Master Shortcuts: Unlocking Basic and Advanced Functions on iPhone and Mac

Apple’s Shortcuts app is a powerful tool designed to streamline and automate tasks on Apple devices. It offers built-in examples that make it easy for users to get started. But the app’s true potential lies beyond its built-in examples. Integrating the app with third-party applications and advanced scripting methods opens up a world of possibilities for more complex and personalized workflows.

Third-party apps can extend the functionality of Shortcuts by offering specialized actions and triggers. For example, there’s a shortcut called “Clean Up Screenshots” in the Photography section that allows users to decide whether to save or delete their screenshots. Another shortcut called “Stop Distractions” in the Get Stuff Done category quits all running apps except for a few chosen by the user and turns on Do Not Disturb.

There are also shortcuts that integrate with third-party apps. For example, there’s a shortcut called “SW-DLT” that uses an iOS terminal app called “a-Shell” to download videos from the web. Another shortcut called “Summarize Article” uses OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tool, ChatGPT, to summarize any article from the web. Users can also use the Toolbox Pro app to share a link from a popular music streaming service and have it output the link to the same music on their preferred streaming service.

Advanced shortcuts can be created using AppleScript, a scripting language created by Apple for the macOS operating system. The Shortcuts app on Mac has a “Script Editor” action that allows users to run AppleScript or JavaScript. Users can automate actions on their Mac using AppleScript. For example, they can use AppleScript to send a text message to someone or create a new text file on the desktop with a specific message inside.

By leveraging AppleScript or JavaScript for Automation (JXA), users can tailor their computing environment to their specific needs, enhancing their overall experience and effectiveness in using their Mac.