Welcome to Issue 84 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” — I’m back after some time off for my 33rd birthday!
In the last two weeks, we saw the launch of this year’s iPadOS and macOS Ventura releases, Live Activities coming to iPhone 14 Pro in iOS 16.1, the M2 iPad Pro and 10th generation iPads shipping, and the next iOS beta dropping — lots has gone down.
I also have some exciting news: I have an Apple Watch Ultra review unit from Apple!
I’ll be working on my initial impressions after unboxing it, plus focusing on Apple Watch shortcuts/apps/tips (amongst others) in the coming weeks — fun times!
Until then, here’s what’s new in Shortcuts:
* * *
? New in iOS 16.2 betas
With the first release of iOS 16.2 for developers and public beta testers, Apple has updated the Wallpaper action to work with the Lock Screen setups available for iPhone:
r/shortcuts mod @iBanks_x3 noticed the Set Wallpaper action has been updated to support the new Lock Screen setups & their connected Focus modes ?
— Matthew Cassinelli (@mattcassinelli) October 25, 2022
In addition, Get Wallpaper and Switch Between Wallpapers are available — I haven’t had a chance to test these out since I’m avoiding the betas right now, but I’m curious if Switch Between Wallpapers actually changes the entire Lock Screen too…
— Matthew Cassinelli (@mattcassinelli) October 25, 2022
Plus, as reported by Gadget Hacks, the Books actions are finally restored in the beta (and are actually new actions, so you’ll need to replace any existing options) — now I can resume work on my collection from this summer!
When iOS 16.0 was still in early beta testing, Apple teased us with a slew of new Books actions in the Shortcuts app, but none of them materialized in iOS 16.0 or 16.1. That changes with Apple’s latest software update for iPhone. The only Apple Books action in Shortcuts you’ll see on iOS 16.1 and earlier, except for any personal Siri Suggestions that are based on how you use your device, is…
The Freeform app for iPad also showed up in this beta, which of course means folks like Federico were playing around with it — and he figured out a clever way to run shortcuts from the URL scheme:
It’s a bit of a hack right now, but of course I figured out how to run a shortcut from Freeform ?
(Drop a link from Safari, then edit it to use the Shortcuts URL scheme.) pic.twitter.com/lL4CSRmUAM
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) October 25, 2022
? Stories of the Week
Also from the MacStories team, John Voorhees wrote about the Shortcuts update in his macOS Ventura review — and, like my experience, there wasn’t much to talk about, since the Mac app oddly got very few updates this year:
Other rough areas include Shortcuts and, of course, System Settings, but the day-day-experience of using Ventura has been excellent.
I just wish the release had moved the needle more when it comes to where the Mac has been heading the past few years. pic.twitter.com/EkN4Wp0cWU
— John Voorhees (@johnvoorhees) October 24, 2022
Over on Medium, Jane Le Roux wrote up a blog post on his favorite shortcuts — he has a range of ideas from Battery automations to Twilio API calls:
You didn’t know your iPhone could do this. Promise.. “My 7 Most Powerful Apple Shortcuts” is published by Jano le Roux in The Startup.
The folks at RoutineHub have rounded up a series of shortcuts that work great for folks commuting to/from work — I love the first idea’s name: Cari ?
Improve your speed when moving from one place to another, with these great Apple shortcuts that will help you in your daily routes.
Similarly, the RoutineHub team shared a set of Apple Music shortcuts — I like the options available in the Radio shortcut in particular:
Apple Music offers 60 million songs and counting. Here are some Siri shortcuts you can use to make the experience more enjoyable. Siri shortcuts remain one of the best features of iOS and iPadOS. Initially launched in 2018 with iOS 12, Siri shortcuts allow you to perform everyday tasks (or
Finally, the folks at Axios rounded up a few stories about using tech to fight back against police abuse, which includes the “I’m getting pulled over” shortcut that makes the rounds every few months:
Tech can expose police abuse, but activists say its uses are limited.
