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My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2018 Edition

Putting together my annual list of Must-Have iOS Apps is an exercise in analyzing the trends of the year and considering which ones had the biggest impact on how I use my iPhone and iPad. Two years ago, it was web services and open APIs; last year, I focused on collaboration with the MacStories team and making my workflow consistent across devices; this year, there isn’t a single overarching theme behind this list, but rather a collection of trends and changes that I’ve observed over the course of 2018.

First and foremost is the switch to a subscription-based business model by some of my favorite apps. As we noted in our look at the modern economics of the App Store earlier this year, it is becoming increasingly challenging for indie developers – the ones who make the apps we tend to use and cover most frequently on MacStories – to find a balance between reaching new customers with paid app updates and supporting an app over the span of multiple years for existing users who already paid once.

A subscription seems like an obvious solution: new customers can try an app for free and later decide to subscribe; longtime users of an app get to support their favorite app over a longer period of time; developers are more incentivized to keep making an app better thanks to the financial security provided by an ongoing revenue stream. Recurring subscriptions for all apps launched two years ago just before WWDC, and it feels like we’ve only now reached a point where more and more developers are willing to experiment with them. This major shift in app pricing wasn’t always met favorably by longtime users of existing apps, which has resulted in developers testing different approaches such as optional subscriptions, bundles containing subscriptions and In-App Purchases, or even multiple ways to unlock the same features. In looking at the apps included in this list, I was surprised by how many now include some form of recurring subscription; I think this transition will only become more prominent in 2019.

The second trend I noticed in my usage of third-party apps is a strong preference for those that fully embrace modern iOS technologies. From Siri shortcuts (by far, the most important iOS developer framework of 2018) to Files integration and support for external keyboards on iPad, I tend to prioritize apps that eschew proprietary functionalities and adopt native APIs such as iCloud, the Files document browser, or Reminders. With iOS growing more powerful and complex each year, I think it’s only natural that I’ve stuck with apps that shy away from Apple-provided solutions as little as possible; those frameworks are always going to be more integrated with the rest of the system than any alternative a developer can come up with, and I seek that level of integration because I enjoy the comfort of an ecosystem where all the pieces work well together.

Lastly, I’ve noticed some overall changes in the kinds of apps I consider my must-haves for iPhone and iPad. In the “pro” app department, the Photography and Development lists have grown to include apps such as Lightroom, Scriptable, Darkroom, and Halide – all new entries this year. One of my goals with the new iPad Pro is to use it as a workstation for editing photos and programming my own little additions to iOS; I felt like my increased usage of these apps warranted some changes in the annual picks. You will also find more apps designed to interact with macOS as a result of my purchase of a Mac mini (which I’m using as a home server for various tasks) and different utility apps as some of the old ones have been replaced by Shortcuts. An app that, by the way, I can no longer include in this roundup due to my self-imposed rule of not featuring Apple apps because they’re kind of obvious choices for an iOS user (this also applies to Shazam, officially acquired by Apple this year).

Below, you’ll find a collection of the 60 apps I consider my must-haves on the iPhone and iPad, organized in nine categories; whenever possible, I included links to original reviews and past coverage on MacStories. What you will not find is the usual list of awards for best new app and best app update, which we’ve relaunched as a team effort under the MacStories Selects name this year. Instead, at the end of the story you’ll find my App of the Year, which is also joining MacStories Selects as an award that recognizes an overall outstanding iOS app that had a profound impact on my workflow over the past year, regardless of its release date.

Let’s dig in.

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Shortcuts Archive

Welcome to the MacStories Shortcuts Archive, the official repository for shortcuts created by Federico Viticci and the MacStories team.

Since the original release of Workflow in 2014, we’ve created hundreds of automations to help readers use their iOS devices more efficiently. The goal of this archive is to offer a complete catalogue of our old workflows as well as new custom shortcuts for Apple’s Shortcuts app.

Each shortcut in this archive has been created, updated, and tested by Federico and the MacStories team. Shortcuts are organized in categories, and you can jump directly to a specific category by using one of the section links below.

For more details on downloading and using shortcuts, see this section below.

Want even more exclusive shortcuts? Check out Club MacStories.

Archive Details

Total number of shortcuts in archive: 209

Last update: Dec 3, 2019


Jump to section:


Apple TV

Wake Apple TV

Wake an Apple TV on the local network and show the remote control for it on an iOS device. Best used as a widget for fast activation.

Get the shortcut here.

Apple TV+ Launcher

Launch different sections of the Apple TV+ service in Apple’s TV app. The shortcut supports the Apple TV+ front page and individual shows, and can be customized to launch more shows or movies.

Get the shortcut here.

Wake TV and Set Lights

Wake up an Apple TV on the local network and, if it’s past sunset, dim the lights in the room.
Check if the current time is after predicted sunset time for today.
Add a HomeKit scene that will dim the lights.

Get the shortcut here.


App Store

Scan iTunes Gift Card

Scan an iTunes gift card, extract its text, and open the App Store to redeem the associated promo code. You can import an image of a gift card from the clipboard or take a new picture. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store: Today

Open the Today page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store: Arcade

Open the Apple Arcade page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store: Apps

Open the Apps page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store: Games

Open the Games page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store: Subscriptions

Open the Subscriptions page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

Save App Store Screenshots

Search the App Store for an app and save screenshots from the product page to the Photos app.

Get the shortcut here.

Save App to Trello

Save an app from the App Store as a card in Trello. The app’s icon, title, and other metadata are used to compose a rich card in Trello.

Get the shortcut here.

Open the Search page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store Story as Safari Reader Article

Read an App Store story (from the ‘Today’ tab) as a text-only webpage, cleaned up by Safari Reader. To run the shortcut, copy a link to an editorial story from the App Store first.

Get the shortcut here.

App Release Notes

Copy the release notes for the latest version of an app shared from the App Store. By default, the shortcut searches the U.S. App Store, but you can change the country to your locale.

Get the shortcut here.

Redeem iTunes Code

Redeem an iTunes code contained in the system clipboard. The shortcut will prompt you to pick a code you previously copied before launching the App Store’s redemption page, where the code will be already filled in.

Get the shortcut here.

App Store: Updates

Open the Updates page of the App Store.

Get the shortcut here.

Save App Store Icon

Search the App Store for an app and save its icon to the Photos app.

Get the shortcut here.


