iOS 12

Siri Shortcuts and the new Shortcuts app

With the release of iOS 12, Apple put a heavy focus on automation through Siri Shortcuts and the Shortcuts app. By using Siri to control apps, surfacing common actions, and allowing for the creation of workflows, iOS 12 brings big changes to how we can use our devices.

Productivity has always been at the heart of Actions and Timepage, so we’ve devoted a lot of time to make our apps compatible and powerful with all that Siri and Shortcuts have to offer. In this post, we’ll detail the exciting features you can use with iOS 12.

Siri Shortcuts

Siri’s ability to control your apps has always been a little limited, especially for third-party apps like Timepage and Actions. We’ve tried in previous versions to create meaningful interactions with Siri, only to find it more frustrating than helpful. With Siri Shortcuts, we’ve reworked Siri’s interactions with Actions and Timepage to radically change the capabilities.

First, a quick overview: when you create a Siri Shortcut, you’ll assign a phrase to a particular action you want Siri to run. These actions are pre-set by the app, but you can choose to set any particular word or phrase. Once you activate Siri and run the phrase, Siri will run the command.

We’ve been thinking deeply about the way Siri Shortcuts can be integrated into Actions and Timepage, and through that process, we settled on a few introductory shortcuts for both apps. Of course, these do not include basic options like opening the app, opening a list, or creating an Action; rather, these are more complex uses of Siri Shortcuts. Check them out below:

Actions

  1. Clipboard to Action Card - This runs in the background and is a great (and simple!) way of creating actions using the Shortcuts app. Simple text will be added as an action on the Schedule. Add actions to specific lists & dates using JSON instead
  2. Open List - Opens a list based on title and common open times
  3. Daily Brief - Shows a list of today’s scheduled and overdue tasks
  4. Completed today - Shows a list of Action Cards completed today

Timepage

  1. Daily Briefing - Ask Siri to give you the Daily Brief information including a list of events and the weather report
  2. Review RSVPs - Causes the app to sync from the server and then let you know which events have unanswered invitations
  3. Countdown to - Ask Siri to show you the beautiful countdown information for any events that you want. You can add as many of these shortcuts as you want - unlike the widget that can only take one
  4. Historic event - Ask Siri to show you today’s historic event.

These are just a few examples of the dozens we are hoping to incorporate into Timepage and Actions over time. We’d also love to hear your ideas, too, so feel free to reach out via email, Twitter, or our feature requests board.

The Shortcuts App

Like Siri Shortcuts, the new Shortcuts app in iOS 12 aims to put automation at the forefront of your workflow. Shortcuts, which is the first realization of the Workflow purchase Apple made years ago, is built to take actions provided by apps and to combine them with other actions to create a script.

In the basic level, this could be anything from combining a few songs into a playlist. With Actions and Timepage, we’ve built the possibilities with power users and novices in mind, creating a system that can be as complex or as simple as you’d like.

A useful demonstration of the way Shortcuts can work with our apps is in Actions, where you can quickly import tasks from Trello or other sources into Actions.

To achieve this result, the Shortcut carries out the following steps:

  • Checks which lists you have in Actions and asks for a choice.
  • Retrieves the contents of the “Shopping” list from Trello and prepares it for Actions.
  • Adds this data to the system clipboard.
  • Triggers a new Actions Shortcut that imports the data from the clipboard.
  • Presents the newly created actions to you in the Siri Shortcuts interface.

What’s great about Shortcuts is that the possibilities are endless; by discovering your ideal workflow and building in actions that make it easier in Actions and Timepage, you can effectively make your use faster and easier. Much of this is supported because of improvements to our custom URL and improved x-callback-url support, which we’ll touch on in a future post for those interested.

Conclusion

As we continue to hear from customers and think further on the topics, we’ll provide updates and suggestions surrounding these topics in hopes to help you gain a little productivity boost.

Demo Shortcuts:

A utility Shortcut to create a link (markdown or plain url) that runs a shortcut in the Shortcuts app and formats it appropriately so that it will return to Timepage or Actions following the completion of the shortcut.

When triggered from Timepage or Actions, this link will also provide three params for Shortcuts to act on: itemTitle, containerTitle & linkTitle.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/a0372416251d4b70a833743a522c2948

Get Actions Lists:

Designed to be run as a function by other shortcuts, this shortcut will retrieve a list of the names of all of your Actions lists.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/787d2600c1b0469d9a0a1a4627b6e2ba

Get Timepage Calendars:

Designed to be run by other shortcuts, this shortcut will retrieve a list of the names of all of your Timepage calendars.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/120d91dbaeaa40048663de272ca1166f

Plan Weekend Jobs:

A demonstration of using a shortcut to populate a list in Actions with household tasks for the weekend.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/937b0955b7814727b8baf188855a857f

Create Timepage Event:

A demonstration of using a shortcut to create an event in Timepage via the custom URL scheme.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/a41c85c03c224e12934ec5b97e5f09de

Trello to Shopping:

As in the example above. This shortcut retrieves a list from Trello and imports it into Actions using a new Siri Shortcut.

https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/25bfbce9e55b486785419f447b8c34f3