What’s New in Shortcuts – Issue #084

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:

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🆕 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:

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…

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!

Apple Finally Gave Us More Shortcut Actions for Books « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks Apple Finally Gave Us More Shortcut Actions for Books « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacksios.gadgethacks.com

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:

📰 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:

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:

My 7 Most Powerful Apple Shortcuts | by Jano le Roux | The Startup | Oct, 2022 | Medium My 7 Most Powerful Apple Shortcuts | by Jano le Roux | The Startup | Oct, 2022 | Mediummedium.com

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 😝

Improving Your Daily Commute With Apple Shortcuts Improving Your Daily Commute With Apple Shortcutsblog.routinehub.co

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:

The best shortcuts to play music with Apple Music The best shortcuts to play music with Apple Musicblog.routinehub.co

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:

Apps and other tech keep an eye on the police Apps and other tech keep an eye on the policewww.axios.com

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:

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):

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:

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:

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:

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:

Signals for HomeKit has also received a significant update including widgets, improved Shortcuts support, and Thread/Matter support ahead of the upcoming protocol release:

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:

🐦 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:

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:

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:

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:

Julian Martinez shared about the new Set Parked Car actions from Shortcuts in iOS 16 — make sure to check out my full set too:

@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:

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:

For anyone filing feedback or bug reports to app developers, this AppleScript shortcut looks handy for sharing detailed app information with them:

@SteinDavidB on Twitter shared this preview of his CityBike shortcut that uses their API to check for available bikes — great idea:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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…

I’d love this option for Shortcuts too — the ability to check if the shortcut is running via Siri or not:

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:

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:

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:

That’s all for this issue!

I’ll be back next Monday on my regular schedule — see you next week. 👋