Calendar

Calendar Locations

Get a list of upcoming calendar events that contain locations.

Get the shortcut here.

Travel Time to Next Calendar Event

Calculate travel time to get to the next calendar event that has an address attached to it. The shortcut can be configured for different transportation methods and can be invoked from Siri or the widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Days Until…

Calculate how many days are left until a date you can type in natural language. The shortcut was designed in English, but can be adapted to other languages as well.

Get the shortcut here.

Upcoming Events

View your next five calendar events in a list. The selected event will be opened in the system Calendar app. This shortcut can be used from the widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Create Calendar Event from Template

Create a new calendar event choosing from a list of templates. Templates are represented by a Dictionary action at the beginning of the shortcut and they support customization for calendar name, location, duration, notes, alert time, and the all-day setting. The shortcut will only ask to confirm the event’s title and start date. This shortcut was originally created for members of Club MacStories.

Get the shortcut here.

Fantastical Schedule (Multi-Platform)

View Fantastical’s schedule for today using native app shortcuts for the iPhone and iPad versions of the app. The shortcut doesn’t require any user interaction to choose platforms.

Get the shortcut here.

Time Until Important Event Location

Calculate how much time you have until an important event comes up. If you specify a location to filter important events, driving time to the selected address is also calculated by the shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.


Contacts

WhatsApp Launcher

Open a WhatsApp conversation for a selected contact. The shortcut needs to be configured for contacts that have a Country in their contact card’s Address field; the country and its phone prefix (country code) have to be added in a list at the beginning of the shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Multilingual iMessage Dictation

Dictate an iMessage to a friend from a widget. The dictation language is set automatically based on the recipient’s address stored in their contact card. iMessages are sent in the background, but you’ll be asked to confirm the message before sending it.

Get the shortcut here.

Quick Contact

Create a new contact from the Shortcuts app or Siri. The new contact is created using the Name, Email Address, Company, and Notes field.

This shortcut requires the app Quickness to be installed.

Get the shortcut here.

Share Song with Contact

Add the currently playing song to an Apple Music playlist and tell one of your favorite contacts about the addition by sending them an iMessage.

Get the shortcut here.

Invert Names

Given a list of last and first names separated by a comma, the shortcut inverts their position and returns a plain text list of first names followed by last names.

Get the shortcut here.

Message Last Photo

Quickly send the last photo you’ve taken on your device to a contact over iMessage. The shortcut supports both photos and screenshots, but you can add filters to remove one of the two media types.

Get the shortcut here.


Email

Mail Merge

A mail merge shortcut that supports multiple variables for email addresses and a second piece of information for each recipient. Each email address is automatically paired with the corresponding variable in the second group. Supports customizable message and subject templates.

Get the shortcut here.


Evernote

Twitter to Evernote

Convert a tweet URL into an embeddable rich text version that contains the original text and links of the tweet. The rich text is then appended to an existing note in Evernote. The shortcut cleans up shortened Twitter links, maintains author names, and lets you customize the list of Evernote notes to append tweets to.

Get the shortcut here.

Append a link to an existing note in Evernote. The link is either passed to the Shortcuts extension or read from the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

Evernote Scratchpad

Quickly append text or an audio recording to a note called Scratchpad in your Evernote account. Audio will be recorded using Shortcuts’ native microphone access and recording UI; the audio file supports inline playback within Evernote.

Get the shortcut here.

Save Quote to Evernote

Save selections from Safari webpages as highlights in Evernote. Ideal for articles that will have multiple highlights, which will be appended to the same note. The shortcut integrates with the ShareQuote shortcut to make it easy to share highlights with iOS extensions later.

Get the shortcut here.

Save to Evernote and Share

Save any file shared with the Shortcuts extension to Evernote as a new note. At the end of the shortcut, an Evernote link to the note is copied to the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

Search your Evernote account for a specific note and copy its link to the system clipboard. Your can choose whether you want to copy the shareable URL or the local Evernote URL scheme for that note.

Get the shortcut here.

Evernote Article

Turn any web article into a clutter-free Evernote note that maintains formatting but removes extra visual elements from the original webpage. The shortcut has to be run in the extension from Safari or Safari View Controller.

Get the shortcut here.

EverSafari

A comprehensive menu to save webpages from Safari as notes in Evernote. The shortcut supports saving links as rich text, .webarchive files, PDFs, plain text, or attachments. The shortcut can either create new notes or append to an existing note. See comments below for instructions on how to store a list of your favorite Evernote notebooks, tags, and notes.

Get the shortcut here.

Save Safari Webarchive Evernote

Generate a .webarchive version of the current Safari webpage and save it in the Evernote app. The shortcut needs to open Evernote for iOS and is also supported in Safari View Controller. The title of the original webpage is copied to the clipboard for easy pasting in Evernote’s title field.

Get the shortcut here.


Files

Extract All Files from Archive

Extract all files from a compressed archive passed as input and save them into the same folder in iCloud Drive/Shortcuts. The name of the archive is used to create a new destination folder in Shortcuts’ iCloud Drive container.

Get the shortcut here.

iCloud Drive Clipboard

Copy items items previously clipped to the Clipboard.txt file in iCloud Drive back to the system clipboard. The shortcut can be executed from the widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Pick a file from iCloud Drive (or other document providers) and create a shareable iCloud Mail Drop URL to let other people download the file.

Get the shortcut here.

Rename and Save File

Rename the file passed as input to the shortcut and save it somewhere else with app extensions. Designed to compensate for the lack of file renaming in the ‘Save to Files’ extensions in iOS 12.

Get the shortcut here.

Document OCR

Perform OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on a document. You can import a document from Files or a scanned image from Photos. Recognized text is copied to the clipboard and can be shared with app extensions. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Clip to iCloud Clipboard

Clip any kind of text contained in the system clipboard to a Clipboard.txt file stored in iCloud Drive. This shortcut is designed to allow you to keep a record of previously copied bits of text and easily sync them across devices. The shortcut can be executed from the widget, and it also supports rich text and URLs.

Get the shortcut here.

FS Bookmarks

Create bookmarks for files and folders stored in iCloud Drive (and third-party file providers) that you can reuse as direct launchers. FS Bookmarks requires Scriptable, and it generates launchers that reopen files and folders directly in the Files app.

Get the shortcut here.

