Why summer is the best time to get into Shortcuts

Shortcuts Summer Photo
Shortcuts Summer Photo (Image credit: Matthew Cassinelli / iMore)

Apple's Shortcuts can be an overwhelming app, with so many actions, apps, and features to take advantage of that it can take time to set up and get using everything in a way that works for you.

With the upcoming beta releases that ship after WWDC and longer days (in the Northern hemisphere) throughout the summer, the next few months are the best time to get into Apple's Shortcuts app.

Now that the apps are more stable, there are more actions from the App Store, and no time like the present, here's why the Shortcuts app is worth digging into:

Shortcut to stability

Now that iOS 15 has been shipping since September last of last year, Apple has gone through five iterations of the OS (and is currently working through the sixth), which means increased stability with Shortcuts across the board.

Last fall, Shortcuts for Mac shipped for the first time, with the entire app being rewritten from the ground in Swift UI based on its previously iPhone- and iPad-based designs. That meant, unfortunately, a significant number of bugs that caused issues with stability in the editor, syncing across platforms, and actions for interacting with apps like Safari that didn't work as expected.

Now that Apple is long past that point at iOS 15.5, many of those initial issues are resolved, creating a much better experience on all platforms (but especially on the Mac). For any first-time users who still haven't tried out the Mac version of Shortcuts, now's a great time if you were concerned with stability.

There's an app for that

Screenshot of Shortcuts for Mac side-by-side with a story from the App Store about Shortcuts. (Image credit: iMore)

Another reason Shortcuts is worth checking out ahead of iOS 16 and its expected annual release in the fall is the variety of apps that have added Shortcuts support throughout iOS 15 and the capabilities they can add to your experience.

After almost a year of testing the iOS 15 release, app developers have had more time to fully develop and release their Shortcuts support, resulting in a higher volume of apps and more iterations for how their actions work. I suggest checking out the Mac App Store for new Shortcuts apps, plus looking in the Apps tab of the Shortcuts app itself because some of your current apps might've added actions without you noticing.

Plus, now that app developers are soon going to have the next year's release in their hands during the beta season, it's a great time to test their current actions and provide feedback once the new releases are in testing — it's most effective to share your ideas when they're more actionable and priorities are being decided.

Start now, iterate later

One of the most beneficial reasons to get started with Shortcuts sooner than later is the nature of growth: you can only improve something once it's been started.

Working on how you can use Shortcuts to its full potential now during a time with stability between new OS releases, no new devices, and no other major platform changes means you can reap the benefits now, plus continue to improve things during a potentially slower season.

Then, when seasons change and the pace of technology speeds up — as it tends to do each fall season ahead of the holidays — you'll have more of a baseline to work with and iterate further. As new apps get released, Shortcuts gains new capabilities, and the possibilities continue to expand, you'll be ready to ride that wave rather than try to catch up.

What shortcuts are waiting to be discovered?

If you do find yourself with longer days, a slower work period, or are just looking to get ahead of Apple's next year of releases, the summer is the season to solidify your Shortcuts setup.

Try laying out some of your most common workflows in a notebook, make some Shortcuts folders for your areas of life, and set up some Home Screen icons or widgets to put things front-and-center.

Play around with Personal Automations and try to get daily benefit out of some simple tasks that could be easier. It's especially worth checking out NFC tags too, which can just be cool and an exciting way to control things with a tap of your favorite iPhone.

And finally, try to explore more apps and more actions in the Shortcuts app. There's a lot of potential in the App Store, the Scripting category in the app, and ideas shared online — there's a whole world of Shortcuts waiting for you.

I'll be writing about Shortcuts all summer here on iMore, so check back every Wednesday and Saturday for new stories and shortcuts to add to your collection.

Matthew Cassinelli

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.”