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Newsletter Offsite Siri Shortcuts

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 18

This was originally published in Issue 18 of my newsletter “What’s New in Shortcuts?” – sign up here.

Hello all — I’m assuming 2021 did not start off the way many of us expected.

I hope you all are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones as much as possible, which is always important but even more so during stressful times. Engage as needed, take breaks, and do what needs to be done.

📰 How to deal with the news

It’s hard to fathom that there was an attack on the Capitol in the US last week—let’s just say my attempt at using One Sec didn’t exactly reduce my Twitter usage—but there are ways to intentionally use technology rather than doomscrolling the firehose for hours on end:

  • News shortcuts / Reading shortcuts
    Whether you want to dive into the news order skip past the bad stuff to something you still need to check, my new shortcuts can help access specific parts of Apple news as needed. Or, the Reading folder can help you rethink how you consume stories online as well.
  • Read Later shortcuts
    Previously a members-only collection, this new relator folder has been added to the catalog to help you take advantage of the built-in actions for these services.
  • Twitter shortcuts
    Also a newly released folder, this one deals with the ways you can use Twitter — some of these I’ve been adapting for years and are key to my use of Twitter.

⚙️ Simple scripting with Shortcuts

This week I want to introduce you to the basics of scripting by linking to the sub-folders that perform more straightforward tasks — check these out now before I move on to more complex groups in the coming weeks:

  • Device actions
    The Device group deals with features found in Settings or Control Center — think Battery Level, Appearance, Bluetooth, and more. Many can be set On, Off, or to Toggle too, plus Get Device Details can be used with other actions like If to create fancier shortcuts based on the device or appearance.
  • Network actions
    Network actions are useful for setting Airplane Mode, Cellular Data, and Wi-Fi. Or, similar to the Device actions, getting the current network details or IP address can be used for conditionals — think shortcuts that behave differently whether your cell data is on or not.
  • Notification actions
    The Notification group is useful for adding layers like playing sounds, send notifications, and vibrate the device along with the Device or Network actions. Plus, Ask For Input lets you enter in text/numbers/dates as the shortcut is run, and Show Alert is good for mid-shortcut alerts that stop the flow (I use it while building shortcuts to preview the results of the last action).

👥 Let’s talk Shortcuts

One of my goals in 2021 is connecting more with the many folks in the various communities I’m a part of online, so these shortcuts are helping me achieve that goal so far:

  • “Hey Siri, open Shortcuts subreddit.”
    I’m looking for ways to engage with the r/shortcut community better in 2021, so this shortcut to open into the subreddit using my preferred Reddit app Apollo makes that a bit easier.
  • “Hey Siri, open Clubhouse.”
    I’ve been using the app Clubhouse to tune into conversations related to YouTube creators this week, so I put together this simple Open App shortcut to take me there (so it fits in with my overall Shortcuts-based Home Screen) — I’m a bit wary of the app’s lack of moderation, but it’s intriguing so far.
  • “Hey Siri, open the User Group.”
    Thanks to everyone who joined the Shortcuts User Group this past week — I’ve been using this shortcut to open into the #general channel more & more since a good chunk of people joined us!

🔗 Links to check out

David Sparks and John Vorhees made content that I love to see this week, and plus I made a TikTok — here are some links from last week to check out:

  • Mac Power Users on Contextual Computing
    David Sparks shared a great technique on last week’s Mac Power Users podcast called “contextual computing” using shortcuts — I’ve got similar folders for my various sections of work that jump into my different contexts as well.
  • Do Not Disturb on Mac and iOS
    John Vorhees has written up a great tip for setting Do Not Disturb on both iOS and Mac at the same time in Issue 254 of Club MacStories – sign up to see the technique.
  • Matthew’s First TikTok
    I shared my first TikTok this week—no dancing was involved—but I teased a part 2 for the Apple Watch camera tip I recreated for the platform. I’ll let you newsletter folks in on the tip for the second half — using Shortcuts and Open App to open the Camera app on the Watch itself! There’s more detail coming in the video though, so follow me to see more short cuts about shortcuts 😝

🔄 Catalog News

Week 1 of 2021 is over and, while I definitely wasn’t in a creative space for Shortcuts for the latter half of the week, I started to connect more with people and lay some groundwork for future content beyond my channels — look for that in the coming weeks.

