Everything Went Better Than Expected

I am incredibly amazed right now, because I launched my YouTube channel on Monday and my first video has gotten 20,000 views along with 2,304 subscribers as of publishing – last week I had 2.

Thank you so, so much if you shared my video over the past few days. I asked and you delivered, which really was heartwarming to see and it made a huge difference. Special thanks to Myke Hurley and Jason Snell for mentioning it on Upgrade, as well as Lory Gil for inviting me to link at the bottom of my iMore articles (which we’ve been updating with new information) – both helped a ton.

I’m still trying to get it linked elsewhere because I really do want as many people to learn as possible and help them avoid confusion, so I’m excited to see how it keeps growing over time.1

If you haven’t watched the video yet, here it is – don’t forget to subscribe 😇:

Now I’m hard at work on a second one – the Shortcuts app is out alongside iOS 12, and there’s lots of confusion on how the app works, what works in Siri and what doesn’t, and once you get past that, what to even build with it.

I’ve got a ton to cover and unfortunately I can’t cram it all into one video, so I’m going to work my way through it and give as many quick asides with those details as I can.

I’m also still writing articles and making a podcast, so if anybody with good video experience wants to help me skip over beginner’s mistakes2 or link to good resources, that would be amazing.

In the meantime, I’m answering as many comments on the video and DMs as I can while still getting shit done, but there’s lots of places elsewhere to look, starting first with Apple’s new Shortcuts User Guide.

But you should also buy David Spark’s Shortcuts Field Guide video series if you want to skip ahead to everything right away, read Federico’s review for a deep dive along with what’s new in iOS 12, and join some of the other healthy communities sprouting up. The subreddit seems to be growing nicely and searching on Twitter for icloud.com/shortcuts will show you a ton of examples, which is fantastic – keep up the good work everyone.

I can’t wait to see what you do with it.3


  1. The YouTube analytics are fun to explore too – people who came from external links stayed the longest on average, which I credit to all of you! 
  2. Mistakes like leaving autofocus continuous on, and having too loud of music with vocalization, and not leveling any of the audio properly, for example… 
  3. 😏 

The MacStories Review of iOS 12 (and Shortcuts)

Every year, it’s a staple in the Apple community to read Federico Vittici’s in-depth review of the latest version of iOS.

Federico has been running MacStories for years and always spends the summer drafting massive, book-length guides to the new changes that come to Apple’s iPhone and iPad software, quickly becoming the go-to place to pay attention when the new release drops.

This time, it’s very much the same, with Viticci publishing his entire review with 16 individual sections as pages (and 1 page for credits). Here’s the subhead introduction:

After years of unabated visual and functional changes, iOS 12 is Apple’s opportunity to regroup and reassess the foundation before the next big step – with one notable exception.

The review is also available as an eBook and audiobook for members of Club MacStories, their membership program that provides great newsletters with tons of Shortcuts ideas, links, and interviews. Members get the book free and the audiobook at 60% off, so now is better than ever to subscribe.

Now that Shortcuts is out I’m sure you won’t want to miss Federico’s work, so definitely consider joining if you have the means.

One of the major sections to look at is his coverage of Shortcuts, because he’s the OG in the space – I originally learned about Workflow because of Federico and his coverage is what brought me to work for the app, so at a certain point we all owe him for bringing a spotlight to this awesome technology.

His evangelism for the potential got all of us who knew about it excited and I’m sure influenced Apple’s decision to purchase our company, so, everyone go thank Federico!

Now excuse me while I keep reading because there’s no way I’ve read it at all just – will have to switch back and forth with Myke’s lovely voice filling my ears too as I do my own prep for the big day.

The Automators podcast: I did a Shortcuts deep dive!

I had the honor of being on Relay FM‘s great new show Automators this week. Hosted by David Sparks and Rosemary Orchard, the show dives deep into automation with Apple products and covers a whole range of apps and devices.

