First Impressions of Shortcuts for iOS

Shortcuts for iOS

Shortly after I requested access to the Shortcuts TestFlight beta, I received an email inviting me to join. Shortcuts was the most exciting announcement at WWDC this year and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. After a few hours with the beta, I thought I’d share some notes and observations on the new app.

  • Shortcuts may feature some new actions and tweaks to the interface, but it’s every bit the Workflow we’ve grown to love.
  • The app no longer has an in-app settings screen. Which isn’t a major loss. Workflow’s settings screen featured sync options, widget configuration, a link to the What’s New page, and a button to replay the app intro.
  • I assume that Shortcuts will eventually sync between your devices over iCloud, but I couldn’t find any evidence that it’s working in the current beta.
  • All of my workflows carried over into the Shortcuts app and I couldn’t find any that were broken.
  • Tapping on a Shortcut runs it immediately now, instead of displaying the edit/compose view. If you’d like to edit a shortcut, you’ll have to tap the ellipses button in the corner.
  • The gallery appears to be populated with all of the same items that existed in the Workflow gallery. The only difference I found was that they’ve created new images for the featured collections area at the top.
  • Shortcuts can still be displayed in the app’s widget, in the share sheet, and on the home screen, but can now be added to Siri as well.
  • The app does offer the ability to share shortcuts, but it looks like the option to generate a unique URL is gone. I hope this returns in a future release.
  • When sharing a shortcut as a file, it still has the old .wflow file extension.
  • IFTTT, Evernote, Slack, Instapaper, Pocket, and GIPHY actions are no longer available. Hopefully we’ll see them return. Especially IFTTT — it opened up an entire world of web services and applications that would otherwise be difficult to integrate with.
  • There are a number of new actions available in Shortcuts. Run JavaScript on Safari Web Page, Markup, Send and Request Payments, and Share with iCloud Photo Sharing are the most interesting to me. And with their newfound access to private APIs, there are now actions for toggling Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, Cellular Data, Do Not Disturb, Low Power Mode, and Wi-Fi.

I’ll continue to dig deeper into the app for any more interesting tidbits and if I find anything noteworthy, I plan to add it to this page. But if you have any specific questions regarding Shortcuts for iOS, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter and ask. I’ll be more than willing to answer all that I can.