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Mona 6 Moves from High Visual Customization to Advanced Automation

Mona, the Mastodon client for iOS, iPadOS, and Mac from Junyu Kuang, is out today with a significant version 6 update. Mona is my choice for using Mastodon primarily due to what John referred to in his review as its ‘epic level of customization.’ Everything from how the taskbar at the bottom of the screen looks to how posts are displayed is fully customizable. Even the main app view on iOS can be vertically split in two.

But Mona is not just about looks; it’s also a solid tool for navigating Mastodon. Things like the ability to privately set colors or notes to other users, timeline syncing across your devices using iCloud, and full support for VoiceOver make it a strong choice for a wide variety of people.

Which brings us to this new update. In the year and change since the mass Twitter exodus, Mastodon has matured a lot as a platform, introducing new features that users can take advantage of while filling some of the gaps impeding the platform from growing. Version 6 of Mona includes those new features while advancing its power user functionality with powerful new Shortcuts actions, including one that takes advantage of the Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Let’s dive in.

Turning a long message into a threaded post.

Turning a long message into a threaded post.

The new update for Mona can be broken down into three areas:

  • Post composition and viewing improvements
  • Better privacy and security controls
  • Significant Shortcuts additions

First, let’s take a look at posts. The most noticeable new posting feature is simple but handy: automatic thread conversion. The default character limit on Mastodon is 500 characters. Plenty for most, but sometimes you need more. Simply write your long message, and if it crosses the 500-character default threshold when you hit send, Mona will prompt you to split the post into as many threaded posts as needed. You can choose to send the thread right there, preview the thread before sending, or cancel to go back and edit your post. This works well, and according to Kuang, there is no limit to the number of threaded posts you can create at once.

Scheduling a post on the Mac.

Scheduling a post on the Mac.

Then, there is the new ability to schedule posts. I’ve used this to great effect, including by creating a post linking to this very article on my Mastodon account way before it was even live on MacStories.

Mona 6 also addresses the use of photos and other images on Mastodon. The loading system has reportedly been re-engineered for better performance and lower memory usage, and on macOS Sonoma, Live Text is now supported when viewing an image.

Additionally, the image description interface has been improved so that you can add a text description to an image directly below the preview rather than in a popup that used to awkwardly hover over most of the image. It’s a minor update, but it makes the experience of writing descriptions much nicer.

Mona 6 improves the way descriptions are added to images (far right screenshot).

Mona 6 improves the way descriptions are added to images (far right screenshot).

Mastodon’s new popularity has called for new and better ways of using the social network. Mona 6 includes support for several new features introduced by Mastodon in September last year.

First up is the ability to remove posts from your home timeline if they are part of another list you created. This means, for example, you could separate all the gaming-related accounts you follow into their own list, leaving your timeline clean of gaming chat until you switch over to your gaming list.

Two other new Mastodon features that Mona now supports are the ability to control whether your public posts are shown in Mastodon search results and the ability to prevent other users from looking at your followers and following lists. While I don’t think I would ever use these features, which are located in your profile settings, they are nice features to have should you wish to control how ‘public’ your life on Mastodon is.

The full list of new Shortcuts actions in Mona 6.

The full list of new Shortcuts actions in Mona 6.

This brings us to the new Shortcuts actions, probably the most impressive additions to the app.

The banner update is an action ideally suited for assigning to the Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro (though you could assign it to the iPhone’s back tap accessibility feature if you have an older model) to check if the Mona app is running onscreen. If it is, then this allows you to trigger other Shortcuts actions, opening up many new and powerful automation possibilities.

There are quite a few new Shortcuts actions, so I’m going to list them all first before going into detail on several of them and how they could be used within the app:

  • Create scheduled posts
  • Get, reschedule, or delete scheduled posts
  • Send posts with media or poll attachments
  • Send replies to a specified post
  • Get the character limit of certain accounts
  • Split text for threading
  • Get, add, modify, or delete server-side filters linked to your Mastodon accounts
  • Get the post or profile currently displayed in the Mona app
  • Open the in-app post composer or search view
  • Adjust settings for video autoplay
  • Get and set image caption (e.g., combining with a third-party caption-generating action)
  • Get accessibility text of accounts or posts
  • Take a screenshot of a Mastodon post

This is an impressive list of additions, but ‘Take Screenshot of Mastodon Post’ is particularly clever, allowing you to generate a screenshot-like image from a Mastodon post URL when combined with the ‘Get Details of Mastodon Post’ action. You can even choose from four aspect ratios.

Using the action button to take a ‘screenshot’ of the post on screen.

Using the action button to take a ‘screenshot’ of the post on screen.

Creating threaded posts, including replies to specific post URLs, also raises interesting options for powerful automations. For instance, you could schedule a new post each day for a list of favorite movies, but with each post threaded as a reply from the original post. This only scratches the surface, but you can see how useful this could be.

Then there’s the aforementioned ‘Is Mona Running’ action, which works perfectly with the Action Button. Two new actions primed for this are ‘Get Mastodon Account on Current Profile View’ and ‘Get Mastodon Post on Current Detail View.’ With these actions, you can get the profile or post on screen and run subsequent actions like getting profile variables, adding to your bookmarks, scheduling a reply, and more, all by pressing the Action Button.

Mona is already known for its advanced visual customization, so it feels only natural that the app should now be pushing the amount of automation customization. This, along with some welcome features like automatic threading, scheduling, privacy controls, and other tidbits, make version 6 of Mona an excellent update.

Mona is free to download on the App Store for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, and version 6 is a free update for existing users. Some features are only available with a one-off payment for Mona Pro ($11.99 - one platform) or Mona Pro Max ($19.99 - all platforms).

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