Compress Dropbox Files

Pick multiple files from Dropbox and share them as a single .zip archive.

Get the shortcut here.

File Downloader

Download a file from a URL stored in the system clipboard. The downloaded file can be saved in iCloud Drive or other storage providers with a native Files interface.

Get the shortcut here.

Preview Folder Contents

Preview the contents of a folder stored inside iCloud Drive/Shortcuts. The shortcut lets you filter items by name; if no name is entered, all files contained in the folder are returned. You can choose to preview a selected file with Quick Look or share it with extensions.

Get the shortcut here.

Zip and Share

Compress the input items into a .zip archive and share the archive file with app extensions. You can enter the name of the archive manually.

Get the shortcut here.

Scan Document

Scan a document using iOS’ native document scanner. The shortcut lets you choose whether you want to share the scanned file as an image or run OCR on it to extract text. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Pick File

Pick a file from iCloud Drive and share it with other apps through extensions.

Get the shortcut here.

Share Dropbox Photo

Select an image from the photo library and upload it to Dropbox. The shortcut returns a public Dropbox link to the image that can be shared with other people.

Get the shortcut here.

Extract Individual Files from Zip Archive

Given a compressed archive passed as input via the share sheet, this shortcut can extract the archive and save individual files contained inside it to iOS document providers.

Get the shortcut here.

Shortcuts Backup

Create a .zip archive containing a backup of all your shortcuts. The backup file is saved under the /Backups/ folder of Shortcuts’ iCloud Drive directory.

Get the shortcut here.


Health

Export Blood Pressure

Generate a report of your last blood pressure measurements, sorted by date, and export them as a text file. The HealthKit action can be customized to return larger or smaller subsets of measurements.

Get the shortcut here.

Log Waist

Log your current waist circumference in HealthKit by entering a numeric value. The shortcut can also be used from the widget. By default, the shortcut converts centimeters to millimeters.

Get the shortcut here.

Log Menstruation

Check if you recently logged menstruation or if you might be due to log it again and prompt to log bleeding if that is the case.

Get the shortcut here.

Log Weight

Log your current weight in HealthKit by entering a numeric value. The shortcut can also be used from the widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Asleep Time

Read the HealthKit database to find out how much you slept last night.

You can modify the shortcut to customize Siri’s response based on how much time you slept.

Get the shortcut here.

Median Heart Rate

Calculate your median heart rate for the past two weeks.

Get the shortcut here.

Last Coffee

Check how long ago you had your last coffee based on when caffeine was last logged in HealthKit. You can use this shortcut in the widget and Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Water Today

Check how much water you’ve drunk today based on water entries logged in HealthKit. You can use this shortcut in the widget and Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Glass of Water

Log a small glass of water in HealthKit. By default, the shortcut logs 150 milliliters of water to the Health app.

Get the shortcut here.

Log Espresso

Log a cup of espresso as caffeine intake in HealthKit. By default, the shortcut logs 50 milligrams of caffeine to the Health app. The shortcut can also be used from the widget and Siri.

Get the shortcut here.


Home

Shuffle Playlist on HomePod

Shuffle a playlist on a specific HomePod, with a specific volume level, and dim the lights. The shortcut needs to be configured based on speakers and HomeKit devices in your home.

Get the shortcut here.

Electricity Price

Uses the ComEd Current Hour Average electricity price API for Northern Illinois to return the average price of electricity for the current hour in USD.

Get the shortcut here.


JavaScript

Video Speed Up

Speed up a native video player in Safari choosing from a list of speed presets.

Get the shortcut here.

Full Screen Video

Enable full-screen mode for a native video player in Safari.

Get the shortcut here.


Mac

Sleep Mac

Put the display connected to a Mac on the same local network as your iOS device to sleep.

Get the shortcut here.

HomePod Speaker Volume

Change the volume of multiple HomePods (or AirPlay speakers) connected to iTunes at once. The list of preset volume levels is customizable. The shortcut can also be run from the iOS widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Check youtube-dl Formats

Use youtube-dl to check the available download formats for a YouTube link copied to the clipboard on iOS. The shortcut assumes youtube-dl has been installed on a local Mac under the /usr/local/bin folder.

Get the shortcut here.

iTunes Current Song

Get the album artwork of the song currently playing on iTunes on the Mac.

Get the shortcut here.

Set Active Speakers and Volume

Change the volume of individual HomePods (or AirPlay speakers) connected to iTunes and choose which ones should be currently active. The shortcut lets you select one or multiple speakers as well as enter an exact volume level.

Get the shortcut here.

Wake Mac + Login

Wake the display connected to a Mac on the same local network as your iOS device and paste your password in the login screen by simulating keystrokes.

Get the shortcut here.

Play iTunes Playlist

Choose a playlist to start playing with iTunes on a Mac. The shortcut requires you to enter the exact name of playlists you want to play once, upon configuring the shortcut for the first time.

Get the shortcut here.

Wake Mac

Wake the display connected to a Mac on the same local network as your iOS device.

Get the shortcut here.

Set Mac Clipboard

Set your Mac’s clipboard to the contents of the current iOS clipboard. The shortcut cleans up the iOS clipboard by escaping line breaks and quotes.

Get the shortcut here.

Toggle iTunes

Toggle the player state of the iTunes app on a Mac on the same local network as your iOS device.

Get the shortcut here.


Markdown

Spreadsheet to Markdown Table

Convert a spreadsheet to a MultiMarkdown table. For the best experience, select a table in Numbers, copy cells, then run the shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Safari Markdown Selection

Convert a rich text selection from a Safari webpage to Markdown and copy the plain text to the clipboard. The shortcut needs to run as an extension in Safari.

Get the shortcut here.

Markdown Table of Contents

Extract section headings from Markdown text shared with the extension and generate a Table of Contents for headings between H2 and H6. The final list supports indentation and is copied to the clipboard as Markdown.

Get the shortcut here.

Strip Out Markdown

Take Markdown from the system clipboard and put a cleaned-up version without markers back into the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

Preview Markdown

Preview Markdown text passed to the Shortcuts extension as converted HTML. The shortcut works from any app that can pass Markdown-formatted plain text to the share sheet, and it’ll open a rich preview inline using a native web view.

Get the shortcut here.


Media

Handoff to HomePod

Hand off audio playback (for Music and Podcasts) from your current device to a HomePod of your choice. You can customize the list and names of HomePods (based on your setup) in a menu.

