New Shortcuts beta has fixes in the works for Transit, Choose From Menu, Tweetbot

Apple released a beta version of the Shortcuts app to developers today, coming in at version 2.2.1 beta 1. This includes fixes for Get Travel Time’s transit options, a fix for Tweetbot’s native action, a bug that prevented users from deleting items in a Choose From Menu action, and a few other minor fixes not detailed by Apple.

Users with developer accounts can request access to the Shortcuts beta at developer.apple.com/download, and after signing in, the release notes for the newest beta are available here.

Transit Travel Time functional, with a catch

This update also bodes well for users who have been trying to take advantage of the Get Travel Time action to estimate the length of their transit trips, but unfortunately this update does not include options to extract the new Travel Time details first made available in Shortcuts 2.2.

Setting Travel Time to Driving and Walking will pass out results in the content type Trip Info, which added Arrival Time, Route Name, and Distance details to extract in the last update to Shortcuts. Setting it to Transit, however, changes the resulting output’s content type to Time Interval.

I suspect this has a different output because the estimate is multi-modal: transit directions include both trains/buses and walking to your destination.

But I would eventually like the full capability to get Trip Info details from Transit travel times in a future update – asking Siri on the HomePod to tell me which BART train to take as I leave to head into San Francisco would be quite fantastic.

Tweetbot URL scheme action addressed

This shortcut beta also fixes issues with the Tweetbot actions available from the Workflow days, which seems to have reverted to looking for Tweetbot 3 instead of Tweetbot 5.

This follows a similar issue with the Bear actions that was resolved remotely after the Shortcuts 2.2 release, also seemingly due to the pre-built native actions for third-party apps that Shortcuts inherited from the Workflow days (basically, Shortcuts checks which app is installed before triggering their URL scheme).

Current users can use the apps’ URL schemes to build their own workarounds, but native actions are much easier and don’t require fiddling with encoded text. Get Tweet link with Tweetbot here (or use the URL scheme version).

You can delete items from Choose From Menu again

The other major fix resolves an issue for the Scripting action Choose From Menu, which lets users define a menu of options for the user to pick from, and then splits the shortcut down a different path of actions for each option.


Removing items from Choose From Menu no longer crashes the app. Get the Grocery Expirations shortcut shown here.

This is a powerful action that defines different branches that a shortcut can take, and in the latest update would entirely crash Shortcuts if a user tried to delete a menu item/path of actions. This made it impossible to remove a menu option without removing every action in its path, which I only discovered was slightly possible after lots of testing and moving my actions out to get around this.

Now with the update, Shortcuts won’t crash as you delete something and you can properly remove a menu item and the actions it includes – but only if you are a developer and are on the beta.

Public bug fix release soon?

Unfortunately the millions(?) of existing Shortcuts users will still experience these bugs until Apple releases a public update.

I’m hoping that since the version number is 2.1.1 beta 1, this update will get released a quicker timeline than waiting until WWDC or the next version of iOS 12 – especially since Travel Time was one of the marquee updates of the last version and is one-third broken currently.

I am not sure if I will always cover bug fixes in beta updates here on my blog, but I’ve seen some of the Shortcuts subreddit frustrated with long-term bugs that are already addressed in betas. Let me know on Twitter if you find this helpful.

Hopefully this at least lets the community understand that Apple and the Shortcuts team have heard them and a fix is on the way, and to always file bug reports.

Matt Galligan’s Shared Shortcuts on Notion

Last week, I came across a useful shortcut for calling into meetings, tweeted out by Matt Galligan, former founder of Circa and now CEO of Interchange1:

The shortcut grabs your next calendar event, extracts the phone number, and dials it for you – with a trigger phrase set up, you can just say “Dial In” to Siri and it’ll just work.

Matt also has a neat way for sharing this and his other shortcuts: using Notion. Continue reading “Matt Galligan’s Shared Shortcuts on Notion”

Preventing food from expiring with two Siri Shortcuts

I have a bad habit of wasting food. I will buy groceries, eat most of it, but usually end up letting one or two things go bad just because I don’t think about it.

It’s probably because I don’t cook enough, but it’s still a problem I want to avoid with longer-term items who expiration dates I rarely think about when I buy them.

This is one of those things I genuinely try to work on, but every time I think about it I can’t remember when I bought or defrosted something.

So when earlier this week, the ground beef I had taken out of the freezer was no longer good, I got fed up with myself for doing it again and decided to change something.

So, I made two Siri Shortcuts for logging and checking expirations to make the process easier on myself, more reliable, and most of all: automated (because that part’s just fun for me too). Continue reading “Preventing food from expiring with two Siri Shortcuts”

CalZones is the only scheduling app you need to plan across timezones

Developer David Smith has released a new app today called CalZones that is a combination calendar and timezone converter.

Available for $4.99 via the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, the app makes it as easy as possible to see what time it is where somebody else lives and arrange a meeting at the correct time across timezones and work schedules.

I’ve never found a calendar app that lets me have timezones presets visualized so easily, giving me the correct the information of what time it is across the world, and packing an impressive amount of utility into multiple small spaces.

Here’s how Calzone accomplishes all that. Continue reading “CalZones is the only scheduling app you need to plan across timezones”

7 Shortcuts for meetings and making new contacts

After a meeting with someone new yesterday, I realized there was a few places where I could have used the Shortcuts app to speed up the processes around our encounter.

Before the meeting, I was headed somewhere new and needed to figure out how to get there on time.

During the meeting, I was fumbling with my phone a bit, handing it to them to type in their contact information, and didn’t have an easy way to share mine either.

Plus, I dealt with everything after the meeting too – writing down notes, sharing my info, and following up later.

From all this, I noticed a few repeating patterns, that could be automated using mostly default apps – the data I need already exists or can be entered on the fly.

So, I came up with a few jobs to be done:

  • Knowing when to leave to get to the meeting on time
  • Getting directions to the meeting when it’s time to leave
  • Sharing your “business card” contact information
  • Logging someone else’s contact information
  • Taking helpful meeting notes afterwards
  • Following up with them the same day (or later)
  • Scheduling that follow up if it’s not today

Continue reading “7 Shortcuts for meetings and making new contacts”

A Pair of Shortcuts to Log Podcast Episodes in Airtable and Play One at Random in Overcast 🔗

Julia M. on her blog Rampant Procrastination:

1. Open the information tab in Overcast of a podcast you wish to log to Airtable.

2.Select the text of the information tab from the podcast title down, grabbing as much of the episode description as you would like to be included in the notes field in Airtable. Press copy to put this text on the clipboard.

3. This shortcut is used as a sharesheet extension, so press the share button and select Shortcuts, then run the shortcut to log the podcast.”

This post is a great write-up from Julia explaining a way she’s saving podcast episodes to Airtable, plus pulling from that database to play one again at random.

She has little technique for grabbing information from Overcast on the clipboard before sharing the episode, and wrote up how she’s extracting the information from once it’s in the shortcut before sending it through Airtable’s API.

Definitely subscribe to her new blog and give her a follow.

If you have a blog post about Shortcuts, always feel free to tweet me the link. I post some of them here and in my newsletter too.