I also want to hear more from members directly, so let me know if there’s ways beyond what’s below that you might want to connect:

  • Answering your Home Screens with shortcuts
    I asked people on Twitter today to send me their Home Screen and I’d reply with a shortcut — check out the replies to my tweet to see a bunch of examples from my Shortcuts Catalog curated to the apps on people’s screens. Plus, screenshot yours and add it to the thread — I’ll be answering them until they stop coming!
  • Members-only portion of the Slack
    Speaking of the User Group, I’ve just sent out invites to the private channel to all members via the emails used to sign up for my membership. If you didn’t recieve one or used a different email for the Slack group, hit me up in the Slack and I’ll add you manually.
  • Members-only stream this Wednesday
    I’ll be doing a Members-Only “lunch hour” this Wednesday at 12 PM PST / 8 PM UTC to chat live with folks, answer questions, and build some shortcuts. I’ll post the link on the Extras page and in the #members channel on Slack tomorrow so folks can set things up to get a notification when I go live — plus, I’ll send an email to Members on Tuesday informing them of the livestream as well as an updated list of current perks.

Wishing you all well!

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

Announcing the Shortcuts User Group

Hello Shortcuts friends!

If you’d like to be part of a community of people talking about and sharing Siri Shortcuts, you’re welcome to join my new Shortcuts User Group on Slack.

Announcing the Shortcuts User GroupI’ve been running this small community for about a year now, consisting of a cohort of people who are interested in Shortcuts and want to learn from other people directly about how to integrate Siri Shortcuts into their lives.

If you join, you’ll get a chance to see how other individuals are using Shortcuts in creative ways, get ideas or inspiration on your own automations, and be able to check in with a group of like-minded folks.

We have channels for things like:

  • getting help & asking questions,
  • sharing your own shortcuts or write-ups, and
  • having places to just talk and have fun.

The community is open for anyone to join, although I do ask new members to be intentional and try to invite friends who’d want to actively participate over trying to grow the community as large as possible – these tend to work best when we all get a chance to know each other a bit. 😇

Subscribers to my website membership will also be added to a private members-only channel so I can share the exclusive content there and chat with members directly.

Thanks for checking the Shortcuts User Group out – I look forward to meeting you in there!

Categories
Offsite Podcasts

Smart Tech Today 59: Rosemary Orchard’s Smart Home Setup 🎙

On this episode of Smart Tech Today, I had a guest host Rosemary Orchard while Mikah was out – here’s what we talked about:

  • Our hands-on impressions of Apple’s AirPods Max,
  • Google Stadia on iOS, and
  • Rosemary’s smart home setup
Categories
Siri Shortcuts

What’s New in Shortcuts? Issue 14

View the original issue.

This is the week! Once iOS 14.3 drops, millions of people will update their smartphones and suddenly be able to create their “app ideas” by adding them as shortcuts to their Home Screen.

The main change? The limitation where “custom icons always open into Shortcuts first” is now gone!

Shortcuts added to the Home Screen actually behave like you’d expect, opening into apps immediately – plus they run all the scripting actions perfectly, just like the Shortcuts widget.

I’ve tried to capture my excitement in a video – look for it soon on YouTube. But until then, here’s what’s new in Shortcuts this week:

Categories
Offsite Podcasts

Smart Tech Today 57: IoT Decor for the Holidays

On this episode of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talked about tips for automating holiday decorations, how to enable COVID-19 exposure notifications, and the updated Flic 2 smart buttons.

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

Announcing the Shortcuts Catalog for iOS 14, feat. 300 shortcuts & 300 actions

Jump straight to the Catalog or sign up for a membership.

It’s finally here!

Apple has released iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7 to users around the world – and that means everyone who updates will have the newest version of Siri Shortcuts installed.

Announcing the Shortcuts Catalog for iOS 14, feat. 300 shortcuts & 300 actions

Alongside today’s updates, I’m releasing the following:

  • the official iOS 14 version of my Shortcuts Catalog,
  • a new “What’s New in Shortcuts” newsletter, and
  • my membership program

Let me explain it a bit before you dive into everything.

Why learn about Siri Shortcuts now?

