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What's new in shortcuts in iOS 13 «iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

When Apple acquired the popular workflow app in 2017, many were worried that it would either be replaced by something much worse or simply disappear altogether. Luckily, Apple has eliminated these concerns by launching shortcuts. In iOS 13, shortcuts are more powerful than ever and offer features on the iPhone that the original workflow team could only dream of.

In iOS 13, the Shortcuts app is now fully integrated into the system. As an integrated app, shortcuts can do much more than any third-party app. You can now create automations that can be triggered by things like time, location, NFC tags, and even when you change settings such as Do Not Disturb and Airplane mode.

Single links are also more powerful and can now be deployed A secure, private way for apps to share data. The Shortcuts Editor has also been extensively updated. Each action is now configured with descriptive sentences and not with a list of variables. Together, these changes help make linking more powerful, intuitive, and accessible than ever before.

# 1
: Siri and custom shortcuts finally joined together

In iOS 12, shortcuts were generally divided into two distinct types: [19659006] Siri shortcuts: These were either in individual apps or in the "Siri and" section Search "created in the settings. They consisted of an action specific to an app and could not receive any additional data when run. In addition, you could give them a custom phrase to run on Siri.

  • Custom Shortcuts: These were created in the Shortcuts app and could contain several actions that were strung together to perform various functions. These actions can be built-in shortcuts or actions donated by a third-party app through a Siri link.
  • In iOS 13, the distinction between Siri shortcuts and custom shortcuts has been removed. Now both guys live together in the Shortcuts app. Previously created Siri shortcuts, as well as any new shortcuts that consist of a single action of an app, are indicated by the app icon displayed on the shortcut.

    In addition, you actually had to speak to create a custom phrase Siri performs a shortcut. In iOS 13, you can simply enter your custom phase in the "When I say" section of the "Add to Siri" screen. Siri can also execute custom shortcuts that you've created by saying the name of the shortcut.

    Add Siri in iOS 12 (middle) and iOS 13 (right).

    # 2: Revised Linking Editor

    The biggest change in the Linking Editor is how data is provided for each action. In iOS 12, each action would have a list of items to which data could be assigned. In iOS 13, actions are typically represented as sentences that describe the main purpose of the action, with assignable parts highlighted in blue.

    In this way, it is possible to describe in clear text what an action will do. For example, the Add to Calendar action in iOS 12 was a list of things that needed to be filled out. In iOS 13, it is summarized in a single sentence describing what needs to be added at what time. The additional details are then hidden in the Show More section of the action.

    Add to calendar action in iOS 12 (left) and iOS 13 (right)

    The Shortcuts app also offers more actions, which can be used by the built-in system apps as well as actions to script and execute web queries. Conditional blocks, such as the "If" block, now have several other conditions to decide if the block will be executed. The conditions are also dynamic, depending on what the input for the block is. For example, if a number is entered, conditions such as "greater than" or "less than" are displayed. When text is submitted, the options change to "longer than" or "shorter than".

    Conditional options for numbers (left) and text (right)

    Finally, shortcuts from certain apps have been categorized into their own category, instead of being distributed across multiple categories as in iOS 12. Just tap the Apps category and any category. An app with built-in shortcuts and third-party links appears as an option.

    # 3: New Actions [19659005] Shortcuts includes a variety of new actions in iOS 13. These include:

    • Apple TV Remote:

      • Shortcuts can now enable / disable Apple TVs, play / pause media, and open apps on an Apple TV.
      • Setting the Playback Destination: AirPlay devices, such as speakers and TVs, can now be targeted as targets by media before playing media. F from your device.
      • HomeKit: HomeKit devices can now be individually controlled, and joins can also receive their current state, which can then be fed into a conditional block.
      • Podcasts: Shortcuts can now be used Control the built-in podcasts app as well as search for and subscribe to new podcasts.
      • Dark Mode: The system wide dark mode can now be turned on and off.
      • E-mail: E-mails can now be written and sent directly via a link via the integrated mail app.

    # 4: Actions from third-party apps

    Actions provided by third-party apps also become much more powerful. In iOS 12, the actions provided by apps could not be changed based on various inputs. Each action had to be configured with all required data before it was executed. This means that an action provided by a weather app requires three different links to provide the weather for three different locations.