Get the shortcut here.

Plex Inspect Section IDs

Find the IDs for media sections of your Plex library running on a local server. These IDs can then be used with another shortcut to refresh (scan) individual Plex media sections such as Movies or TV shows. The shortcut requires your Plex token and returns raw XML data. The shortcut was originally created for Club MacStories members.

Get the shortcut here.

Handoff from HomePod

Hand off audio playback (for Music and Podcasts) from a HomePod of your choice to the current device. You can customize the list and names of HomePods (based on your setup) in a menu.

Get the shortcut here.

Pause HomePods

Pause all HomePods (or AirPlay 2 speakers) around the house in one go. The shortcut supports adding as many ‘Pause’ actions as necessary for each speaker you want to pause.

Get the shortcut here.

Search YouTube

Type a search query and open search results in the YouTube app. The shortcut supports both keyboard input and conversational mode in Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Round Avatar

Create a round avatar based on someone’s Twitter profile picture. To run this shortcut, save a profile image from Twitter first.

Get the shortcut here.

Encode to Audio and Share

Encode the file passed to the shortcut as audio and apply custom metadata to it such as artwork, artist name, and album. The audio file is then shared with extensions.

Get the shortcut here.

Play HomePod

Set the playback destination to a specific HomePod on your local network and start playing audio.

Get the shortcut here.

Plex Scan Section

Refresh (scan) individual Plex media sections such as Movies or TV shows from Shortcuts or Siri. The shortcut requires your Plex token to communicate with a Plex server running on the same local network as the iOS device. The shortcut was originally created for Club MacStories members.

Get the shortcut here.


Music

Apple Music Wrapped

Create a detailed report for the music you’ve listened to in the past year. The shortcut can optionally create a Top 25 playlist for your most played songs and generate a PDF report. The shortcut is primarily designed for Apple Music subscribers.
To calculate number of plays, the shortcut looks at songs that have been played in full without skipping and added to your library in any given year.

Get the shortcut here.

Find Lyrics

Get the title of the currently playing song and search for its lyrics on Google.

Get the shortcut here.

Playlists

Start a playlist in Apple Music with shuffle enabled. The shortcut needs to be configured with the names of your playlists from the Music app. The shortcut supports adding friendly names for playlists if you don’t want to display their actual names.

Get the shortcut here.

Notes

Find Notes (with Menu)

Open frequently used notes choosing from a list of titles or manually search for a specific note in the Notes app.

Get the shortcut here.

Dictate Note (with Menu)

Use iOS’ native speech-to-text to dictate a note in a language of your choosing from the Shortcuts widget. The list of supported languages can be customized in the shortcut. Starting with Shortcuts 2.2, it is possible to save dictated text to Notes in the background – directly from the widget – without showing the Notes composer. The Notes action can be replaced with other note-taking apps such as Evernote or Drafts.

Get the shortcut here.

View Recent Notes

Bring up a list of recently modified notes and quickly reopen one of them.

Get the shortcut here.

Append to Note

Quickly append text to a note called Scratchpad in your Notes app. Audio will be recorded using Shortcuts’ native microphone access and dictation feature.

Get the shortcut here.

Dictate to Note

Quickly append text to a Scratchpad note in Apple’s Notes app using dictation.

Get the shortcut here.

Attach to Bear Note

Append a file or image to the bottom of a note in Bear. The shortcut will either present the native Files or Photos picker before launching the Bear app.

Get the shortcut here.

Photos

Combine Images

Combine multiple images into a single image. The shortcut supports images passed as input via the extension as well as picking images manually from the photo library.

Get the shortcut here.

On This Day

Search your photo library for old photos taken on this day in previous years. The shortcut can look for photos from multiple years, with multiple photos per day. If more than one photo is found, photos are resized to square and combined in a grid.

Get the shortcut here.

Home Screen Icon Creator

Create a custom icon on your iOS home screen for any app URL scheme, shortcut, contact, or solid color. This shortcut uses the same technique of Apple’s Shortcuts app to save an icon to the home screen, but extends it with the ability to fully customize the launcher, including icons and launch images. (Due to a limitation in iOS 13, you’ll have to force-quit instances of Home Screen Icon Creator-based launchers in the app switcher for the launchers to work again>)

Get the shortcut here.

iPhone 11 Lens Inspector

Visualize the lens used to capture a photo. The shortcut can run inside the Photos app and supports the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro’s wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses.

Get the shortcut here.

Share Clipboard Image

Share an image from the system clipboard with app extensions. The shortcut supports both images and photo media contained in the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

Apple Frames (iOS-only)

Add device frames to screenshots for iPhones (6, 7, 8, X, XS, and 11 generations in standard/Plus/Max sizes), iPad Pro (11” and 12.9”, 2018 models), and Apple Watch S4/5 (40 and 44mm). The shortcut supports portrait and landscape orientations, but does not support Display Zoom. If multiple screenshots are passed as input, they will be combined in a single image.

Get the shortcut here.

OCR with Prizmo Go

Perform OCR on an image (either captured from the camera or selected from Photos) using Prizmo Go. The shortcut can ask Prizmo Go to perform standard OCR or Cloud OCR. You can choose to copy extracted text to the clipboard or send it as a text file to DEVONthink.

Get the shortcut here.

Live Photo to GIF

Convert a Live Photo to an animated GIF and preview it in Quick Look. The GIF can be saved to the Photos app directly from the preview.

Get the shortcut here.

Get Images from Webpage

Count the number of images contained in the current Safari webpage. This shortcut can run in Safari and Safari View Controller from the share sheet.

Get the shortcut here.

Apple Frames

Add device frames to screenshots for iPhones (6, 7, 8, X, XS, and 11 generations in standard/Plus/Max sizes), iPad Pro (11” and 12.9”, 2018 models), Apple Watch S4/5 (40 and 44mm), MacBook Pro (Retina 13-inch), and iMac (5K). The shortcut supports portrait and landscape orientations, but does not support Display Zoom. If multiple screenshots are passed as input, they will be combined in a single image.

Get the shortcut here.

iPhone 11 Lens Browser

Filter your photo library by the lens used to capture a photo. The shortcut is optimized for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, and it supports the wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. By default, the shortcut looks at the last 300 photos from your library.

Get the shortcut here.