With iOS 12 launching on Monday, David and Rosemary had me on their show to talk all about Shortcuts and walk people through two of my custom shortcuts – Open Twitter Lists and Golden Hour.

Apparently, I completely forgot this was supposed to be a 30-minute show, because we straight up talked about these for an hour and a half.

These are more like workflows than Siri-based shortcuts, as the Twitter lists one doesn’t involve Siri at all – I primarily run it from the widget.

But Golden Hour can be triggered by Siri and run headless on devices like Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay – I used it in my testing video of the HomePod too when I discovered when shortcuts started working on more devices:

The show mostly involved functional explanations of the shortcuts, so hopefully one day I’ll be back on Automators again to talk more about how I’m taking advantage of Siri, custom Shortcuts, and the new actions provided by other app developers besides Apple’s.

We also mentioned a shortcut for Apple Music Mixes that I wrote about for The Sweet Setup, but we avoided covering it again so check out the full post for all the details.

The episode should be a good listen – subscribe to the show, add the workflows/shortcuts from the show notes1 on their site or in your podcast app, and listen along as I explain both step-by-step.

Also, be sure to visit the Automators Talk forum where the community chats about all types of automation – definitely worth checking out.

If you’re coming here from Automators, feel free to follow my posts via RSS or subscribe to my twice-a-month newsletter, the first issue of which will be launching soon!

Thanks for listening, hope you enjoy it!


  1. Depending on when you read this, if Shortcuts isn’t yet available on the App Store the linked workflows for Workflow will still work. 

Sharing about Shortcuts: in audio and video form

With the imminent release of the Shortcuts app for iOS, I’ve been hard at work creating new ways to share with everyone.

After Workflow was acquired by Apple, I took a contract position covering support while the process transitioned to Apple Support. I didn’t want to leave the Workflow community hanging without someone to help with problems, and in my time there helped thousands of people with their workflows – and read every tweet about us.

I had joined the small team to help people learn how to use this thing, and once I saw them continue to update it I took a leap of faith and left early before I learned too much about the plans.

Seeing Shortcuts at WWDC was awesome and a wonderful confirmation that this app is the future of automation on iOS.

Plus, while I was there, I met Alex Cox and she kept telling me to make a podcast about it all. When she said she’d host it with me, I immediately said yes, and Supercomputer was born.

Since then we’ve recorded 5 episodes, introducing ourselves, talking about assistants, covering morning routines, prepping for travel, and now detailing Apple’s September 12 iPhone and Apple Watch event.

Next week we are covering Shortcuts as it’s available for everyone to use, and there will certainly be more intertwined in many episodes to come as it’s intertwined into how iOS works from here on out.

I’d love it if you would subscribe to the show and share it with others if you think if might be useful to them. Even if you use Overcast and Recommend it there (which id be extremely thankful for), Podcasts subscriptions drive the iTunes charts which ultimately get us more users through Apple’s recommendations – subscribing there helps us the most!

I am also open to any constructive criticism or feedback – help me make the show better! I am relatively new to podcasting and feel like I’m improving quickly, but any help speeding that up is welcome.

But wait, there’s more!

Shortcuts is a highly visual tool, and while I love writing and now producing podcasts, sometimes a little video goes a long way in helping you understand how this darn thing works.

So I’m producing YouTube videos to help you learn how to use Shortcuts! My channel will be me explaining what shortcuts are (and what they aren’t), giving examples of shortcuts you can use and how to use them, and I’ll teach you how to build your own shortcuts and think about the process.

In the same spirit above, I am new to video and hopefully I can get through the inevitable awkward bits sooner rather than later, but I have the content down – I worked at the app, I wrote the documentation, I’ve built thousands of workflows/shortcuts, and I am making the time to show you how to use it.

So subscribe to my channel, listen to my podcast, and ask me any questions on Twitter.

I’ll help as best as I can, and I hope you jump in the deep end with me to take advantage of all that Shortcuts has to offer – this is going to be fun.