I’m really excited about the latest update to GoodLinks for iPhone. The app has always had some of the best automation support of any link management or read-later app I’ve used. However, with version 1.7, which was released last week, GoodLinks has taken its automation tools to a new level, opening up more ways to customize how you save, manage, and use links than ever before.
There is a nearly endless supply of apps for managing links and a lot of excellent read-later apps too. I’ve tried a lot of them, but I’ve always returned to GoodLinks. There are a couple of reasons for that.
First, GoodLinks strikes the perfect balance between link management and the reading experience. The app’s use of tagging, a read/unread toggle, and starring links provides just the right amount of structure and flexibility to suit a broad set of needs.
Second, GoodLinks has always supported the latest OS technologies, letting users mold the app to their personal workflows. A big part of GoodLinks’ strength here is its Shortcuts support. Not only can you get links into the app with Shortcuts, but you can retrieve your links in multiple ways and send them to other apps, something that is far too rare, especially with read-later apps.
However, Shortcuts is only part of the story. GoodLinks’ support for a collapsible three-column layout and multi-windowing on the iPad, context menus, and a robust URL scheme all play a part in making GoodLinks such a model for modern apps.
With iOS 16, developer Ngoc Luu has updated GoodLinks with a set of new features that further extend the flexibility of the app. For starters, new Shortcuts actions open up a load of new possibilities. Chief among the new actions is Find Links, an action that uses iOS 16’s new predicate filtering to allow users to create complex filters, which are the functional equivalent of smart folders.
Find Links lets users find links based on URL, site, title, summary, author, tags, saved date, and read date. For text-based filters, you can search for exact text strings, exclude terms, or find matches containing, beginning, or ending with a string. For dates, you can search for dates before or after a specific date, dates that are greater than or less than a specific date, and dates that fall between two dates. You can also apply multiple filters, sort results based on several criteria, and limit the number of results returned. That’s a lot packed into a single action. GoodLinks has also added Shortcuts actions to add and remove tags from links, as well as actions to edit and delete links. Combined with the new Find Links action, these actions enable powerful filter-based batch processing of large collections of links.
The other intriguing addition to GoodLinks is Focus Filter support. When you set up a Focus mode in Settings, the GoodLinks Focus Filter allows you to limit the links that are shown in your new Focus mode to those that include a specific tag or tags. That way, if you have a set of tags that you use for work, you could set up a GoodLinks Focus Filter, so only links with those tags appear when your Work Focus mode is enabled, for example.
It’s worth noting that the new Shortcuts actions and Focus Filters are not yet available on the iPad or Mac because those are iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura-only features. However, iPad and Mac updates to GoodLinks are currently in beta testing, so I expect those features will be supported soon after those OS updates are publicly available.
GoodLinks has added two rectangular iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets too. The first widget displays the latest article from one of the app’s predefined categories (Unread, Starred, and Untagged) or one of the tags you’ve assigned, which is an excellent way to quickly dip into a favorite topic. The second widget opens a random unread link.
Finally, if you’re new to GoodLinks and Shortcuts, the app also offers seven App Shortcuts for showing different categories of links in the app and opening the last unread or a random link. App Shortcuts can be controlled using Siri, which can be turned on from GoodLinks’ entry in the App Shortcuts section of Shortcuts. Plus, like all App Shortcuts, the ones provided by GoodLinks can be used in your own shortcuts too.
GoodLinks has always had a place in my workflow, but over the past year, I’ve found myself turning to it more and more because it’s so easy to get links into the app and then back out. With the addition of its new Shortcuts actions and Focus Filters, I’ve begun planning new ways I can take advantage of GoodLinks’ flexibility to fit it into even more aspects of my work. Now more than ever before is a great time to dig into GoodLinks’ automation tools to see how it can streamline the way you work with links and web content you’ve saved for later.