What’s New in Shortcuts – Issue #049

Welcome to Issue 49 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” – it’s almost time for iOS 15!

I’ll be busy all weekend preparing for the next launch of my Shortcuts Catalog, prepping my YouTube video covering everything new, and getting excited about the iPhone and iPad Mini preorders I’ve placed.

Beyond that, it’s been an interesting week in Shortcuts land – the final Release Candidate of iOS 15 leaves us with a fairly buggy Shortcuts app, we learned exactly who deleted all the iCloud links for your shortcuts last spring, and there’s still a steady stream of great ideas from the community.

Plus, I shared a handful of shortcuts ahead of my big release – enjoy:

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🥴 The upcoming (rocky) iOS 15 launch

While I’m super excited for iOS 15 to launch, I feel a responsibility to the Shortcuts community to warn them that, unfortunately, Shortcuts is still going to be buggy at launch:

I’m not alone in these problems, with Federico continuing to raise the alarm that things are not okay:

This is the most egregious example and is what will prevent most people from really being able to take advantage of Shortcuts when iOS 15 launches – many fields are quite difficult to tap into and folks will likely give up after running into this a few times:

Stu Maschwitz puts it best, because he’s the perfect example of someone who tries to build very advanced shortcuts, but just doesn’t have the time to slog through fixing them – like I’ve done, because in many ways I don’t have any choice:

I’m still committed to helping folks get the most out of Shortcuts, even in the face of bugs, so I do encourage people who do update soon that they can still use their shortcuts – building new ones just takes more patience:

I’ve tried to make the most out of all the iOS 15 actions and features for you in my own shortcuts in the Shortcuts Library and for my members, so look for my updated collection next week!

And in many ways, this is part of my whole thesis of my Shortcuts Catalog – I do this all so you don’t have to.

But I still want to see Apple do better. If Shortcuts is going to release in a buggy state, they need to let folks know – they also need to fix it and put out an update as soon as possible.

And Apple must get this all together before Shortcuts for Mac launches – I fear they’ll undercut all their hard work in bringing it to a new platform if it just doesn’t work when it’s released.

Time will tell, and we will just have to see – at this point they’ve not proven themselves in the past, so it’s all a bit of a guess from here…

Until all that happens—and iOS 15 drops next week, here’s what’s new this last week of iOS 14:

🗞 Story of the week

Hacking CloudKit - How I accidentally deleted your Apple Shortcuts - Detectify Labs Hacking CloudKit – How I accidentally deleted your Apple Shortcuts – Detectify Labslabs.detectify.com

Frans Rosen, Co-founder and Detectify Crowdsource hacker, details how he discovered 3 critical security bugs while hacking Apple Cloudkit.

📲 New shortcuts this week

This week, I have one fun shortcut, and ahead of my larger iOS 15 launch, I wanted to share two shortcuts using the new actions, plus I’ve put together a shortcut using Discord’s URL scheme for members:

This first one both makes me smile and demonstrates how you can use the Seek action to find specific moments in songs & play them right away:

Top O’ The Morning – Matthew Cassinelli Top O’ The Morning – Matthew Cassinelliwww.matthewcassinelli.com

Plays the funny Kendrick Lamar verse where he repeats this phrase over and over.

The action “Make Spoken Audio” is a little weird to wrap your head around at first, but it’s just using specific language to clarify that you’re generating an audio file of a voice speaking – it’s like Speak Text, but recorded. To me, the most logical connection is a podcast, hence this:

Make a Siri podcast – Matthew Cassinelli Make a Siri podcast – Matthew Cassinelliwww.matthewcassinelli.com

Generates an audio file using Siri’s voice from the text passed as input.

Shortcuts also supports Live Text in iOS 15 – this shortcut uses Extract Text from Image and surrounds it with what is, to me, the most logical way to use this action; choosing from the outputted list and copying just the elements you want to the clipboard:

Extract text from photo – Matthew Cassinelli Extract text from photo – Matthew Cassinelliwww.matthewcassinelli.com

Uses Live Text to scrape out lines from a photo, then asks you to choose which ones you want and copies them.

For members, I also wanted to tease an upcoming piece on how I’m using the Discord URL scheme across iOS and Mac – this shortcut opens right into the #general channel of the Shortcuts User Group:

Open Discord Channel 🔐 – Matthew Cassinelli Open Discord Channel 🔐 – Matthew Cassinelliwww.matthewcassinelli.com

Opens a deep link into a specific channel of a Discord server.

Once iOS 15 drops, I’ll be rereleasing my whole Shortcuts Catalog – look for hundreds of new shortcuts next week!

🆕 New apps with Shortcuts support

Here’s another dosage of apps that’re publicly sharing their upcoming Shortcuts support – and I’ve got a special roundup of more coming next week!

The folks who make Sorted for iOS have teased their Shortcuts support and their actions are chock full of parameters, while I love to see them – they just need to work on charging their phone more often 😝:

I came across this quick reply from Steven Collier about Microsoft Teams’ actions for Shortcuts – I don’t use the service, so I didn’t know they had them, but these could be useful for video calls:

The developers of Diagrams for Mac have teased their upcoming Shortcuts support – I used this earlier this summer to map out some of my more-complex workflows and I found it super handy, so they’ve captured my interest for sure:

The folks at Outread also already have their Shortcuts support in their latest public release, along with this nice-looking set of widgets – I’ll have to try them out:

Finally, the wonderful Joe Hribar has started adding Reports into Timery, letting people who track their time via Toggl get visualizations of how much time they’re spending – and they’re all integrated into the actions when run from Siri too:

Another time-tracking app called Orbit is getting Shortcuts support too – I love seeing a variety of developers approach a similar task in different ways:

If you happen to be a developer who’s working on great new app updates, let me know at the email below:

Plus, if anyone out there spots great new apps launching next week, send them my way on Twitter too – I’ll be doing my annual retweets of new app launches!

💡 Inspiration from the community

This week I found a handful of good ideas that I wanted to share for everyone to browse through – there’s a good thread, a video, and an API to check out later:

@ervinTE has put together a nice thread about how he’s approach “timeblocking” on the calendar using Shortcuts – methinks someone like David Sparks (who talks about timeblocking all the time) would love this:

Mike Burke has put together a handy YouTube video on how to use Drafts and Shortcuts to prepare for meetings – these kind of template systems are wonderful and save you from the most tedious kinds of word you do every week/day:

u/maxman571 on Reddit also shared a cool shortcut I’ll be digging into in the future – this taps into the Xbox Live API and sends a message:

When I play GTA Online on my Xbox and I’m close to Bad Sport, I’m like: When I play GTA Online on my Xbox and I’m close to Bad Sport, I’m like:reddit.com

🔜 More coming soon…

That’s all for this week!

Starting next week, I’ll begin a new series of Shortcuts Spotlights covering various features released in iOS 15, plus I’ll be adding in new sections for upcoming additions I’m making to the Shortcuts Catalog!

I can’t wait to show everyone what’s new – I’m excited for this season of Apple updates 🤓

Have a good weekend ✌️