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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
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
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
Links Siri Shortcuts

New Shortcuts Directory curates links for getting started with Siri Shortcuts

Shortcuts creator and designer Brad Siefert has created a dedicated website for people looking to discover various links and creators related to Siri Shortcuts – check out the new Shortcuts Directory.

Categories
Guest appearances Offsite Podcasts

Guest spot: Geared Up podcast w/ Andru Edwards & Jon Rettinger

Guest spot: Geared Up podcast w/ Andru Edwards & Jon Rettinger

Recorded June 11th, I had the privilege to be on Andru Edwards and Jon Rettinger’s podcast Geared Up.

We had a great conversation where I told them all about Siri Shortcuts, plus we covered Andru’s YouTube situation, Apple’s worldwide developer conference (WWDC) & the transition to ARM Macs, and the PS5 announcements – here are the show links:

Categories
Siri Shortcuts

14 Accessibility shortcuts for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

14 Accessibility shortcuts for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

On episode 30 of Smart Tech Today, I spent about 10 minutes describing a series of shortcuts I put together that take advantage of the accessibility actions found in the Shortcuts app ahead of today, May 21, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).

Accessibility features are incredibly important for modern technology to provide, making it possible for everyone to utilize their hardware & software regardless of their personal situation – you either have direct accessibility needs that require specific use of your technology, you’ll one day need them yourself, or you benefit from those features anyway (think Dark mode).

The Shortcuts app has always been an Accessibility priority for Apple, with them declaring as much in their confirmation story when they acquisition of the Workflow app before it became Shortcuts1:

“The Workflow app was selected for an Apple Design Award in 2015 because of its outstanding use of iOS accessibility features, in particular an outstanding implementation for VoiceOver with clearly labeled items, thoughtful hints, and drag/drop announcements, making the app usable and quickly accessible to those who are blind or low-vision.”

In iOS 13, Apple went further and added a set of actions to Shortcuts for controlling Accessibility features, available to use inside the shortcut editor in Apps > Settings.

Categories
Links Siri Shortcuts

I’m washing my hands

New shortcut: I’m washing my hands:

Sets a timer for 20 seconds so that you can wash your hands thoroughly without thinking about how long it takes.

Use this to help internalize how long it takes to wash your hands, especially amongst the Coronavirus concerns.

Get the shortcut or view a full screenshot of the shortcut.

Categories
Podcasts Siri Shortcuts Tips & Tricks Video

“Show me this clip” for video podcasts with this Overcast to YouTube shortcut

If you didn’t already know, my podcast Smart Tech Today comes with a video feed now – you can download a full video feed in Podcasts, or subscribe to the YouTube channel to get the episodes every week, or watch live on Twitch every Monday at 4pm PST.

While the show is designed as an audio podcast, our network This Week in Tech produces the video so anyone can watch too – I have lots of fun being on camera with Mikah.

Being a podcast that’s also “video capable,” I’ve always thought it’s a shame that it’s not easier to listen when you want to, or watch when you want to, with a way to switch between both on the fly.

If you’re on Overcast user, you’re in luck – I’ve solved the problem in one direction, taking Overcast’s “Share URL with timestamp” Siri Shortcut and combining it with YouTube’s timestamps feature to let you jump into the video feed at a moment’s notice.1

Categories
Links Siri Shortcuts

How far did I walk today?

Today’s new shortcut is How far did I walk today? is designed for CES attendees but is also good for anyone really:

Looks at the Health app for total steps and distance for today, then formats the information to display in an alert or be spoken back from Siri.

Uses only the Apple Watch as the main source of data so no information is duplicated from the phone.

How far did I walk today?