Checking In On The Shortcuts Update

I am still in the honeymoon phase with the iOS 13 updates to Shortcuts. As I explained in a recent newsletter, I am in the process of recording an entirely new Shortcuts Field Guide. I’ve already recorded over 50 videos, and I have quite a few left.

This update to Shortcuts is way more than I expected. There are new triggers, actions, and the overall programming paradigm has been simplified, making it easier than ever for anyone to create automation on their iPhone and iPad. The last few betas removed some of the more interesting automatic triggers, but I understand they will be coming back. Regardless, if you have any remote interest in automation on your iPad and iPhone, you’re in for a treat in September.

Today while working with the new Shortcuts, I was pondering the state of affairs a few years ago when Apple first bought the Workflow application. At the time I thought there were two possibilities: they’d bring it into iOS but remove it’s more powerful elements (like they did with Siri) or they would scrap it entirely and re-distribute the very talented team to other projects.

Honestly, it never occurred to me that they would incorporate Workflow into the operating system and vastly improve its capabilities. Even if the thought had occurred to me, I would have bet you a lot of money that they wouldn’t then double down a second year to make it even easier to use and more powerful.

I have always believed that automation is something everybody should be able to master and use. These improvements to Shortcuts are paving the way for just that. These devices we carry in our pocket do not need to be an interruption in our lives. With the kind of automation Apple is democratizing with Shortcuts, we can get our work done faster and get on to the more essential things of life, like making art (however you define that), playing with their children, and, of course, taking naps.