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Posts in iOS

Apple’s Journal App: Journaling for All?

I’ve been keeping a journal in Day One since at least 2015, and I’ve got to say, the practice has become very engrained in my otherwise chaotic daily routine. Whenever I get asked about journaling, I always say that it’s a habit that can take any form you like. It can take place in a paper journal, in an app as written entries, as voice notes, or even as captioned photos in a photo diary. The reason I stuck with Day One over the years is because the app is incredibly flexible. It kept up with me during periods of my life when it was harder to write down my daily thoughts, and easier to type a couple of bullet points every day instead. I believe the best journaling tools are those that can adapt to you, not the other way around. But still, when Apple announced they were building their own Journal app, built right into iOS 17, I was excited by the prospect of switching things up in this little habit of mine.

This week, Apple released the Journal app as part of iOS 17.2. As expected, the app is unfortunately only available on the iPhone. Nevertheless, Apple’s first entry in this category is very interesting, to say the least, as it revolves almost entirely around a system of smart journaling suggestions and prompts. I’ve been using it alongside Day One for a couple of weeks now, to both get an idea of what Apple’s approach to journaling is like, and to see how it intends to bring journaling to a wider audience.

Let’s jump in.

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Is Apple’s Translate App Still Getting Lost in Translation?

Apple first introduced the Translate app in iOS 14. Although it was a welcomed addition to the language translation space, I stopped using it a couple of months after its release. Many languages were still missing, its interface was lackluster at best, and I found that its French translations were not great. I would also still often rely on Google Translate to translate text in the real world using the iPhone camera — a feature that was initially missing from Apple’s app. This year, however, the Translate app received a substantial makeover and a handful of new features in iOS 17.

Let’s see how Translate fares in 2023.

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Introducing MultiButton: Assign Two Shortcuts to the Same Action Button Press on iPhone 15 Pro

MultiButton for iPhone 15

MultiButton for iPhone 15

I got my iPhone 15 Pro Max last week, and I’m loving the possibilities opened by the Action button combined with the Shortcuts app. But as I was playing around with different ideas for the Action button, I had a thought:

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of just one shortcut, I could toggle between two shortcuts with the same Action button press? That’s exactly what my new MultiButton shortcut does.

With MultiButton, you’ll be able to assign two separate shortcuts to the Action button. Unlike other solutions you may have seen that always make you pick shortcuts from a menu, MultiButton automatically cycles between two shortcuts if you press the Action button multiple times in rapid succession. You don’t need to pick shortcuts from a list; just press the Action button and MultiButton will take care of everything.

Toggling between two shortcuts with MultiButton.Replay

Allow me to explain how MultiButton works and how you can configure it for your Action button. In the process, I’ll also share some new shortcut ideas that you can start using today on your iPhone 15 Pro.

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Threader, a Shortcut to Open Threads Profiles from Mastodon and Twitter Directly in the Threads App

Running Threader via Back Tap on Twitter and Mastodon.

Running Threader via Back Tap on Twitter and Mastodon.

Instagram just rolled out Threads, the company’s new text-based social network that’s been advertised over the past few weeks as an alternative to Twitter. I’m trying out Threads (you can find my account at threads.net/@viticci) and in the process of setting up the list of people I want to follow, I immediately run into an annoying issue that I fixed with a shortcut.

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Fiery Feeds for iOS Added an In-App Split View Mode That I Wish More iPhone Apps Offered

Vertical split view in Fiery Feeds.

Vertical split view in Fiery Feeds.

A few weeks ago on Mastodon, I shared a simple feature request: a split-screen mode for iPhone RSS readers that would allow me to scroll headlines in the one half of the screen and preview actual articles in the other.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone: back in 2007, Steve Jobs demoed pretty much the same thing for the first version of the Mail app for iPhone OS 1.0. That layout mode never shipped, and probably rightfully so at the time given the limited screen real estate of the first iPhone.

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S-GPT 1.0.2 Brings Date and Time Awareness, Integration with macOS Services Menu, Passthrough Mode, Better HomePod Support, and More

S-GPT 1.0.2.

S-GPT 1.0.2.

I just published version 1.0.2 of S-GPT, the shortcut I released last week to have conversations with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and integrate it directly with native features of Apple’s OSes. You can find the updated download link at the end of this post, in the original article, and in the MacStories Shortcuts Archive; before you replace version 1.0.1 of S-GPT, save your existing OpenAI API key somewhere as you’ll have to paste it again in the shortcut later.

I’m going to include the full changelog for S-GPT 1.0.2 below, but long story short: S-GPT is now aware of the current date and time, and I’ve heard all the requests about improving interactions with the HomePod and Siri, so I made that part much better. S-GPT can now perform a variety of date/time calculations with natural language, and you can end a conversation by saying “no” or “stop”.