? Apps of the Week
To kick things off, developer Michael Tigas (of Focused Work and Ochi) has put together a Live Activities-specific app designed to work with Shortcuts — he’s already updating it with new features since launching it alongside iOS 16.2:
Added some fun to @ShelfTheApp‘s action shelf!
– Add up to 8 actions
– Individually customisable regardless of theme
– Pick your favourite emoji ❤️
Coming in Shelf 1.4 ? pic.twitter.com/yLtGvD4akK
— Michael Tigas (@michael_tigas) October 31, 2022
I saw this app Almighty tweet about their Ventura support this week and will be digging in more this week — they’re providing Shortcuts actions for 50+ Mac tweaks (that are often triggered using Terminal commands):
Almighty now supports new modern shortcuts on Mac Ventura ? pic.twitter.com/yzd9Nwqr4N
— Almighty (@GetAlmighty) October 30, 2022
The great pomodoro timer app Focus added App Shortcuts support this week, generating a folder full of basic shortcuts for your focus sessions in the Shortcuts app automatically — this is basically the set that I’d release for Focus myself, so it’s great that they’re installed by default now:
This release also includes the new App Shortcuts to control Focus directly with Siri, Spotlight, and the Shortcuts app – no setup required. pic.twitter.com/f9MZeAMQPv
— Focus App (@focusappio) October 20, 2022
Emmanuel Crouvisier, developer of CardPointers, shared his huge update for iOS 16.1, which rounds out his Shortcuts support for iPad and Mac as well:
Just released: huge upgrade to the web extension to auto-add all of your Amex and Chase offers, support for live activities & dynamic island, and bringing App Shortcuts, Focus Filters, & more to iPad and Mac, to help you always use the right card for every purchase. https://t.co/aDnirUjtZ3
— Emmanuel Crouvisier (@emcro) October 25, 2022
The great “anything tracker” app Keep It has updated fully for this year’s releases, adding a huge set of features — including improved Shortcuts support:
Keep It 2.1 for Mac, iPad and iPhone is now available – updated for macOS Ventura, iOS and iPadOS 16, with improvements to Compact Mode, note styles, Reader mode, Quick Look and Quick Open, Shortcuts, AppleScript, and more…https://t.co/ywKCF9oAGW
— Reinvented Software (@reinventedapps) October 25, 2022
Speak News is an interesting app I’ve just discovered after tweeting about their Shortcuts support — looks like an interesting way to have your news stories read out loud to you:
Speak News 2.21.0 app update for #iPhone / #iPad: Improved Today Widget, animated and customizable display, text-to-speech and readability for RSS/ATOM news feeds, web pages, and Wikipedia pages. https://t.co/l2aGHwfP8Z — #news #RSSReader #NewsFeeds #TextToSpeech #SiriShortcuts pic.twitter.com/cTu8O9IwM8
— Speak News RSS readr (@SpeakNewsApp) October 22, 2022
Signals for HomeKit has also received a significant update including widgets, improved Shortcuts support, and Thread/Matter support ahead of the upcoming protocol release:
On Monday, Signals is getting an update on iPhone and iPad, with some great features!
