books. It will become eligible for your Year in Review

Look up the books, mark them as “Finished”, and see your stats change – very nice.

From the press release for Year in Review, the new feature in the Apple Books app:

Year in Review is available on iPhone and iPad within the Read Now tab under Top Picks to users with at least three titles marked as finished.

View the post on Mastodon and the Year in Review press release from Apple.

Links Tips & Tricks

Name This Pet Is the Best Feature of iOS 17 »

Jeremy Burge for Mobile Tech Journal:

There’s plenty of new features in iOS 17 in September, but one has barely received a mention in Apple’s promotional material. In fact, it’s not even listed.

The feature? Pets are finally join People in the Photos app. And given how much people love their pets, this is gonna be crazy popular.

The feature itself is understated. Open a photo with your pet, enter its name, and instantly every photo of Bunny, Pot Roast or Hamlet is catalogued into their own fluffy album.

Oliver agrees.

View the original.

Tips & Tricks

MacOS Sonoma Tip: Use Emoji For Custom Bookmark Favicons »

From Niléana on Mastodon:

Just noticed something neat in macOS Sonoma: as you know, #Safari now shows favicons in your bookmarks bar. But if you rename a bookmark and add an emoji, that emoji acts as a custom favicon ✨

Neat – I just updated my whole group of Favorites folders in Bookmarks.

Something to note though – the emoji works best at the end. Either way you place it, Safari appears to inherit the space as well – if you prepend it, the space goes before the emoji and just creates more space for the whole bookmark[1]; if you append it, however, the space shows before your bookmark title and it doesn’t look great.

View the original GIF on Mastodon.

1. The extra space before the emoji isn’t ideal either and Apple should automatically remove this.

Tips & Tricks

Tip: Design your own Keynote template (and create it with Shortcuts) »

Simon Støvring on Mastodon:

Finally took the time to make my own Keynote theme and it’s surprising how much joy that brings me 😄

Me, in the replies:

I’m a dork for this but once you set it up, you can create a new template using the Keynote action in Shortcuts 🙂

And again:

All you need to do is use Edit > Save Theme, then use the Create Presentation action and scroll to the bottom of the Templates list to the My Themes area!

As usual, this has prompted me to make this into a shortcut, as well as properly publish my set of Keynote shortcuts that I covered last year for iMore.

See Simon’s post and get my folder of Keynote shortcuts in the Shortcuts Library.

Tips & Tricks

Mac Tip: Try Highlighting Text With A Single, Double, Or Triple Click »

From @threehourcoffee (emphasis mine):

This mouse highlighting shortcut is a game-changer for me!!!

A friend (who’s not on twitter) just told me about it.

Had to share.

Made a video to demonstrate.

Double click, then drag, to highlight words not letters.

This is one of those Mac tips that people probably haven’t heard of, or have so deeply engrained into their muscle memory that they didn’t realize it was a tip to give (I’m the latter).

Either way – make sure to try triple clicking to select entire paragraphs too.

Update: Antonio Bueno mentioned this additional tip to me on Discord:

Something related I discovered God-knows-when: You can make little adjustments to one side of the selection with shift+left arrow and shift+right arrow.

The nice detail is that the side depends on the direction of the selection: Select from right to left and the keys will modify the left side. Select from left to right, and it’s the right side that can be modified.

Apps Tips & Tricks

Tip: Long-Press to Skip The Custom Share Sheet on Threads (and Twitter Too) »

From @mosseri on Threads:

Hidden 💎 if you long press the share button on a thread it’ll pull up the OS share sheet instead of the Threads one in case you want to get there quicker.

If you’re trying to use the Share Sheet to capture Threads posts, you’ll find yourself clicking the Share icon, then “Share via…” every time – instead, you can long-press on the icon and the native Share Sheet will pop up again with your shortcuts ready to go.

Fun fact: I helped get this same functionality implemented in the Twitter app back in 2020 after mentioning how important it is for Shortcuts users – shoutout to fellow Shortcuts creator Robert Peterson for emphasizing my point in the, ahem, “thread.”

View the post on Threads.

Tips & Tricks

How to add photos to a venue on Apple Maps

While at the coffee shop this weekend, I found myself taking a few pictures with the goal of slowing down, noticing the environment around me, and practicing my framing – plus I wanted to post it to Threads 😇.

However, once I’d gotten the photos I wanted, I figured – if these are decent enough, why not post them on Apple Maps?

How To Shortcuts Siri Shortcuts Tips & Tricks

How to copy meeting availability across multiple calendars using Shortcuts

Yesterday over on Six Colors, Jason Snell wrote about his difficulty helping a friend use the Calendar actions in Shortcuts to pull data from two separate calendars:

Lex wanted to use this shortcut to quickly generate a list of times where he’s available for meetings. This is a great use of automation—I wish I’d thought of it. Unfortunately, the shortcut only checks a single calendar, and Lex wanted his availability judged based on entries in two different calendars.

This thread caught my eye: both because I haven’t personally run into that issue, but also because I had actually thought of the automation.

