What’s New in Shortcuts – Issue #088

Welcome to Issue 88 of “What’s New in Shortcuts” — this is a special double issue after I took a short break the week of Thanksgiving in the U.S!

This Black Friday and Cyber Monday were full of discounts as usual, and I did the typical scoff at all the things I surely didn’t need… before promptly spending a bunch of money. I upgraded my WiFi setup for better stability while streaming, got a second 4K monitor, and managed to talk myself into buying an entire second camera setup — I’m excited to put this all to good use.

Since the break, I’ve been hard at work on my livestream process, building out the next release of the Shortcuts Library, and put time into the behind-the-scenes setup work that’s necessary to make my upcoming YouTube videos.

I’ve also built out hundreds of new shortcuts for the Mac, livestreaming, Apple TV, recipes, meal planning, groceries, online shopping, deliveries, and affiliate linking — those are all still in-progress, so stay tuned there.

On the stream coming soon, I’ve got plans for working on Things, Pixelmator, and StreamDeck — plus anything else that might come up.

Until then, this issue is full of goodies — there’s nine new Shortcuts stories, a slew of ChatGPT automations, great ideas and shortcuts to download, plus app updates you don’t want to miss:


🆕 New on the Catalog

Over on YouTube, I streamed for 6 hours on Monday continuing my work on the Shortcuts Library logging process and sharing the shortcuts I’d built on-stream a few weeks prior. I did some experiments on the stream too, including watching Chris Lawley’s videos (who appeared in the chat), testing music, and taking longer breaks.

Once I was done, I did a lot more Library work off-stream to further improve this process, plus just work on the high-complexity workflow without a live audience.

I still have more work to do on that front, but I uploaded those initial shortcuts directly while on-stream, which members can get now — be warned that these are works-in-progress and are missing details as of today.

Overall my goal is to get new shortcuts into members’ hands as quickly as possible so that my upload process isn’t the bottleneck — I made about 250 more shortcuts last week after this stream, so there’s a huge volume waiting to come down the pipeline.

Until then, check out the Letterboxd Post and YouTube RSS feed shortcuts here:

Member Shortcuts – Matthew Cassinelli Member Shortcuts – Matthew Cassinellimatthewcassinelli.com

Below is the full list of members-only shortcuts. If you’re a member, sign in here to access the shortcuts – or check out the extras page for the other perks. If you’re not a member, join here.

📰 Stories of the Week

This is a great tip from the folks at Lifehacker — if you can’t find your Safari downloads on iPhone, you can make a shortcut to the folder in iCloud Drive and stick it on your Home Screen for quick access:

Make This Shortcut for Your iPhone Safari Downloads Make This Shortcut for Your iPhone Safari Downloadslifehacker.com

Stop googling “where is the downloads folder on my iPhone.” Add it to your home screen.

A handy tool for parents, this shortcut can take an Apple Music playlist and search for clean versions of each track, then add it to a new playlist — it’s not going to be perfect though, so make sure to check it if any are missing:

This Shortcut Makes a Kid-Friendly Version of Your Explicit Apple Music Playlists This Shortcut Makes a Kid-Friendly Version of Your Explicit Apple Music Playlistslifehacker.com

Remove the swears from every song so anyone can listen in.

MacRumors shared this Personal Automation that I actually use every day — my phone turns on Low Power Mode when I get to 35% instead of 20% since I’m such a heavy user and I’d otherwise run out sooner than I’d like.

I also have an automation that yells out “Critical alert!” when I’m down to 5% using a robot voice — I love it so much:

How to Automate Low Power Mode When Your iPhone Battery is Depleted - MacRumors How to Automate Low Power Mode When Your iPhone Battery is Depleted – MacRumorswww.macrumors.com

If you find your iPhone regularly running out of battery later in the day, Low Power Mode is a handy option to have available. This article shows how…

Over on Popular Science, Justin Pot put together a list of five handy shortcuts like focusing by quitting all other apps, grabbing items from RSS feeds, and overlaying text on any image:

5 tasks you can easily automate using MacOS’ Shortcuts app | Popular Science 5 tasks you can easily automate using MacOS’ Shortcuts app | Popular Sciencewww.popsci.com

Apple’s Shortcut app can streamline a lot of processes for you, but you’ll likely never opened it. Here are 5 shortcuts to get started.

Over on Six Colors, Dan Moren and Jason Snell wrote two back-to-back articles building off each other’s shortcuts for archiving podcast files — a good combination of native Shortcuts actions plus Command Line tools:

Automate This: Archive a bunch of sub-folders – Six Colors Automate This: Archive a bunch of sub-folders – Six Colorssixcolors.com

Automate This: Audio archiving via Shortcuts – Six Colors Automate This: Audio archiving via Shortcuts – Six Colorssixcolors.com

This blog looks super interesting for Pi-Hole users who want to perform ad-blocking at the network level — it lets you temporarily disable everything in case you’re running into issues:

Disable/enable Pi-hole using Apple Shortcuts | pawelgrzybek.com Disable/enable Pi-hole using Apple Shortcuts | pawelgrzybek.compawelgrzybek.com

Pi-hole is my favourite ad-blocking solution. In most cases, it works like a charm, but from time to time, you just want to disable it temporarily.

