iOS 16 public beta adds 46 new Shortcuts actions for Focus Filters, Background Removal, Parked Cars

Photo of the Shortcuts app open on an iPad showing colorful icons corresponding the apps listed in the article.
Photo of the Shortcuts app open on an iPad showing colorful icons corresponding the apps listed in the article. (Image credit: Matthew Cassinelli / iMore)

If you're installing the public beta, developer beta, or just curious about the new features for Shortcuts coming to iOS 16, you'll be glad to know that Apple added 46 new actions that add deeper access and advanced functionality to the Shortcuts ecosystem.

The main set of actions for Shortcuts focuses on Notes, Voice Memos, and Safari, plus Shortcuts itself. Additionally, Apple added new actions for Clock, Files, and Parked Cars, plus more for features like Focus Filters, Background Removal, and Personal Hotspot, and PDFs.

Here's the full list of what's new (so far) in the public betas:

Apple apps

As part of the iOS 16 update, Apple focused its efforts on improving the base functionality in Shortcuts for its Notes, Voice Memos, Mail, Books, and Safari apps.

Each app added more advanced functionality for opening sections of the app, retrieving and interacting with the data from the app, and even controlling the app's interface itself.

Notes

Screenshot of the shortcuts app showing the listed Notes actions. (Image credit: iMore)

Notes added the following actions, plus Rich Text support for Create Note:

  • Pin Notes
  • Delete Notes
  • Open Notes Account
  • Change Notes Setting
  • Open Notes View
  • Open Folder
  • Create Folder
  • Move Notes to Folder
  • Delete Folders
  • Open Tag
  • Create Tag
  • Add Tags to Notes
  • Remove Tags from Notes
  • Delete Tags
  • Change Folder View
  • Close Notes View

Voice Memos

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the listed Voice Memos actions. (Image credit: iMore)

For Voice Memos, these are now expanded upon the previous set of two:

  • Open Recording
  • Play Recording
  • Create Recording
  • Delete Recordings
  • Open Folder
  • Create Folder
  • Delete Folders
  • Search Voice Memos
  • Change Playback Setting

Safari

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the listed actions. (Image credit: iMore)

Safari's set of Reader actions now work on macOS, and the app also gained the following:

  • Open Tab Group
  • Create Tab Group
  • Open New Tab
  • Open New Private Tab
  • Open View

Shortcuts

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the listed actions for Shortcuts itself. (Image credit: iMore)

Shortcuts itself also received a handful of new actions for automating deeper experiences with the app:

  • Open Folder
  • Search Shortcuts
  • Create Shortcut
  • Delete Shortcuts

System features

Beyond the primary apps, Apple also added actions for a handful of functions in their first-party apps, plus a set for various system features that can now be automated.

Open Tab

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the Open Tab action for the Clock app. (Image credit: iMore)

For the Clock app, Apple added a simple Open Tab that lets you open to the World Clock, Alarm, Stopwatch, or Timer.

Search Files

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the Search Files action. (Image credit: iMore)

For the Files app on iPhone and iPad, a new Search Files action was added so you can automate your queries into the app's interface.

Parked Car

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app for iPhone showing the listed Parked Car actions. (Image credit: iMore)

A unique set of actions were added for the Parked Car functionality in Apple Maps, which previously only worked via CarPlay connections — these shortcuts work great with your best iPhone:

  • Set Parked Car
  • Get Parked Car Location
  • Get Details of Parked Car

Focus Filters

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the listed Focus Filters actions. (Image credit: iMore)

Focus Filters, a new feature of iOS 16, can also be activated or changed across four supported apps:

  • Set Messages Focus Filter
  • Set Mail Focus Filter
  • Set Calendar Focus Filter
  • Set Safari Focus Filter

Remove Background

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app showing the Remove Background action. (Image credit: iMore)

The new Background Removal feature of iOS 16 is also supported with the new Remove Background action, which brings the powerful functionality right into the user's automation workflows.

Set Personal Hotspot

Screenshot of the Shortcuts app for iPhone showing the Personal Hotspot action. (Image credit: iMore)

The Personal Hotspot available for cellular devices can also be automated with Set Personal Hotspot, making it easy to connect and disconnect when you don't have a WiFi setup.

Optimize File Size of PDF

And finally, Apple added onto the PDF actions from iOS 15 with a new Optimize File Size of PDF action that makes sure your documents don't get excessively large when generated with Shortcuts.

With Shortcuts, life is easier

Apple provided the full list of feature changes to one of the developers who attended the Q&A sessions at WWDC '22, which was posted online on Reddit after the event, so make sure to check out the list of bug fixes for the smaller changes as well.

Included in that list are new actions for Books, Mail, and Reminders as well — however, those are not functioning in the first public beta. Once those are fixed in future betas, we'll cover them as well.

To go further into these actions, we'll be covering each of the new action groups in detail on iMore throughout the summer — look for new stories each weekend covering each of the apps' new actions and how to best take advantage of all this functionality.

Until then, read up on how Apple is trying to fix Siri with App Shortcuts.

Matthew Cassinelli is a writer, podcaster, video producer, and Shortcuts creator. After working on the Workflow app before it was acquired by Apple and turned into Shortcuts, Matthew now shares about how to use Shortcuts and how to get things done with Apple technology.


On his personal website MatthewCassinelli.com, Matthew has shared hundreds & hundreds of shortcuts that anyone can download, plus runs a membership program for more advanced Shortcuts users. He also publishes a weekly newsletter called “What’s New in Shortcuts.”