Markup Screenshots

Markup multiple screenshots in a row using iOS’ native screenshot annotation tools. You can choose to save or share the edited version. Optionally, the originals can be deleted.

Get the shortcut here.

Preview Photo Metadata

Preview photos shared from Photos’ share sheet in a custom preview page. The preview contains the photo, its timestamp, plus metadata including an interactive map. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

iPhone 11 Lens Browser (Extended)

Filter your photo library by the lens used to capture a photo. The shortcut is optimized for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, and it supports the wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. By default, the shortcut looks at the last 50 photos from your library and opens a custom preview showing metadata for each photo. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.


Podcasts

Overcast Play Menu

Start playback of a specific show or playlist in Overcast 5 using dictation. Best experienced as a widget. The shortcut requires configuration of Siri shortcuts in the Overcast app.

Get the shortcut here.

Podcast Episodes

Start playing an episode from a podcast in the user’s Podcasts library. The shortcut allows you to customize the playback destination.

Get the shortcut here.

Overcast Clip to Files

Save a video clip shared from Overcast in the Files app. The shortcut will extract the video file from the Overcast clip (shared via the share sheet) and rename it with the title of episode being shared.

Get the shortcut here.

Play Random Podcast Episode

Play a random episode for a random podcast in your Podcasts app library.

Get the shortcut here.

Subscribe to Podcast

Search and subscribe to a new show in Apple’s Podcasts app. The new show will be added to your library.

Get the shortcut here.

Overcast Controls

Navigate chapters or copy links for the Overcast episode you’re currently listening to. Best used as a widget.

Get the shortcut here.


Task Management

Things Natural Language Parser

An advanced shortcut that lets you create multiple tasks at once in Things using natural language parsing. The shortcut has its own special syntax to add tasks with natural language, and takes advantage of Things’ JSON Import for multiple tasks.

Get the shortcut here.

Scan GoodTask Subtasks

Scan the Reminders database for tasks that contain subtasks based on the GoodTask syntax.

Get the shortcut here.

ReScheduler

Reschedule any reminder to a later date. You can pick multiple reminders at once and change their due date by choosing from some presets or typing a date manually. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Append Notes to Things Task

Append notes to an existing task in the Things app. The shortcut can append links or text passed to the share sheet, but it also lets you type or paste your own notes manually. To use the shortcut, you’ll have to add your Things URL token and paste the unique IDs of existing Things tasks.

Get the shortcut here.

Create Webpage Reminder

Create a reminder for the webpage currently open in Safari or Safari View Controller using the webpage’s original title and URL. You can type a due date in natural language. The shortcut needs to be executed from the action extension.

Get the shortcut here.

Today ReScheduler

Reschedule reminders due today (or overdue) to a later date. You can pick multiple reminders at once and change their due date by choosing from some presets or typing a date manually. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Save a link from the clipboard or shared via the extension to 2Do as a new task. You can pick from multiple lists and optionally define a tag to be automatically applied to the new task. The original link is embedded in the task as a ‘Visit URL’ action.

Get the shortcut here.

Webpage to Things

Turn a Safari webpage into a rich task in Things. The shortcut can add a task with a specific tag, into a specific project, under a specific heading in Things using the webpage’s original title and URL as the task’s metadata. Additionally, you can type a due date in natural language before creating the task in Things.

Get the shortcut here.

New Reminder+ (Extended)

A custom menu to create new tasks in the Reminders app. You can keep running the shortcut to add multiple reminders in a row. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Remove Completed Reminders

Purge completed reminders from the Reminders app (and iCloud) with one tap. The shortcut displays a confirmation prompt before deleting reminders.

Get the shortcut here.

Things Checklist Template

Create a task with a checklist in Things based on a fixed template that is stored in the Shortcuts app.

Get the shortcut here.

Log Completed Reminders

Save the number of reminders completed on the current day as a new row of a Numbers spreadsheet. The completed count will be saved alongside the current date, allowing you to chart your progress over time in Numbers.

Get the shortcut here.

Add Reminder with GoodTask Subtasks

Create a new task in the Reminders database with subtasks based on the GoodTask syntax. Subtasks have to be entered on multiple lines and they’ll be added to the reminder’s note field. Subtasks can be previewed natively in the GoodTask app.

Get the shortcut here.

New Reminder+

A custom menu to create new tasks in the Reminders app. You can keep running the shortcut to add multiple reminders in a row.

Get the shortcut here.

Search Reminders For…

Search your Reminders’ note fields for a specific text query. By default, the search query is chosen from a list of pre-assembled options.

Get the shortcut here.

Searches the Reminders app for tasks that contain URLs in their note field. Optionally, you can add more filters (for dates, Reminders lists, etc.) to narrow down the list of results. The shortcut lets you open multiple URLs from multiple reminders at once in Safari.

Get the shortcut here.


Text

Clean Up Rich Text

Remove unnecessary styles from rich text stored in the system clipboard. This shortcut will maintain formatting for bold, italics, and links, but it’ll remove other elements such as custom fonts, font sizes, colors, and more. The cleaned up rich text will be put back in the clipboard at the end.

Get the shortcut here.

Word & Character Count

Display a count of words and characters contained in the system clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

ShareQuote

Share the text shared as input via iOS extensions. The shortcut is best used as a function of other shortcuts or as a simple launcher with apps such as Drafts or Launch Center Pro.

Get the shortcut here.

Copy Blank Characters

Generate a string of invisible characters based on the Braille Pattern Blank Unicode character (U+2800). This is a workaround to create shortcuts with invisible names on the iOS home screen. The shortcut lets you choose how many times you’d like to repeat the blank character to avoid issues with multiple shortcuts having the same name.

Get the shortcut here.

PDF Extract

Extract text from a PDF document picked from Files using iOS’ native text extraction APIs. The resulting text is copied to the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

Append to Clipboard

Get text from the share sheet and append it to the system clipboard as a new line.

Get the shortcut here.

Create a rich text hyperlink based on a URL from the system clipboard. This shortcut is ideal for creating underlined links for apps that do not support rich link creation such as Notes or Apple Mail.

Get the shortcut here.

Create a rich text link to open one of your shortcuts in the Shortcuts app. The rich link can be pasted in apps like Notes, Mail, and other apps that support tappable links.

Get the shortcut here.


Time Tracking

Timer Running

This shortcut returns details for any currently running timer in your Toggl account.

Get the shortcut here.

Start Toggl Timer

Start a new timer in your Toggl account. The timer can be assigned a specific description, task, and tag using variables.

Get the shortcut here.

Prepare Toggl Template

This shortcut extracts a project ID and task ID from a project in your Toggl account. These IDs are needed to configure shortcuts that start timers. To access your Toggl account over the API, enter your email:password combination below. The shortcut communicates directly with the Toggl API.

Get the shortcut here.

Check Timery

Check your currently-running timer and total time logged for the day. Timery for Toggl is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Start Timer for Event

Start a Toggl timer (with the Timery app) based on an event name found in a specific calendar (or multiple calendars). You have to specify the event name in a list and replace the Siri shortcuts for Timery if you don’t have the app installed.

Get the shortcut here.

Stop Timers

This shortcut stops any currently running timer in your Toggl account.

Get the shortcut here.


Twitter

Open in Twitter Apps

Open a Twitter link in Tweetbot, Twitterrific, or the official Twitter app. Both profile links and individual tweets are supported. The shortcut can be run inside the widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Tweet Song

Share the song you’re listening to on Twitter. The shortcut shares the song’s name, artist, and artwork.

Get the shortcut here.

Search Twitter User’s Mentions

View all the mentions, @replies, and quoted tweets sent to a specific Twitter user in a single screen. The shortcut is based on Twitter’s advanced search syntax and opens the native Twitter app for iOS.

Get the shortcut here.


Weather

Today Weather Forecast

Display a weather forecast for your current location and the current day.

Get the shortcut here.

Weather Now

Get the current weather for a specific location provided as a street address. The shortcut can be used in the app, widget, or Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Netatmo Weather Today

Return information from a Netatmo Home Weather Station, which includes indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, and data from air quality sensors.

Get the shortcut here.

Weather Report

Display a list of forecasts for the next few days, provided by the iOS Weather app. You can pass your street address to quickly return forecasts.

Get the shortcut here.

Dark Sky Check

Use the Dark Sky API to display a short summary of current weather conditions and the forecast for today. The shortcut requires a free Dark Sky API key, which has to be saved in iCloud Drive. It also requires pasting your coordinates in the first Text action. Once configured, the shortcut can be used with the widget or Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Hourly Forecasts

Display a list of hourly forecasts for the current location.

Get the shortcut here.


Web

Add Clipboard Row to Google Sheet

Send a link from the iOS clipboard to IFTTT, which will add it as a new row in a Google spreadsheet. Requires setup of an IFTTT applet to turn a webhook request into a Google Sheets row.

Get the shortcut here.

Get Article Hero Image

Use Shortcuts’ native support for parsing web articles to identify the featured (hero) image of an article and save it to the Photos app. The shortcut needs to run as an extension in Safari or Safari View Controller.

Get the shortcut here.

Custom RSS Reader

Preview headlines and excerpts from your favorite blogs in a custom preview powered by RSS feeds. Toolbox Pro is required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Tech News

Get the latest Apple news from one of your favorite tech blogs. Headlines can be previewed in Siri or the widget, and you can read articles using Safari View Controller.

Get the shortcut here.

Convert Historical Currencies

Convert between currencies using the Fixer.io web service. The shortcut requires a private API key to operate. The shortcut supports historical exchange rates and lets you convert between currencies using the current date or any past date. You can type dates with natural language. The converted amount is copied to the clipboard at the end.

Get the shortcut here.

Parse JSON Feed

Parse any JSON feed and display a list of recent posts to choose from. You can pick any post from the list to instantly open it in Safari.

Get the shortcut here.

Given a selection in Safari, the shortcut finds all image links contained in the selected portion of the page and offers to open them as new tabs. Selected image links are also copied to the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

PiP Video

Enable Picture in Picture mode for a native video player in Safari. Only works on iPad.

Get the shortcut here.

Safari Reader Article to Mail

Share an article from Safari via Mail with a clean presentation powered by Safari Reader. You can also run the shortcut from a widget or the Shortcuts app by copying an article’s URL first.

Get the shortcut here.

Share Long URL

Expand a short URL into the long, unfurled version. Optionally, you can share a textshot associated with the URL by picking a photo from the library.

Get the shortcut here.

Inspect RSS Feed

Find the RSS feed for a Safari webpage and inspect its raw XML contents inside the Shortcuts extension.

Get the shortcut here.

RSS: Subscribe in Fiery

Find the RSS feed for a Safari webpage and subscribe to it. This shortcut requires the app Fiery Feeds to be installed.

Get the shortcut here.

Trigger IFTTT Webhook

Trigger a webhook-based IFTTT applet from Shortcuts. Requires an IFTTT Maker developer key. The shortcut can be executed from Siri or the widget as well.

Get the shortcut here.

Create separate PDFs for each hyperlink contained in a Safari selection. Ideal for list of links that have to be converted to multiple PDFs (such as the Club MacStories newsletter archive). The resulting PDFs are saved into iCloud Drive.

Get the shortcut here.

Publish to WordPress

Publish a Markdown post to WordPress via the Shortcuts action extension. The shortcut can extract the h1 Markdown header from a post and use it as title. Optionally, you can publish both standard and “linked list” post types by adding a custom field supported by your WordPress installation.

Get the shortcut here.

Find RSS Feed

Find the RSS feed for a Safari webpage and copy its URL to the clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.


Other

Articles by Topic

Filter articles saved in Reeder’s Read Later account by topic. The shortcut relies on iOS’ Natural Language Processing framework to extract organization names from text. You can modify the list of topics to include the ones you prefer. Toolbox Pro and Reeder are required for this shortcut.

Get the shortcut here.

Morning Routine

A comprehensive shortcut for your morning routine. This shortcut can read you the news, list your upcoming agenda, turn on HomeKit scenes, and much more. By default, the shortcut requires the AutoSleep app to process sleep data (AutoSleep is only available on iPhone), LookUp for the word of the day, and GoodTask for Reminders lists. It also uses the Today Weather Forecast shortcut. Optionally, the shortcut can also integrate with Apple Music, Overcast, and Deliveries. More details about this shortcut are available in the MacStories iOS 12 review.

Get the shortcut here.

Image to Ulysses Sheet

Add an image to an existing sheet in Ulysses. Images can be shared via the share sheet or picked manually in the Shortcuts app.

Get the shortcut here.

Convert Temperature

Convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit with a menu that lets you pick a starting unit. The shortcuts supports interactions (including entering numbers) in the widget as well.

Get the shortcut here.

DND Menu

Enable Do Not Disturb choosing from three different types of expiration times: until manually turned off, until a calendar event is over, or until a specific time.

Get the shortcut here.

Add Attachment to Agenda

Append attachments to existing notes in the Agenda app. The shortcuts supports both images and documents from Files, and it can be executed from the share sheet (for input files) or the Shortcuts app.

Get the shortcut here.

Pay for Lunch

Send money to a friend who paid for lunch. The shortcut will add the local business’ name in the payment’s note field.

Get the shortcut here.

Convert Length

Convert between centimeters and inches with a menu that lets you pick a starting unit. The shortcut supports interactions (including entering numbers) in the widget as well.

Get the shortcut here.

DEVONmenu

A comprehensive shortcut to save a variety of file types into DEVONthink To Go. The shortcut can save Safari webpages, images, text, PDFs, videos, MP3s, and more, with the ability to add more supported file types manually. In most cases, files will be previewed natively in DEVONthink.

Get the shortcut here.

Linked Post → Ulysses

Create a template for a linked post to an article in Ulysses. The text selection from a Safari webpage is used as a Markdown blockquote. The original title, author name, and URL of the webpage are also preserved in the sheet.

Get the shortcut here.

LookUp Definition

Look up a word definition using LookUp 6.0. The shortcut lets you choose among different definition types, and it can also add a word to a collection.

Get the shortcut here.

Show Clipboard

Show the contents of the system clipboard. The shortcut can also show the type of the clipboard’s contents, and it can run as a widget or Siri command.

Get the shortcut here.

Start Workday

Start your workday by turning on a HomeKit switch, setting Hue lights to a focus mode, and waking up your Mac using the ‘Remote for Mac’ app.

Get the shortcut here.

Keep It Menu

An advanced shortcut for Keep It to save new notes in the app as either text or file attachments, which are previewed natively in Keep It. The shortcut can run from the Shortcuts app or as an extension. In addition to saving text notes and files, the shortcut can also save Safari webpages as web archives, live links, or PDF documents. At the end of shortcut, multiple references to Keep It notes can be saved as tasks in Reminders. This shortcut was originally created for members of Club MacStories.

Get the shortcut here.

DEVONmenu (with Things Parser)

A comprehensive shortcut to save a variety of file types into DEVONthink To Go. The shortcut can save Safari webpages, images, text, PDFs, videos, MP3s, and more, with the ability to add more supported file types manually. In most cases, files will be previewed natively in DEVONthink. At the end, the shortcut offers the ability to save each DEVONthink item as a task in Things using the Things Natural Language Parser syntax.

Get the shortcut here.

Copy Latest from Yoink

Copy the most recent item saved in the Yoink app. Can be used from the Shortcuts app, the extension, the widget, or Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Change System Volume

Quickly change your device’s system volume by picking a numeric value from a list. You can customize the list to contain your favorite volume presets, which support decimal values. The shortcut can be used from the widget as well.

Get the shortcut here.

PCalc Currencies

Run multiple currency conversions in Siri using a number from the clipboard. This shortcut requires the PCalc app to be installed. By default, it works with EUR, USD, and GBP currencies.

Get the shortcut here.

Focused Work Session

Start a 20-minute focused work session by setting a timer, enabling Do Not Disturb, and starting time tracking with the Toggl iOS app.

Get the shortcut here.

Travel Time to Home

Calculate travel time to get home. The shortcut can be configured for different transportation methods and can be invoked from Siri or the widget.

Get the shortcut here.

Make PDF

Create a PDF from an item shared with the Shortcuts extension via the share sheet. The PDF is previewed with Quick Look, from where it can be saved into other locations using the share sheet.

Get the shortcut here.

Linked Post → Drafts 5

Create a template for a linked post to an article in Drafts 5. The text selection from a Safari webpage is used as a Markdown blockquote. The original title, author name, and URL of the webpage are also preserved in the note.

Get the shortcut here.

DEVONimage

Save one or multiple images in DEVONthink To Go for iOS. Images can be passed from the share sheet or picked manually from Photos or Files. At the end of the shortcut, a plain text reference with a DEVONthink URL for the newly created items will be copied to the system clipboard.

Get the shortcut here.

DEVONsearch

Search your DEVONthink To Go database (or specific group) for one or multiple files matching a series of keywords. The shortcut can either perform a basic search or a NEAR-operator search; results can be displayed in Shortcuts (with a ranking score) or in the DEVONthink app.

Get the shortcut here.

Clip to Yoink

Save the contents of the system clipboard to Yoink. Can be used from the Shortcuts app, the extension, the widget, or Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Search Pocket

Search your last 50 unread Pocket items for a particular search query, which you can type directly in the shortcut. The result you pick will be opened in Safari.

Get the shortcut here.

Open Settings

Open a specific page or sub-section of the Settings app. This shortcut contains over 120 Settings URLs, and you can choose which one to open from a list. You can also create standalone shortcuts for each URL.

The shortcut works in the app, widget, and Siri.

Get the shortcut here.

Snooze Slack 1 Hour

Snooze your Slack notifications for 1 hour. The shortcut supports setting a different duration for Slack’s do not disturb mode and can also turn off snooze if already enabled. Requires a test API token.

Get the shortcut here.

Get Coordinates

Get your current coordinates and copy them to the clipboard. The shortcut uses native location access to identify your position on Earth. Best used with Dark Sky shortcuts for weather data.

Get the shortcut here.

Given a link to an item copied from the iTunes Store, this shortcut lets you easily transform it into an affiliate link, which you can share with extensions.

Get the shortcut here.

Choose and Turn On Alarm

Choose one of your existing alarms from the Clock app and turn it on.

Get the shortcut here.


Downloading and Using Shortcuts

Anyone is free to download, modify, and redistribute shortcuts from the MacStories archive. Our shortcuts are provided for free and out of love for the Shortcuts automation community. In fact, we encourage readers to download shortcuts and optimize them to their needs. No attribution is necessary, but we always appreciate it.

If you’re new to the Shortcuts app, you can find our coverage here; we also recommend going back through the Workflow archives for additional context. All of our workflows have been updated for the Shortcuts app and are included in this archive.