On MacStories, Federico Viticci made an excellent shortcut for redirecting Mastodon profiles you come across so you can subscribe to them properly:

Masto-Redirect, a Mastodon Shortcut to Redirect Profiles and Posts to Your Own Instance Masto-Redirect, a Mastodon Shortcut to Redirect Profiles and Posts to Your Own Instancewww.macstories.net

Like many others over the past month, I’ve been thinking deeply about my experience with Twitter and whether I want to align my social media usage with the kind of platform Twitter is rapidly becoming.

On The Verge, the team covered the basic options that users can use with the Action button on the Apple Watch. They do mention Shortcuts too, but it is honestly a bit simple saying a 5-minute timer was too hard to set up — I replied to their tweet and the author mentioned potentially covering Shortcuts more which is promising:

The Apple Watch Ultra’s Action Button teases smartwatch automation - The Verge The Apple Watch Ultra’s Action Button teases smartwatch automation – The Vergewww.theverge.com

With the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple introduced a third physical button to its rugged smartwatch that can be used as a hotkey for certain actions. While it’s intended to cater to athletes wearing gloves, it can also be used to trigger custom automations via Apple’s Shortcuts.

🤖 Topic of the Week: GPT-3

The major trend going around Twitter circles this last week in particular was testing the latest version of Open AI’s ChatGPT, a chatbot version of the GPT-3 machine learning language model that lets you give text prompts and return generated answers.

I’m probably underselling it, but the web is full of people asking this program questions and getting automated artificial intelligence-like responses.

Open AI also an an API, which means users can tap into these requests using Shortcuts’ Get Contents of URL action — I’ve seen 10 good examples of shortcuts built by Twitter folks, which you can check out below.

Plus, check out the 11th example where someone tells ChatGPT to give them instructions on how to build a shortcut! 🤯

I’m definitely saving these ideas for an upcoming stream…

💡 Ideas of the Week

Mike Grace shared this shortcut for locking down your device data at a moment’s notice — it takes nice advantage of the URL scheme for Settings:

Ome Romano shared his shortcut for measuring distance and travel time home, then navigating back using Waze — smart:

I saw this interesting tweet from Twitter user David who was sharing a screenshot of shortcuts for his WiFi controlled irrigation computer.

I also like his point that Shortcuts is perhaps the most universal smart home triggering platform (since so many devices skip HomeKit but offer Shortcuts support):

I saw this tip from Sam Erde for finding peace and quiet during the holidays — using Backgrounds Sounds built into iOS. Plus, you can trigger it using Shortcuts:

🤖 Shortcuts of the Week

This tip from Taylor Swift fan Kelsey recommends setting your favorite albums as a shortcut — I have a widget of my top albums that I rotate around to have quick access to my favorites:

Twitter user Blaine uses this traffic camera URL to grab a screenshot of the latest traffic patterns and show himself — seems like a great idea that anyone could replicate using their local government’s similar services:

@Sandlex shared this great idea for logging a daily journal into the Notes app — some of this could also be solved using a Text action and creating the note with that rather than appending, but this way works too:

If you’re looking for holiday gifts and want to check if a deal is actually a good deal or not, this shortcut passes Amazon links to CamelCamelCamel and shows you the price history:

Jared DiPane shared his Action button shortcut that he’s set with Choose From Menu to open into various Apple Watch apps he uses regularly — good use of that little orange button:

Sherif on Twitter shared this shortcut for copying-and-pasting GPS coordinates from Google Maps and passing them to Uber to request a ride:

🎞️ Videos of the Week

This week, I came across this great stream from Carrie on Accessibility demonstrating Shortcuts using VoiceOver — it’s always super interesting to see the experience of the app and how it’s still, well, accessible even if you aren’t able to see the screen:

Shane Whatley post this great video on the Aqara cube, an awesome and super unique product that can let you run Mac shortcuts just by rotating the device and setting it down in a specific way — very cool:

📲 Apps of the Week

The Mac launcher app RayCast has updated their support for Shortcuts to include the icons and folders of your shortcuts, plus design them to accept input from the Raycast menu itself — neat:

Almost as if the Signals for HomeKit developer’s ears were burning after Shane’s video, the app is also now on sale for Black Friday/Cyber Monday — check it out and automate your HomeKit setup in super unique ways:

Last week this new Movie Tracker app launched, and within the week already added great updates in response to customer feedback — including Shortcuts support. Check it out and support this new release:

I also saw this series of apps recommended by “Sailor Mikey,” including the interesting CopyEm app that has Shortcuts support — for all your clipboard management needs:

I saw this handy app SuperWidget launch and make it possible to add Shortcuts-powered widgets to your devices:

Cori, an app for helping diabetics track glucose levels, just added Shortcuts support as well, making it easy to insert your data right away:

Noam Efergan shared his progress on his Baby Wize app as he adds Shortcuts support as well — this type of app is indeed perfect for use with Siri:

That’s all for this issue!

I’ll see you on the stream this week (which you can always jump into directly using youtube.com/matthewcassinelli/live).