What’s New in Shortcuts – Issue #074

Welcome to Issue 74 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” — this week I shared my Pro Apps Shortcuts Wishlist, how to best use Shortcuts on iPhone, and worked off the CardPointers’ developer’s tweets to explain how App Shortcuts in iOS 16 will look.

Eve also updated their Motion sensor to add luminosity-based Home Automations, a new Playpen app for parents launched in beta, and your NATO alphabet needs just got resolved.

Plus, I’m livestreaming with Rosemary Orchard this Friday — you should join us Friday for the stream.

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📰 My posts from the week

Five apps Apple could automate to win over pro users – Matthew Cassinelli Five apps Apple could automate to win over pro users – Matthew Cassinellimatthewcassinelli.com

Apple’s pro apps don’t have enough Shortcuts support — here are suggestions for actions to add for each of them.

12 ways to get the most out of Shortcuts for iPhone – Matthew Cassinelli 12 ways to get the most out of Shortcuts for iPhone – Matthew Cassinellimatthewcassinelli.com

Shortcuts for iPhone is always with you, fits in your pocket, & utilizes the iPhone’s special features — here’s how to best use it.

Shortcuts Live with special guest Rosemary Orchard – Matthew Cassinelli Shortcuts Live with special guest Rosemary Orchard – Matthew Cassinellimatthewcassinelli.com

Join me and special guest Rosemary Orchard on Friday, August 12th at 11am PST to talk everything Shortcuts, especially her recently-updated book Take Control of Shortcuts.

🐦 Tweets of the Week

I love this shortcut from Gabi Davilla on Twitter — she made a NATO alphabet converter that works with your clipboard or entered text. What a golf romeo echo alfa tango idea:

Josh Holtz, one of the developers I interviewed about the Shortcuts news at WWDC, has released a beta of his app “Playpen” that allows parents to pick an activity and lock their device with that activity so they can handle it to their kids.

Playpen can then be controlled from Apple Watch and Shortcuts — what a great idea. I hope Josh’s app gets super popular when it fully launches, because it seems like something every parent would use:

I missed this tweet from Mikah Sargent, my former podcast cohost, sharing about an update to the Eve Motion that adds Thread support, but also a light sensor that can work with Home Automations.

Literally just this morning I was thinking about I wanted to automate my shades to open in the morning only if it’s bright out and not cloudy (because I live near street-level and it’d illuminate me inside) — this exact thing is now possible with this new Eve product:

I also came across this tweet this week too because someone in the replies suggested Shortcuts — and Starbucks does indeed have actions for reordering from their mobile app:

And finally Jerrod Banks, one of my fellow mods on r/shortcuts, tweeted about how the workaround to add extra Focus Modes that’s been present for a while is now gone in the latest iOS beta — unfortunately replicating my over-the-top setup is now no longer possible, so I’ll have to shift my technique around a bit…

🆕 New Shortcuts fans of the week

I always love curating a few tweets from people who are discovering Shortcuts features for the first time — here’s a handful from this week:

🤖 Shortcuts Developer Corner

This week, I wanted to highlight tweets from Emmanuel Crouvisier, the developer of CardPointers, who has been adding Shortcuts support to his app to lets you automate picking the best credit card to maximize your reward points for each purchase.

He’s been tweeting about his experience adding App Shortcuts for iOS 16, starting with how to clean up the implementation of the ShortcutsLink() button that will start appearing in your apps this fall:

That button will deep link straight into the Shortcuts app to the page dedicated for the app you just came from — this is basically the Open Folder action functionality that was added for Shortcuts users in iOS 16, pre-programmed for the specific app:

That folder lives in the new App Shortcuts category, which appears beneath your own “My Shortcuts” view that’s now separated out as well:

Emmanuel also tweeted about his implementation of the Set Focus Filter action, which admittedly tripped me up when I first heard about it as well and had to test it to figure it out — the action lets you control the same options in the Settings app.

I’m still working on my own set of shortcuts that implement these in a realistic workflow — so far it seems to best used with Automations — but implementations like this definitely help me wrap my head around good use cases:

I also saw a great example of community sharing when Emmanuel asked other indie developers for ideas about how to set the automatic background color for App Shortcut to match their app’s primary color… (continued in next section)

Dolee Yang replied in the thread with the answer, along with a full write-up of how to set up this implementation for all other app developers too — sharing begets sharing!

How to Set a Background Color for Your App Shortcuts | Mango Umbrella How to Set a Background Color for Your App Shortcuts | Mango Umbrellamangoumbrella.com

And one last thing — pick a color for your shortcuts in the Shortcuts app. We have a bunch of great colors for you to choose from, and all your shortcuts will use this color in the app. So pick one that complements your app icon nicely and don’t just stick with the default.

Finally, Emmanuel tagged me just this morning with his implementation going even further — his app is generating a huge set of App Shortcuts for the options available (click-through to see the video):

I am super excited to see this all in action, especially because developers have so much more control and I don’t have to set them all up manually in advance.

Thinking about that sparked my thinking, and since I’m not actually an app developer I asked him for more detail about the customization:

Emmanuel’s answer below is promising, and I’m super intrigued to see how app developers can manage this for users outside of Shortcuts.

That way, their App Shortcuts experience is native to actually using their app and not functionally separated in a different app from Apple — plus users like me can use the ShortcutLink() button to jump right into Shortcuts and take things further:

I’ll end this section with a bit of feedback for Apple/the Shortcuts team, which is that I hope they provide more native tools/UI for developers to quickly implement an in-app “Customize your App Shortcuts” view.

Giving developers and their users a standardized way to control their App Shortcuts experience could keep the experience clean for everyone, easier to set up for developers, and embed a quality Shortcuts experience across the OS for everyone — don’t leave it up to every app to come up with their own customization design:

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That’s all for this week!

Once again here’s the direct link to the livestream this Friday — we’d love for you to join us if you can, or you can leave comments on the live replay and I can respond after:

Shortcuts Live with special guest Rosemary Orchard Shortcuts Live with special guest Rosemary Orchardwww.youtube.com