– Lock Screen Widgets
– Group your Signals to help organize them
– More flexible and much faster Siri Shortcuts
– Improved performance for some Bluetooth and Thread devices pic.twitter.com/tBcx7czsPW
— HomeMade Automation (@HomeMadeAuto) October 23, 2022
I’m super interested in this new Collections app that just got deep Shortcuts support — I saw this thread from Kevin van Haaren praising it after making the switch recently:
Finally decided to bite the bullet and replace Delicious Library for tracking Books, Music & Movies. Digging around I was pretty unhappy with App Privacy or sales model for most, then I found @CollectionsPDB.https://t.co/LsWNm3rm20
— Kevin van Haaren (@kvanh) October 30, 2022
? Tweets of the week
This impressive shortcut from Keir looks super helpful for anyone dealing with iOS screenshots — it can clean up all sorts of details before sharing:
I’ve made some iOS Shortcuts which will let you beautify your iPhone Screenshots
?️?Runs on iOS, iPadOS and macOS
?? 1 or more screenshots, stacking horizontally
?iPhone X to the iPhone 14 screenshots
? Dark Mode
?️ Frames / No Frameshttps://t.co/NDgFi8ZsXI pic.twitter.com/nrkizg955C
— Keir (@Keir) October 30, 2022
The folks at Product Hunt linked back to the set of wallpapers designed specifically to work with Battery automations and update depending on your power level — check the link in the thread:
Never run out of battery with these dynamic wallpapers that show your iOS battery status. pic.twitter.com/oX4FHxhAo1
— Product Hunt ? (@ProductHunt) October 22, 2022
Lucy Davinhart shared this tip that running your shortcuts from the Mac menu bar can be quite handy — as well as a cool demo of the subroutine shortcuts running one-after-another:
launching shortcuts from the macos menu bar is useful 🙂
especially as launching one of the PK shortcuts is one of the first things we do in a morning pic.twitter.com/WzGLomdYde
Similarly, Mike Beasley discovered the “Add to Dock” option in Shortcuts for Mac as well — this one is only available in the Menu options or right-clicking on a shortcut, which is admittedly not very discoverable:
wow you can add shortcuts to your mac dock? pic.twitter.com/IygbAxtpWE
— Mike Beasley (@MikeBeas) October 26, 2022
Julian Martinez shared about the new Set Parked Car actions from Shortcuts in iOS 16 — make sure to check out my full set too:
An iOS shortcut that is useful for anyone living in a mazy city like San Francisco, where you’ll often park & walk:
Park My Car (see photo)
So you when you park, just tell Siri “park my car”, and the spot will be marked on Apple Maps.
This one is built in so ready to use. pic.twitter.com/HXHJ4URbwe
— Julian (@julianeon) October 22, 2022
@ItsBillN shared this great idea that I’m linking so I can come back to it later — you can use the Set Sound Recognition action as a makeshift “Hey Siri” toggle:
I think, but not sure, that when sound recognition is turned on “hey siri” is deactivated. So you could essentially use the sound recognition toggle in a shortcut as a pseudo hey siri switch. pic.twitter.com/HCqF6YaEa3
— BillN (@ItsBillN) October 23, 2022
This tweeter Hannah has been sharing funny tweets about her discoveries with Shortcuts — this one shares an “emergency” photo for when her phone dies, and in the thread she also came up with her own “BeReal” clone using Shortcuts:
WAIT I MADE A SHORTCUT THATS AUTOMATICALLY TAKES A FRONT & BACK PHOTO OF ME & TWEETS IT WHEN MY IPHONE BATTERY GOES BELOW 10% NOW ALL MY FRIENDS CAN STOP WORRYING ABOUT ME pic.twitter.com/bPFmeyvXJJ
— hamnah (@xirimpi) October 18, 2022
For anyone filing feedback or bug reports to app developers, this AppleScript shortcut looks handy for sharing detailed app information with them:
#9 GET SYSTEM & APP VERSION
When testing and writing bug reports I constantly check for the current macOS and app versions. This shortcut makes this a one click action to get this info.
Thanks to @Lalabadie for helping with the AppleScript code!
— Alexander Käßner (@alexkaessner) October 18, 2022
@SteinDavidB on Twitter shared this preview of his CityBike shortcut that uses their API to check for available bikes — great idea:
“Hey Siri where’s the nearest citibike dock?”
— stein (@steindavidb) October 25, 2022
I’m also linking to this idea for later — John Holzer realized you can automate the Apple TV from the Mac using the HomeKit controls (in lieu of an Apple TV Remote app like there is on iOS):
@YayKyle built himself a Magic 8 Ball shortcut that he’s triggering with the Apple Watch Ultra’s action button — I’ll have to try this out myself when my watch arrives:
In more Action button ideas, Justin Searls is translating Japanese straight from his Watch and saving the English version in a note automatically:
I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the Action Button on my Apple Watch Ultra, as none of the built-in options seem useful… so I bound it to a custom Shortcut!
