Open Links in Shortcuts

I’ve been asked several times since yesterday how to open a link in Shortcuts. Currently clicking on one takes you to the gallery of Shortcuts and nothing else happens. If you copy the URL and use a very simple Shortcut then you can click the “Get Workflow” link and everything works as expected.

Here it is in action:

The iCloud links for Shortcuts seem to be having difficulties at the moment – so you may want to just recreate this one by hand.

Download the Shortcut (the link may not be working).

Wave GoodBye to Workflow, Say Hello to Shortcuts

It’s iOS 12 release day and the time has come to do something many people feared as long ago as March 2017 – it’s time to say goodbye to Workflow. I’m extremely happy to have had Workflow – and what’s more I’m happy to say goodbye to it because today Shortcuts launches and we have nearly everything that was in Workflow – and a way for app developers to hook straight into the app and the operating system.

What are we losing?

This question was what came to my mind at WWDC, I try not to be negative but a concern for many of us Workflow and automation nerds was “what won’t work anymore?”. Thankfully there are only a few things which we have truly lost:

  • File manipulation in Box
  • Triggering IFTTT Applets
  • Post to Slack
  • Save to Transmit (as the app is no longer on the iOS App Store it’s not a surprise)
  • Post to Tumblr
  • Edit Image
  • Send via DeskConnect (also unsurprising – the service was shut down long ago).

The only one of these that really causes difficulties is the edit image action, while you can still crop images and various other actions you can no longer do so in an interactive manner as part of a Shortcut.

What have we gained?

We have gained a lot in Shortcuts, here’s a list of actions which to my knowledge didn’t exist in Workflow but are part of Shortcuts – but aren’t donated to Siri by an app developer.

  • Add to Draft (Drafts 5)
  • Get Contents of Draft (Drafts 5)
  • Open Draft (Drafts 5)
  • Run Drafts Action (Drafts 5)
  • Markup
  • Request Payment
  • Run Javascript on Web Page
  • Send Payment
  • Set Airplane Mode
  • Set Bluetooth
  • Set Cellular Data
  • Set Do Not Disturb
  • Set Low Power Mode
  • Set Wi-Fi
  • Show Result

The last action is most interesting to me – it works like an alert if you run a Shortcut from Shortcuts, but will display the answer in Siri if you call the shortcut from Siri. The dictation action has also had an upgrade – allowing it to stop automatically after a pause, or a short pause, or on a tap (you can choose). This makes Shortcuts much more useful if you’re using it via Siri.

What’s still to come?

The possibilities here are seemingly endless – I’ve already seen many of the apps I use daily updating to support Shortcuts, from Waterminder to TripIt, Carrot to Working Copy, and many more. What we get now will be up to the app developers – but they seem to be making the most of it!

Backing Up Your Workflows/Shortcuts

It’s almost time for the iOS 12 release and while I think that Shortcuts is going to be a separate app in the App Store to update to from Workflow, backups are a good idea. Of course backing up your device is a good idea, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do a separate backup of your Workflows or Shortcuts that you’ve created – and maybe it’s time to clear out your collection and start afresh (speaking as someone with over 800 Shortcuts, it’s definitely time!).

I’ve created both Workflows and Shortcuts to do this for you, the Shortcuts shortcut is designed to be run on each of your devices – while iCloud Sync should be working now, some of us with extremely large libraries have had the syncing get a little stuck.

Essentially all this does is grab all of your Workflows and create a zip of them in iCloud Drive, the date and time you run the automation is included in the file name, and the Shortcuts variation also includes your device name.

Backups are good, and even if everything goes perfectly on Monday, which I’m sure they will, you won’t regret it!

Keep on automating.

Download the Workflow

Download the Shortcut

Shortcuts Beta now open!

Earlier today a few little birdies told me about the Shortcuts beta being open to sign up for if you have a developer account. If I hadn’t already had one I might have been tempted to sign up for it just for this!

It seems Apple is sending out the invitations pretty quickly as mine has already arrived. I’m really looking forward to testing this and getting stuck in – iOS 12 has made some big promises regarding automation, I bet it will live up to them!

You can read more about the current beta over on MacStories.