What’s New in Shortcuts – Issue #075

Welcome to Issue 75 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” — we’re probably a month or so away from iOS 16 and the App Shortcuts scene is starting to heat up!

In this issue, I linked to a few new apps with Shortcuts support you should check out, I got fantastic ideas around automation from my stream with Rosemary Orchard and the Twitter community, and I published two stories about using Shortcuts from the Share Sheet and on the iPad you can read on iMore.

Plus, Shane Whatley shared a great NFC automation trick for AirTags, and John Voorhees shared a tip Mac users will want to know for their scripting shortcuts — here’s what’s new this week:

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📰 Stories of the week

On Monday, John Voorhees of MacStories covered the new photo editing shortcuts added by Acorn for Mac — asset automation is perhaps one of the best-supported fields right now, especially with great apps like Acorn upping the game:

Photo Editor Acorn Adds Deep Shortcuts Integration - MacStories Photo Editor Acorn Adds Deep Shortcuts Integration – MacStorieswww.macstories.net

Photo editors are the perfect fit with automation tools because, so often, there’s a set of edits, filters, transformations, or file exports that you want to apply to multiple images. Many apps come with some sort of built-in batch processing tool, which is great, but supporting automation opens the door to integrating users’ photo editing

On Wednesday, my latest quick guide to Shortcuts’ features went up covering the Share Sheet and how to take advantage of automation starting from another app’s content — in my opinion, this is the purest form of “utility” you can get from Shortcuts:

Why everyone should be using Share Sheet shortcuts – Matthew Cassinelli Why everyone should be using Share Sheet shortcuts – Matthew Cassinellimatthewcassinelli.com

Running Shortcuts from the Share Sheet is one of the most powerful ways users can automate their workflows — here’s how to use it best.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of streaming with the one-and-only Rosemary Orchard where she inspired me with ideas about actually automating more of my shortcuts instead of triggering them manually, plus inserting randomness into my life to reduce decisions.

I’m keeping this and all my guest streams freely available on my channel — they’re unlisted for algorithmic purposes, but you can always find them in the Livestreaming playlist that’s embedded on my channel page:

On Saturday, my weekend column for iMore went out covering Shortcuts for iPad — I also teased in my tweets about it that these columns are setting up some big Catalog changes coming soon…

The best ways to get started with Shortcuts on iPad – Matthew Cassinelli The best ways to get started with Shortcuts on iPad – Matthew Cassinellimatthewcassinelli.com

With such a large hand-held touchscreen, iPad is perfect for Shortcuts. Here are four ways to take advantage of the platform in your automations.

On Sunday, I saw this great video from Shane Whatley explaining how to use the NFC tags embedded in AirTags as triggers for your Shortcuts Automations — I’m adding a few of these myself:

🐦 Tweets of the week

I loved this tweet from indie developer Chris Wu who shared his satisfaction with this year’s Shortcuts API changes — I hope this sentiment is shared widely by developers who took a look before, bailed out, and are testing the waters again:

John Voorhees shared this great tip for interacting with Shortcuts menus on the Mac — you can type the letters for a shortcut title and the selection will jump to the corresponding result:

I’m saving this one for my own future purposes, but I saw this thread from some active Shortcuts community members who were discussing deep links to individual notes in the Notes app — apparently things are changing in iOS 16:

I saw this idea from a student on Twitter and had a little lightbulb go off in my head, because I hadn’t thought to use Time Automations and a countdown-type shortcut in this way to create your own notifications — and in general using that type of system to notify oneself about pretty much anything.

This is the sort of thing that’s much more feasible / pleasant to use since iOS 15.3 allowed the ability to hide Personal Automation “Your shortcut is running” notifications, which would double-up with the Show Notification action.

Now if only Shortcuts notifications could be displayed inside Focus modes…

I want to dig into this idea soon, but this Twitter user saw my thread with the photographer Drue about splitting images into sections for Instagram and replied with a shortcut he’d found online.

At some point I’d like to make a shortcut that calculates this type of thing while accounting for a 10px space in between image for things like 2×2 Twitter image grids that don’t line up perfectly:

I also came across this great shortcut for Unrolling a Twitter thread using the Thread Reader service — it might actually be missing “Shortcut Input” in the URL Encode action field, however, and the Text field in the Open URL action (the user seems to have been bitten by a Shortcuts bug that broke his variables):

📲 Apps to integrate with Shortcuts

I came across this handy graphic for anyone who’s been looking to integrate IFTTT services and triggers using Shortcuts — this double-sided process is definitely a little odd for the first time, so I recommend going through it with a sample idea if you haven’t yet, if only to reference your own setup later:

I’m always a fan of new fields to use Shortcuts for, and Stocks Analyzer seems like an interesting entry for investing — I’m following Antoine’s tweets about his development and Shortcuts support:

I saw this great thread from Charlie Chapman explaining how he’s added a Long Fade feature (and Shortcuts action) to his Dark Sky app after listening to CGP Grey explain his white noise fading method — definitely check out Dark Sky if you’re looking for a variety of background sounds to put on:

Vidit Bhargava, developer of LookUp, shared a teaser for his iOS 16 release that includes the new App Shortcuts features — I’m excited for exactly this type of app that benefits from a bit more serendipitous triggering from Siri without needing to set up specific shortcuts first:

🗳 Feedback

The following tweets all include some great Feedback for Apple that I’d also like to see change in the Shortcuts app — small changes, but all different bits of quality of life that people clearly want too:

I’ll definitely be elaborating more on this idea in a longer blog as @MB requested in the thread, but I quoted this tweet with the following thoughts about a far-future idea for Shortcuts as literal “shortcut buttons” through the OS.

To some degree a “link” and a “shortcut” are the same thing conceptually, so why not reinvent the whole thing as a native integration? 🤓

🧵 Thread of the Week

Finally, I wanted to highlight a great Getting Started with Shortcuts thread from Kyle Petzinger — I tend to give way too many complicated examples when asked about Shortcuts, so this set of shortcuts that Kyle has been using are great beginner examples for integrating the app into your life:

That’s it for this week! Before we go, here’s another good bit of inspiration I found to keep in mind: