The Color set is a brand new version of MacStories Shortcuts Icons.
After working on this for months, I’m thrilled to announce the second product released under the MacStories Pixel brand: today we’re launching MacStories Shortcuts Icons (Color), a different version of our icon set that features multi-color glyphs and two background options.
Here’s the gist of today’s launch: MacStories Shortcuts Icons (Color) are a new, separate set available for $14.99 here. What makes the Color set different: while the Classic set comes with monochrome glyphs, the Color version features multi-color glyphs with white or pure black backgrounds.
Shortcuts Icons (Color) offers 400 custom icons for your Home screen shortcuts, featuring multi-color glyphs painstakingly colored with a consistent palette, on white or black backgrounds.
With two different background options, you can make your shortcuts look more like apps or blend in seamlessly with Home screens featuring a black wallpaper. They’re designed to make your shortcuts look unique and different.
Just like iOS’ dark mode, the color palette in the Color set changes subtly between light and dark modes for an optimal viewing experience.
Additionally, if you have a pure black wallpaper on your iPhone or iPad Home screen, the black version of the icons will blend in with the Home screen seamlessly, allowing you to put together some fascinating custom layouts.
You can find a complete preview of the Color set’s 400 glyphs and two background modes below:
This week on AppStories, we cover Shortcuts utilities including Toolbox Pro, Pushcut, and LaunchCuts. They also preview an upcoming Shortcuts utility from Simon Stovring called Data Jar and explain the difference between Shortcuts, shortcuts, Siri Shortcuts, and other terminology.
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Developed by Adam Tow, LaunchCuts is the latest entry in a series of meta-utilities designed to extend Apple’s Shortcuts app with new functionalities. Unlike Toolbox Pro and Pushcut, however, LaunchCuts is the most peculiar and niche I’ve tested insofar as it doesn’t provide Shortcuts with exclusive actions nor does it come with its own web service to deliver rich push notifications; instead, LaunchCuts’ sole purpose is to offer an alternative view for your shortcut library with folders and powerful search filters. If you have less than 20 shortcuts installed on your iPhone or iPad, you’re likely not going to get much benefit out of LaunchCuts’ advanced organizational tools; but if you’re like me and use hundreds of different shortcuts on a regular basis, and especially if your library has grown out of control over the past few years, you’re going to need the assistance of LaunchCuts to make sense of it all.
Like the aforementioned Shortcuts utilities, LaunchCuts was born of its developer’s frustration with the lack of folders in Shortcuts – a basic feature that is still bafflingly absent from the app in 2020. As I keep pointing out in my iOS reviews, I find Apple’s continuing reliance on a crude, one-level-deep grid for shortcuts perplexing at best – particularly when the app is so very clearly employed by professional users who want to accomplish more on their iPhones and iPads.
LaunchCuts was originally created by Tow as an advanced shortcut that let you tag and organize your shortcuts from within the Shortcuts app itself. I remember playing around with the original version of LaunchCuts and, although technically remarkable, I didn’t find much utility in it since it was limited by the UI constraints of Shortcuts; LaunchCuts was begging to become a fully-fledged app with a custom interface to take advantage of Tow’s original concept. Now that it’s a native app, LaunchCuts can fulfill Tow’s vision for taming cluttered and disorganized Shortcuts libraries in a way that wouldn’t have been possible as a shortcut – all while taking advantage of new features in iOS and iPadOS 13.
For the past several months, I’ve been working on a shortcut designed to be the ultimate assistant for Apple Music. Called MusicBot, the shortcut encompasses dozens of different features and aims to be an all-in-one assistant that helps you listen to music more quickly, generate intelligent mixes based on your tastes, rediscover music from your library, control playback on AirPlay 2 speakers, and much more. I poured hundreds of hours of work into MusicBot, which has gained a permanent spot on my Home screen. Best of all, MusicBot is available to everyone for free.
I’m a happy Apple Music subscriber, and I love the direction Apple has taken with the service: fewer exclusive deals, more human curation, artist spotlights, and playlists updated daily. However, I believe the Music app for iPhone and iPad leaves much to be desired in terms of navigation and fast access to your favorite music. While Music gets the job done as a gateway to a streaming catalog, I find its interactions somewhat slow when it comes to playing my favorite playlists on shuffle or getting to albums I frequently listen to. Some of Music’s most interesting mixes are only available by asking Siri; additionally, getting to certain sections of the app or tweaking specific settings often takes far too many taps for my taste.