Thanks to everything new in version 4 of the Shortcuts app, everyone can expect another leap in the automation potential of their Apple products:

  • the Siri capabilities let the power of Shortcuts extend across devices,
  • new features like folders and widgets allow you to hone in on specific use cases and surface them when needed,
  • advances in Personal Automations let you turn your device into a true computing platform, and
  • the Apple Watch app extends the entire experience right into your wrist.

My goal as an independent creator has always been to share all the knowledge I’ve learned about Shortcuts and make it free.

That’s because the Shortcuts app is free on Apple’s devices – I’ve always wanted to make sure anyone who doesn’t yet understand it could go online and learn more right away.

That desire is what got me to start my own YouTube channel, plus release my own Shortcuts Library and Action Directory on my website last fall.

But, as I got deeper into iOS 13, I realized I was sharing tons of ideas in my database, but didn’t make them very accessible on the web.

To help people to truly integrate Siri Shortcuts into their lives, I needed something more…

Categories
Guest appearances Links Siri Shortcuts

Guest Spot: Sigmund Judge’s podcast Magic Rays of Light

Last week, I had the pleasure of being a guest on episode 4 of Sigmund Judge’s podcast Magic Rays of Light, a new show dedicated to all things Apple TV.

That episode is out now and available to download in your podcast app of choice.

Talking with Sigmund was a treat and we had a great conversation about:

Categories
Offsite Podcasts

Smart Tech Today 45: Alexa, Print My Crossword 🎙

On this episode of Smart Tech Today, Mikah and I talked about Amazon’s new voice-based printer integration, Wink’s recent outage (after the launch of its subscription service), and Apple’s new designed-by-Apple face covering.

Categories
Links News Newsletter Offsite Siri Shortcuts

Announcing my new “What’s New in Shortcuts” newsletter

shortcuts-pulse

As part of my new Shortcuts Catalog1, I’ve created a brand-new newsletter called What’s New in Shortcuts?.

This free newsletter is designed for anyone interested in learning more about Siri Shortcuts, covering:
* feature updates as they’re discovered,
* interesting ways to use Shortcuts related to topical stories, and
* creative new shortcuts or apps with Shortcuts actions.

In addition, What’s New in Shortcuts acts as a way to subscribe to learn about future updates to my Shortcuts Library, Action Directory, and upcoming additions to the Shortcuts Catalog.

What’s in the newsletter?

Your email each week will consist of a short-and-sweet series of bulleted lists explaining ways you can use Siri, the Shortcuts app, and related technology, all written out as trigger phrases like “Hey Siri, remind me to vote early.”

Each line will link out to a page in the Catalog, directly to an iCloud URL for a shortcut, or to an article on my site or someone else’s2.

At the bottom, you’ll also find member updates around any new pre-release shortcuts or bonus content available for the Shortcuts Catalog – check out my membership page to learn more3.

Plus, if you aren’t a member, there will still be free shortcuts every week.

And that’s it!

How do I get the emails?

Subscribe now and you can easily stay up-to-date with all the best ways to use Apple’s new automation tools in your daily life – from myself and the growing Shortcuts community4.

New emails go out weekly on Fridays — just after the “What’s New in Alexa” emails 😈 — so there’s time to read up and experiment with things over the weekend.

Sign up today and look the next issue soon – I’m looking forward to sharing more with you all!


  1. Official announcement post coming once iOS 14 releases! 
  2. Fire up your blogs and get to sharing your shortcuts! For real, I want to link to everyone’s websites in this newsletter.

    Then, make sure post them as a good shareable tweet so I can retweet as well and DM it to me

  3. Members are automatically added to “What’s New in Shortcuts”, so no need to subscribe here if you’ve signed up – any duplicates will be accounted for as well. 
  4. Make sure to check out Club MacStories from Federico Viticci & friends, sign up for the new Tablet Habit newsletter from Jeff Perry, and get the email digest for the Automators forums as well! 
Categories
Offsite Podcasts

Guest Spot: iPad Pros 90 & 91 – Shortcuts for iPadOS 14

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being invited back onto Tim Chaten’s podcast iPad Pros to discuss the updates coming to Siri Shortcuts and the Shortcuts app for iPadOS 14.

In the show, Tim asked me a detailed series of questions that covers pretty much every single aspect of what’s new in Shortcuts for iOS 14 on iPhone and iPad.1

Our conversation was so good that the show ended up being split across episode 90 and episode 91! Now that both episodes are out, you can listen to the whole chat and learn about what’s coming next.