    In addition, third-party actions could not provide data for later use in the join. With iOS 13, these actions can now provide input for later steps so that apps can finally collaborate in a safe and supported way.

    Third-party actions can now receive (link) and deploy (right) data from and to other actions through a shortcut.

    # 5: Ask when running with Siri

    Parameters in actions can now be set to "Ask every time" If Siri is linking to this option, Siri will ask for more information before the join continues. That way, you can create a single weather link that asks you for the location you want instead of having to create separate links for each location you might be interested in.

    This also works for shortcuts that you need to select from a list of options. For example, you can create a shortcut for a task app that lets you choose which list you want to add the item to.

    All these actions are performed in the voice of Siri, so they can even be played on devices like the HomePod or when you can not interact with the screen of your iPhone.

    With additional inputs and outputs for the app's actions, Shortcuts has created a secure way for various apps to transfer data back and forth , Combined with the new scripting blocks, new built-in action actions, and the ability to provide specific information when the shortcut runs, you can use shortcuts to create anything from simple everyday tools to complex multi-tools stitches. Shortcuts to perform tasks at the touch of a button.

    # 6: New Personal Automation Options

    When you first started shortcuts, it immediately became apparent that shortcuts had to be performed automatically. In iOS 13, shortcuts can now be executed automatically based on various triggers. Some automations can be set to run on an Apple TV or HomePod even when you are not around.

    In particular, personal automations (automations that run on the device on which they are set up) can be triggered by any of the computers. The following events:

    • Time
    • When an alarm is triggered
    • When you turn on arriving or leaving a location
    • When settings such as airplane mode or Do Not Disturb are changed
    • When connecting to a specific location Wi-Fi network
    • When a Bluetooth device is connected
    • When an app is connected
    • When an NFC Tag is Scanned
    • When a Training is Started on an Apple Watch

    Under any of these conditions, an automation is raised. Each automation can either perform a new set of actions or simply invoke other already created links.

    Automations let you set up your iPhone to turn on the lights and play music in the living room Turn on Do No Disturb when you get home in the evening. You can also create an automation that displays your calendar and the weather forecast of the day when the morning alarm is triggered. With a little creativity and the new actions in shortcuts, the possibilities for automation are huge.

    # 7: New home automation options

    Home automation is similar to personal automation, but has some limitations. Because these automations run on HomeKit hubs (Apple TVs, iPads, or HomePods), they must be fully self-contained without interaction. This limits the number of available link actions, and only one subset is available when setting up home automation.

    When setting up home automation, it initially looks as if an automation is being set up in the home app. However, when selecting the devices to control, there is a new Convert to Link option that gives you a few more options. Here you can use the shortcuts script actions along with a subset of the location, document, and web actions.

    One advantage of Home Automations is that it can accommodate multiple people in your home. In this way, different things can happen, depending on who comes home or leaves or who is home or not. With current home automation restrictions in place, many of them will focus on smart home devices. Hopefully, Apple will add more features to expand home automation to other domains outside smart homes in the future.

    Automations lets you do things with shortcuts without having to ask first. It's still in the early stages of automation on iOS, but with the iOS 13 updates, there are many options.

    # 8: Minor Changes to the Gallery

    The gallery has not changed much since iOS 12. It's still a great place to browse links that others have created, and they're yours Add collection. The only change that brings iOS 13 is the new "Shortcuts from your apps" section. This was formerly buried in the Settings app in iOS 12 and is now much easier to find in the gallery.

    "Shortcuts from your apps" will create a list of suggested shortcuts based on your activity. This includes built-in apps such as News, Email, Reminders, and Safari, as well as any third-party apps that donate their own links.

    The introduction of Shortcuts as the default app in iOS 12 seemed to signal an attempt to make automation easier and more accessible. The changes in iOS 13 are making a major contribution to continuing this trend. Redesigning actions to use sets of parameters makes the actions of each action clearer, and organizing the actions by app greatly simplifies the search for the item you want.

    Automations have a good start and can help you reach the goal just a little bit easier. With third-party support, shortcuts can become a powerful tool that lets you link all the apps on your iPhone together and do some things as easily as Siri asks.

    Cover Picture, Screenshots, and GIFs by Mike Goril / Gadget Hacks

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