For an introduction to the Shortcuts app, we highly recommend Apple’s official Shortcuts guide. We also think the Reddit community at r/shortcuts is a good place to find other users interested in Apple’s Shortcuts.

Unless strictly necessary to communicate with a third-party web API, our shortcuts do not rely on any external framework and/or dependencies to automatically update shortcuts or perform API calls that are not mentioned in the shortcut’s description. You can find our Terms of Use below.

The archive will be regularly updated with new shortcuts over time. Updates will be shared on Twitter via the @viticci and @macstoriesnet accounts.

Terms of Use

The shortcuts in the MacStories archive have been tested as of the date each was added to MacStories.net for compatibility with the then-current versions of Apple’s iOS operating system and the Shortcuts app. Please feel free to use these shortcuts and adapt them to fit your specific needs.

However, please keep in mind that MacStories.net, its editors, and its writers (the “MacStories team”) cannot and do not guarantee that the shortcuts will remain compatible with future updates to iOS or the Shortcuts app. Moreover, the shortcuts linked on this page are provided free of charge and as-is without any express or implied warranties including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. The MacStories Team makes no specific promises about the shortcuts, the specific functions of the shortcuts, or their reliability, availability, or ability to meet your needs. In addition, the MacStories Team will not be liable to you for any lost profits or other consequential, special, indirect, or incidental damages arising out of or in connection with your use of the shortcuts.


Second Life: Rethinking Myself Through Exercise, Mindfulness, and Gratitude

“There’s something in your latest scan that we need to double check.”

Here’s what I’ve learned about cancer as a survivor: even once you’re past it, and despite doctors’ reassurances that you should go back to your normal life, it never truly leaves you. It clings to the back of your mind and sits there, quietly. If you’re lucky, it doesn’t consume you, but it makes you more aware of your existence. The thought of it is like a fresh scar – a constant reminder of what happened. And even a simple sentence spoken with purposeful vagueness such as “We need to double check something” can cause that dreadful background presence to put your life on hold again.

Read more



My Must-Have iOS Apps, 2017 Edition

With the transition to iPad Pro as my primary computer fully achieved in 2016 and not surprising anymore, in 2017 I turned my attention to three other key areas of my life: working with the MacStories team, managing my time, and finding my favorite apps among many competing alternatives.

For the first time in several years, I didn’t publish a story documenting my journey towards the iPad and iOS in 2017. In many ways, that’s a closed chapter of my career: the iPad Pro has convinced millions of people that it can be a suitable replacement for or addition to a Mac; with iOS 11 and its productivity features, Apple only cemented that belief. While part of me misses arguing in favor of the iPad against widespread skepticism, I felt it was time to move on from explaining the “why” of the iPad to helping others get the most out of the device. For this reason, I spent the better part of 2017 covering iOS 11 (first with my wish list, then with an in-depth review), discussing the details of iPad productivity, and creating advanced workflows for Club MacStories.

As much as I like to write in isolation, MacStories is also a team that requires a direction and a business that begets further responsibilities. Learning how to balance the multifaceted nature of my job with my hobbies and personal life (which got busier thanks to two puppies we adopted in April) has been an interesting challenge this year, and one that taught me a lot about allocating my time and attention, as well as the kind of writer I am and aspire to be.

There has been a recurring theme that has characterized my relationship with iOS in 2017: I’ve made a conscious effort to try as many new apps and services as possible, ensuring I would have a basic knowledge of all the available options on the market for different categories.

As I was settling on a routine and set of apps that worked well for me, I realized that I didn’t want to lose the spark of excitement I used to feel when trying new apps in previous years. My job is predicated upon writing about software and having a sense of where our industry is going; while finding something that works and using it for years is great, I don’t want to become the kind of tech writer who’s stuck in his ways and doesn’t consider the possibility that better software might exist and is worth writing about. Even though my experiments didn’t always lead to switching to a different app, they made me appreciate the state of the iOS ecosystem and helped me understand my app preferences in 2017.

Thus, I’m going back to basics for my annual roundup this year. In the collection below, you’ll find the 75 apps I consider my must-haves – no web services, just apps for iPhone and iPad. Apps are organized by category and, whenever possible, include links to past coverage on MacStories.

As in previous years, you’ll find a series of personal awards at the end of the story. These include my App of the Year and Runners-Up; this year, I also picked winners for Feature, Redesign, Update, and Debut of the Year.

Read more



    My Must-Have iOS Apps & Web Services, 2016 Edition

    2016 has been the year that I got used to iOS as my primary computing platform. After years of slowly transitioning from macOS, 2016 was all about optimizing my workflows and getting the most out of my iPhone and iPad.

    As I documented in two stories – one in February, the other last week – the consolidation of my iOS-only setup revolved around the iPad Pro. I see the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as the ultimate expression of iOS for portable productivity. With my 2011 MacBook Air now used three hours a week exclusively for podcasting, I invested my time in understanding the iPad platform at a deeper level. Thus, following two years spent assessing the viability of working from iOS, 2016 was characterized by the pursuit of better iOS apps for my needs. That effort was most notable on the iPad, but it also affected the iPhone, which I see as the mobile sidekick to my iPad Pro.

    Two trends emerged once I began outlining a list of candidates for my annual Must-Have Apps roundup. First, the apps that define how I work on iOS haven’t dramatically changed since last year. As you’ll see in this year’s collection, the core of what I do on iOS is in line with last year; there are some new entries and apps that have left the list, but my overall app usage is consistent with 2015.

    The second pattern is more interesting. To be able to accomplish more every week and automate more aspects of my routine, I have increasingly switched to web services in lieu of iOS-only apps. In looking back at the past year of MacStories, I realized that a good portion of new workflows were based on web services, web automations, and open APIs. Some of those web services also offer iOS clients; others are strictly web-only, but I integrated them with iOS apps through Workflow and Zapier.

    For these reasons, you’ll notice a difference in the 2016 edition of my roundup. In addition to my must-have iOS apps, I’ve added a section for my must-have web services. Whether I primarily use them with iOS counterparts, in Safari, or via an API, these are the web services that have helped me handle more responsibilities for my two businesses at MacStories and podcasting duties at Relay FM.

    As in previous years, you’ll find a series of personal awards at the end of the story. These include my App of the Year and Runners-Up, and, for the first time, a Web Service of the Year and winners in other iOS categories.

    Read more