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Introducing S-GPT, A Shortcut to Connect OpenAI’s ChatGPT with Native Features of Apple’s Operating Systems

S-GPT for Shortcuts.

S-GPT for Shortcuts.

Update, April 13: I’ve updated S-GPT to version 1.0.2. You can read the full changelog here. All download links have been updated.

Update, April 13: For Club MacStories+ and Premier members, I’ve published Part 1 of an extensive ‘Making Of’ series about S-GPT. This is a technical deep dive for my Automation Academy series. You can find it here and sign up for or upgrade to a Premier account using the buttons below.

Update, April 7: For Club MacStories members, I’ve shared some optional prompts to add different personalities to S-GPT, including two inspired by Roy Kent and Steve Jobs. You can get the prompts and read more here; the main S-GPT shortcut is and will remain free-to-use for everyone, of course.

Update, April 7: I’ve updated S-GPT to version 1.0.1. You can read more details here. All download links to the shortcuts have been updated to the latest version.


It’s the inaugural week of the second annual edition of Automation April, and to celebrate the occasion, I’ve been working on something special: today, I’m introducing S-GPT, an advanced conversational shortcut for ChatGPT that bridges OpenAI’s assistant to native system features of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS.

S-GPT (which stands for Shortcuts-GPT) is free to use for everyone, but it requires an OpenAI account with an associated pay-as-you-go billing plan since it takes advantage of OpenAI’s developer API, which has a cost. S-GPT was built with the latest ChatGPT API, and it can be used both with the existing ChatGPT 3.5 model or – if you have access to it – the ChatGPT 4 API.

While the shortcut is free for MacStories readers, I will be publishing a detailed, in-depth Automation Academy class soon for Club MacStories Plus or Premier members to explain the techniques and strategies I used to build this shortcut. I genuinely think that S-GPT is, from a technical perspective, my best and most advanced work to date; I hope my Academy class will help others learn some useful tips for Shortcuts and, in return, make even better automations for our contest.

With that said, let’s look at what S-GPT is and what you can do with it.

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Masto-Redirect, a Mastodon Shortcut to Redirect Profiles and Posts to Your Own Instance

Using Masto-Redirect in Safari.

Using Masto-Redirect in Safari.

Like many others over the past month, I’ve been thinking deeply about my experience with Twitter and whether I want to align my social media usage with the kind of platform Twitter is rapidly becoming. It’s a complex discussion (if my readers are still on Twitter, am I doing them a disservice by not using Twitter?), but in the meantime, I’ve decided to learn more about Mastodon. And in doing so, I came across an aspect of the service that I wanted to improve with a shortcut.

I created an account on Mastodon.social all the way back in 2018, and you can find me as @viticci there as well. I don’t want to turn this post into a guide to Mastodon (you can find an excellent one here), but, long story short, Mastodon is a decentralized service that is based on a federated network of instances. Essentially, there isn’t a single “Mastodon website” like, say, twitter.com; instead, there can be multiple Mastodon instances across different domains (hence why it’s “decentralized”) but, thanks to an underlying API, you can follow and be followed by people regardless of the instance they’re on. I can be on Mastodon.social, and you can be on Journa.host or Mastodon.online (different instances of Mastodon), but we can still communicate with one another via the protocol Mastodon uses. It’s like living in different countries but speaking the same language. You can read more about this here.

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Apple Frames 3.0: Completely Rewritten, Support for iPhone 14 Pro and Dynamic Island, New Devices, Multiple Display Resolutions, and More

Apple Frames 3.0.

Apple Frames 3.0.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of version 3.0 of Apple Frames, my shortcut to put screenshots taken on various Apple devices inside physical frames for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Apple Frames 3.0 is a major update that involved a complete re-architecture of the shortcut to improve its performance and reliability on all Apple platforms. For Apple Frames 3.0, I entirely rebuilt its underlying file structure to move away from base64 and embrace Files/Finder to store assets. As a result, Apple Frames 3.0 is faster, easier to debug, and – hopefully – easier to maintain going forward.

But Apple Frames 3.0 goes beyond a new technical foundation. This update to the shortcut introduces full compatibility with the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max with Dynamic Island, Apple Watch Ultra, and the M2 MacBook Air. And that’s not all: Apple Frames 3.0 also brings full support for resolution scaling on all iPad models that offer the ‘More Space’ display mode in iPadOS 16. And in the process, I also added support for ‘Default’ and ‘More Space’ options on the Apple Silicon-based MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros, and iMac. All of this, as always, in a native shortcut designed for high performance that uses Apple’s official device images and requires no manual configuration whatsoever.

Apple Frames 3.0 is the biggest, most versatile version of Apple Frames to date, and I’m proud of the results. Let’s dive in.

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