I created MusicBot for two reasons: I wanted to speed up common interactions with the Music app by using custom actions in the Shortcuts app; and I also wanted to build a series of “utilities” for Apple Music that could be bundled in a single, all-in-one shortcut instead of dozens of smaller, standalone ones.
The result is, by far, the most complex shortcut I’ve ever ever created (MusicBot spans 750+ actions in the Shortcuts app), but that’s not the point. MusicBot matters to me because, as I’ve shared before, music plays an essential role in my life, and MusicBot lets me enjoy my music more. This is why I spent so much time working on MusicBot, and why I wanted to share it publicly with everyone for free: I genuinely believe MusicBot offers useful enhancements for the Apple Music experience on iOS and iPadOS, providing tools that can help you rediscover lost gems in your library or find your next music obsession.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly upon us, and we’ve prepared something truly special to celebrate the occasion at MacStories: starting today through Monday, December 2, MacStories Shortcuts Icons will be available at 50% off the regular price.
For those not familiar with MacStories Shortcuts Icons, they’re a set of 350 custom icons for shortcuts added to your iPhone and iPad Home screen. You can read more about them here. Designed specifically with Shortcuts users in mind, these icons expand upon the options provided by Apple in the Shortcuts app, bringing glyphs for task management, calendars and files, AirPlay, home automation, and lots more. With MacStories Shortcuts Icons, you’ll be able to personalize your iOS and iPadOS Home screen by pinning shortcuts whose icons are representative of their purpose. If you use the MacStories Shortcuts Archive on a regular basis, you’ll be happy to know that every shortcut from the archive is represented in MacStories Shortcuts Icons.
You can take a look at what MacStories Shortcuts Icons have enabled our Ryan to do with his iPad Home screen in this article. And you can take a look at my own iPad and iPhone Home screens below – both are based on MacStories Shortcuts Icons.
My Home screens, powered by MacStories Shortcuts Icons.
Both Silvia and I are incredibly humbled by the amazing response to MacStories Shortcuts Icons since we launched them in September. For this reason, we want to take Black Friday and Cyber Monday as an opportunity to let even more people enjoy the benefits of a Shortcuts-based Home screen powered by MacStories Shortcuts Icons.
MacStories Shortcuts Icons will be available at 50% off through Monday, December 2 at 11:59 PM Eastern. Once again, make sure to use promo code bficons19 at checkout for the deal to apply. You can purchase MacStories Shortcuts Icons here or by tapping the Buy button below.
The new year approaches, and with it arrive dreams of being a more productive you – which of course involves choosing the perfect task management system for your needs.
In a timely move, Moleskine’s elegant task manager, Actions, was updated today with a new Reminders import feature, so you can instantly migrate any or all of your Reminders lists and tasks into Actions. The update also supports two new iOS 13 features: shortcuts featuring parameters and context menus.
For several years after its launch, one of the best and worst things about the iPad was that it was basically just a blown-up iPhone. This meant the device was extremely easy to use and intuitive, but it also meant lots of “computer-like” tasks were difficult to perform on an iPad. When the iPad Pro debuted in late 2015, that began to change. Features like Split View, Slide Over, Picture in Picture, and drag and drop made the iPad a more capable computer than ever. However, despite those advancements, it took until this fall before one of the iPad’s core iPhone inspirations was altered: the Home screen.
Before iPadOS, the iPad’s Home screen was just a larger version of an iPhone Home screen, with no unique advantages to it. That finally changed mere months ago, when iPadOS 13 brought two primary improvements to the Home screen: it could hold 30 icons rather than 20, and it could include pinned widgets.
These two changes alone weren’t radical departures from the Home screen’s iPhone origins, but combined with other discoveries, they unlocked significant new possibilities.
On a recent episode of Adapt, I challenged Federico to try re-creating a Mac-like desktop environment on the iPad’s Home screen, complete with file and folder launchers. What he came up with is exactly what I’d hoped for. This newfound ability, alongside iPadOS 13’s enhancements to how shortcuts work when added to the Home screen, and the debut of MacStories Shortcuts Icons, meant it was time for me to seriously consider a new approach to my Home screen.
What I’ve come up with includes apps, app folders, files, file folders, shortcuts, and of course, widgets. It’s a diverse setup, and it all lives on a single page of icons. Let me explain.
One of the most common Shortcuts feature requests was granted in iPadOS 13: the ability to run shortcuts automatically in the background. Federico walks through this powerful feature in detail, then Ryan surveys the App Store’s best calendar apps.