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Posts tagged with "shortcuts"

Vision Pro App Spotlight: Shortcut Buttons Turns Your Shortcuts into Spatial Launchers

Shortcut Buttons for visionOS.

Shortcut Buttons for visionOS.

I received my Apple Vision Pro yesterday (for the full story of how it eventually found its way to Italy, you don’t want to miss the next episode of AppStories), and, as you can imagine, I’ve been busy downloading all the apps, learning my way around visionOS and – just today – using the extended Mac display mode. The first 24 hours with a Vision Pro are a whirlwind of curiosity and genuine nerd excitement, but despite my attention being pulled to a hundred different places, I’ve found the time to test one app in particular: Shortcut Buttons by Finn Voorhees.

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An Investigation into the Home App’s Clean Power Forecast Feature

Ever since Apple’s OSes were updated in the fall, I’ve been intrigued by the Home app’s new Clean Grid Forecast feature that predicts periods when the energy you use is ‘More Clean.’ The feature immediately reminded me of Clean Energy Charging, which works with Optimized Battery Charging, to charge your iPhone during periods when the electricity generated in your area is cleanest.

However, Clean Grid Forecast also raised more questions in my mind than it answered, like ‘What does More Clean mean?’ and ‘How does Apple know if the energy is cleaner?,’ and ‘How much cleaner is it anyway?’ These are the kind of answers that GridStatus.io, a website that offers electrical grid data, set out to answer by comparing Apple’s ‘More Clean’ periods with publicly available energy generation data.

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GoodLinks Adds Even Deeper Shortcuts Integration with Ability to Retrieve Current Article, Selections, and More

The new Shortcuts actions for GoodLinks.

The new Shortcuts actions for GoodLinks.

A few weeks ago on AppStories, I mentioned to John that I was looking for the “Things of read-later apps”. What I meant is that I wanted to find an app to save articles for later that felt native to Apple platforms, had a reliable text parser, but, more importantly, featured deep Shortcuts integration to let me create automations for saved items. As I followed up after a few episodes, I realized the app I’d been looking for was the excellent GoodLinks, which we’ve covered on MacStories several times before.

Today, GoodLinks developer Ngoc Luu released a small update to the app that, however, cements it as the premier solution for people who want a read-later utility for iOS and iPadOS that also features outstanding Shortcuts support.

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Automation Academy: Introducing ThingsBox, an All-In-One Shortcuts Capture System for the Things Inbox

ThingsBox.

ThingsBox.

One of the perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership are special columns that Federico and I publish periodically. In today’s Automation Academy, Federico shares ThingsBox, a shortcuts capture system that can handle multiple media types on every Apple device, sending the results to the Things inbox.

As Federico explains, ThingsBox originated from a suggestion I made on AppStories recently, which he took and ran with to add functionality tailored to each type of media he saves, creating:

a versatile system for quickly capturing text, Safari webpages, URLs, App Store apps, and even images and save them as new items in the Things inbox. ThingsBox runs on every Apple platform and can be used from a widget, the share sheet, or manually inside the Shortcuts app; it is optimized for the Apple Watch, where it defaults to dictation input; on the Mac, ThingsBox integrates with AppleScript to see what the frontmost window is and capture its data accordingly.

Sharing different types of input with ThingsBox…

Sharing different types of input with ThingsBox…

…and the resulting tasks in the inbox.

…and the resulting tasks in the inbox.

Automation Academy is one of the many perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership and an excellent way to learn advanced Shortcuts techniques that are explained in the context of solutions to everyday problems.

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Using Shortcuts to Display the Temperature from My Outdoor Sensor in the Menu Bar

I have always enjoyed having the current temperature in the menu bar on my Mac. Even though macOS Sonoma now supports adding a Weather widget of your choice directly to the desktop, I still prefer how a menu bar item is always glanceable and visible regardless of how crowded the desktop is.

For the past few months, I have tried many weather apps to achieve this, including the great Mercury Weather. While most of them worked great, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we now own an outdoor HomeKit sensor — the Eve Weather — and display the data coming directly from that weather station in the menu bar. I ended up with a neat little solution, using a combination of Shortcuts, SF Symbols, and a couple of useful utilities.