It converts Japanese speech to English text and appends the results to a Note. Check out these demo videos: pic.twitter.com/RM1iE5jQqS
— Justin Searls (@searls) October 23, 2022
This shortcut from Facundo looks super handy if you run into a website that won’t let you resize the view — it resets the viewport zoom properties, letting you then zoom in/out as needed:
I build on my iPad a lot. The worst part is not being able to adjust zoom on @bubble tab like you can on desktop.
— Facundo (@FacundoLucci) October 24, 2022
This shortcut from Alex Fife is great for pesky websites that won’t automatically resize images for you and instead fails on upload — you can use this shortcut to reduce it for you:
Uploading photos to Slack from my iPhone takes a very long time. It doesn’t on android and I figured out it’s because the image quality is too high 😉
I’m sharing my shortcut that remedies this https://t.co/JDXjohVejv
— Alex Fife (@alextfife) October 27, 2022
Ben Gilliam built his own Tweet to Todoist shortcut based off my Tweet Deets process (I need to revisit this soon) — looks handy if you’re a Todoist user:
Made this shortcut – Tweet to todoist – add a tweet as a nicely formatted task in todoist. Wanted something like this to save media tweets for later when I can use headphones – It’s built off a shortcut call Tweet Deets – couldn’t find orig author though https://t.co/rzNY5EFq8a
— Ben Gillam ? ☮️ ?? (@bengillam) October 22, 2022
Ethan Schoonover put together this shortcut that automatically generates a deep link for the Note Plan app — handy if you want to jump directly back into a note from somewhere else like a to-do list manager:
?️ Feedback for Apple
To start off on a bit of a negative bit, this user AJ found himself quite frustrated at the first-run experience of Shortcuts — I find myself constantly force quitting the app as well, even in Ventura and iOS 16.1…
Holy shit. I just used the Shortcuts app for the first time and it’s the first piece of Apple software I’ve tried that is so unusably buggy that the first time I opened it I had to google why it was ignoring my selections and the actual solution was “quit and reopen the app.”
— AJ? (@provinghuman) October 27, 2022
I’d love this option for Shortcuts too — the ability to check if the shortcut is running via Siri or not:
Shortcuts really needs a way to detect if a shortcut is running inside Siri or some other context. I want to skip certain actions for Siri.
— UpdateKit API for Shortcuts (@UpdateKit) October 22, 2022
Dave Mark, host of The Dalrymple Report podcast, is just one of the folks I’ve seen wishing they could use Siri on Apple TV to trigger their shortcuts:
Have not heard of shortcuts making their way to Apple TV. Would love the ability to tell Apple TV Siri to launch one. ?
— Dave Mark (@davemark) October 30, 2022
I agree with Joe Martin here that Screen Time should have its own actions as well — I want to get granular data out of the app, plus be able to toggle specific app limits on/off as needed:
Would it kill @Apple to build some ScreenTime actions into Shortcuts? I’d love to write shortcuts to automate the sheer drudgery around managing ScreenTime for multiple children.
— Joe Martin (@jmartindf) October 28, 2022
And last but not least, I’ll actually share some positive feedback — James Musson was happy to find his shortcuts run faster both natively on the Mac and via the Command Line:
? Folks new to Shortcuts
Finally, here’s a series of folks just getting into Shortcuts or going deeper for the first time — gotta love the excitement:
Most underused & underrated #NoCode tool: Apple Shortcuts
— Bhanu Vadlakonda (@bhanuv3) October 25, 2022
I’ve fallen down the Mac Shortcuts rabbit hole and geeking out over it. pic.twitter.com/GwKJc3aA4X
— Rich Myles (@GamingYourWay) October 25, 2022
Playing around with apple shortcuts, really excited ?
— mrtn (@iMART30N) October 18, 2022
Apple’s ‘Shortcuts’ App is severely underrated…
— Doot (@DootLog) October 27, 2022
Damn when they said siri shortcuts are underestimated and not used to its cabilites I thought they were exarating. Best thing in apple hands down its like life hack.
— Dubai Geek ?? (@3bdallahmohd) October 26, 2022
That’s all for this issue!
I’ll be back next Monday on my regular schedule — see you next week. ?