Here’s my Copy my availability shortcut that I built all the way back when Shortcuts was Workflow, which has managed to live on in the Shortcuts Gallery today as the “Share Availability” shortcut.1

In the piece, Jason came up with a solution after Shortcuts couldn’t get all the data in one action:

Tips & Tricks

How to fix Recents in Finder on macOS Ventura by reindexing Spotlight using the Terminal

Screenshot of a macOS desktop with the default Ventura background showing an empty Recents tab in the Finder app.

Ever since I installed the macOS Ventura beta on my MacBook Air, I’ve been having a weird issue where the Recents folder in Finder didn’t populate and showed as entirely empty — here’s how I fixed it.

Gear Guest appearances Offsite Tips & Tricks

Using Apple Pencil to edit audio with Ferrite

Last Monday night, I streamed on Twitch for about a half hour on the topic of Ferrite for iPad with my friend Alec Pulianas, a computer engineer and podcast editor at AMP Creative Studios.

Watch How to edit podcasts with Apple Pencil in Ferrite (ft. Alec Pulianas) from matthewcassinelli on

We both edit podcasts and audio using Ferrite, a purpose-built audio editing app designed primarily for spoken word content (as opposed to Logic Pro or Garage Band which were built for music). It works on both iPhone and iPad, enabling a very natural touch input paradigm for editing your audio that both Alec and I prefer to use.

In our stream, we talked about the additional benefits when you edit on the iPad, including how using the Apple Pencil in this app feels like a remote control and which custom settings we use to edit.

We also covered details like Ferrite templates, the keyboard shortcuts, and a few of the downsides as well – it doesn’t have the same speed-changing capabilities as Logic, for example.

I really enjoyed talking with Alec—he’s a great guy—about this tool we both enjoy, especially because it’s changed how I edit audio and opened up where I can do my work.

Check out the clip on Twitch and follow my channel if you want to see future streams like this.1

  1. I’ve saved the entire stream as a “highlight” so it lasts past Twitch’s normal 30-days, but doing so unfortunately removes the live view count and chat comments. 
Podcasts Siri Shortcuts Tips & Tricks Video

“Show me this clip” for video podcasts with this Overcast to YouTube shortcut

If you didn’t already know, my podcast Smart Tech Today comes with a video feed now – you can download a full video feed in Podcasts, or subscribe to the YouTube channel to get the episodes every week, or watch live on Twitch every Monday at 4pm PST.

While the show is designed as an audio podcast, our network This Week in Tech produces the video so anyone can watch too – I have lots of fun being on camera with Mikah.

Being a podcast that’s also “video capable,” I’ve always thought it’s a shame that it’s not easier to listen when you want to, or watch when you want to, with a way to switch between both on the fly.

If you’re on Overcast user, you’re in luck – I’ve solved the problem in one direction, taking Overcast’s “Share URL with timestamp” Siri Shortcut and combining it with YouTube’s timestamps feature to let you jump into the video feed at a moment’s notice.1

Tips & Tricks

Automating how loud Siri replies on the HomePod

I’m a huge fan of the HomePod – after bearing the investment cost, it’s improved my daily interactions with music and opened access to controlling my smart home gear, plus provides a new medium for everything I’ve built in the Shortcuts app.

But one of the nagging problems with HomePod is the way Siri, regardless of the current time of day, will respond loudly at whatever volume you’ve previously set.

Whether it’s the middle of the night or super early in the morning, it’s all too common to ask Siri something and the answer shouted backed at you, only because you listened to music loudly sometime yesterday. Hopefully nobody wakes up, you curse at how dumb your supposedly “smart” speaker can be, and frantically try to turn it down.

Thankfully, iOS 13.2 provides a route to a solution by adding HomePods and AppleTV to scenes and automations – the HomePod didn’t fix this on its own, but, with a Home Automation, you can make it “smart” enough yourself.1

Apps Links Tips & Tricks

Audible update lets you use credits to buy books in iOS app

In the latest app update on iOS, Audible now lets users actually buy audiobooks inside the app using existing credits.

According to a tweet from Chris Fralic of First Round (originally sourced by Joshua Topolosky of The Outline), the “Add to Library” button in Audible will show the message “You can now use credits without leaving the app!”:

Links Offsite Siri Shortcuts Tips & Tricks

iPad keyboard shortcuts for the Shortcuts app

From my piece iPad keyboard shortcuts for the Shortcuts app on iMore:

While the Shortcuts app is primarily a touch-based system—where are you drag and drop actions around to create your scripts—there are a few keyboard shortcuts for iPad users that can speed up the experience of creating and managing their Siri Shortcuts.

Whether you’re opening the Gallery to view suggested shortcuts, searching for a shortcut in your list, or quickly controlling parts of the shortcuts editor, these simple keyboard shortcuts are worth learning.

Apps Links Tips & Tricks

“Make your Mac dance” with MacSparky’s Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

Yesterday, David Sparks released the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide, the seventh paid course offered through his Learn MacSparky site1. This 4-hour block of videos covers 76 different screencasts about Keyboard Maestro, the Mac automation application that provides significantly deep capabilities and makes them available to use across your Apple desktop or laptop.

As usual, David’s course is well-paced, insightful, and makes it easy to learn complex topics like Keyboard Maestro’s slightly esoteric design language.