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Automation Academy: Leveraging Reminders to Make Saving Tasks to Things More Reliable On-the-Go

One of the perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership are special columns published periodically by Federico and John. In today’s Automation Academy, which debuted a refreshed format, Federico explains how he leveraged the tight integration of Reminders and Siri with Things by Cultured Code to improve the experience of saving tasks to Things on the go.

As Federico explains:

One of the features I missed from Reminders was its deep integration with Siri and background sync privileges. Whether you’re using Siri on the iPhone or Apple Watch, you can quickly dictate a new task with natural language and rest assured you’ll find it a few seconds later on any other device signed into your iCloud account. For instance, I can’t tell you how many times I added a reminder (with dates and times) using Siri while driving via my Apple Watch and immediately found it on my iPad once I got home. You just don’t have to worry about sync if you’re using iCloud and Reminders, which is one of the most important advantages of the app.

Among other techniques, the post explains how to use ‘Repeat for Each’ blocks with magic variables and an always-on Mac running Lingon X, which is available for 20% off on the Club MacStories Discount page, to create a rock-solid way of creating new tasks from an Apple Watch or other device using Siri.

Automation Academy is one of the many perks of a Club MacStories+ and Club Premier membership and an excellent way to learn advanced Shortcuts techniques that are explained in the context of solutions to everyday problems.

Join Club MacStories+:

Join Club Premier:

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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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macOS Sonoma: The MacStories Review

In one sense, the story of this year’s macOS update is that there is no story, but that’s not exactly right. Instead, it’s a bunch of stories. It’s the tail end of the realignment of macOS with Apple’s other OSes that began with macOS Catalina in 2019. However, Sonoma is also part of a work-at-home story accelerated by COVID-19. The OS is also linked to the story of visionOS, only part of which has been revealed. Sonoma is a bundle of narrative threads built on the foundation of past releases, adding up to a collection of updates that will be less disruptive for most Mac users than recent macOS updates. Instead, Sonoma is packed with a variety of useful new features that help draw it closer to iPadOS and iOS than ever before, design enhancements, and a few disappointing omissions.

The timing for a more modest macOS update is right. In recent years, Mac users have had to adjust to substantial redesigns of everything from their favorite system apps to the Finder’s windows and toolbars. The changes were inescapable and necessary to harmonize the Mac with Apple’s other products, but also disruptive for some long-time users.

Sonoma adds a vast collection of new wallpaper and screensaver options.

Sonoma adds a vast collection of new wallpaper and screensaver options.

With macOS Sonoma, the biggest design shifts seem to be behind us – at least for the time being. Interactive widgets on the desktop are a big change this year, but it’s not like macOS dumps a bunch of them on your desktop by default. If you never want to see a widget anywhere near your desktop, you don’t have to. Other than the subtle way the login screen has changed and the new screensavers and wallpapers that are available, the core macOS experience has barely changed.

Instead, this year’s update is primarily about refining and building upon the foundation of the past few years, coupled with a handful of more significant updates to system apps. So, while the marquee features and design changes may be less notable than in recent years, there is still a long list of new and refreshed items that touch nearly every aspect of the OS, so let’s dive in.

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Snailed It to Continue Development of Toolbox Pro and Alex Hay’s Other Apps

After the tragic passing of Alex Hay earlier this year, many in the Shortcuts community wondered what would become of his many excellent apps.

Today, Snailed It, a development company consisting of Rosemary Orchard, David Stephens and Dom Chester, announced that it would be taking over all of Hay’s apps including Toolbox Pro, Logger, and Nautomate. In a press release, Snailed It said:

Alex was well known in the industry for his series of apps that focused on expanding Apple’s Shortcuts eco-system, the most well known of which was Toolbox Pro, which adds over 130 Shortcut Actions to allow users to create incredibly powerful automation workflows. Alongside Toolbox Pro, he also created Logger for Shortcuts, allowing users to log text and images to a console within their complex Shortcuts, making development a breeze. His third app, Nautomate provides an expansive set of Shortcut Actions for controlling Notion. Snailed It have taken over each of these services and are in process of ensuring they’re updated to handle the transition, before continuing their development in memory of Alex.

It’s wonderful to see Snailed It honoring Alex Hay’s legacy by continuing his apps. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Hay’s trio of apps.