Apple is releasing tons of “hidden” features in Shortcuts — what about everyday users?

Apple is releasing tons of “hidden” features in Shortcuts — what about everyday users?

  • Apple
  • July 6, 2022
  • No Comment
  • 29
  • 17 minutes read

Shortcuts Hidden functions PhotoSource: Matthew Cassinelli / iMore

As Apple continues to develop the experience of applying shortcuts to the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even the Apple Watch, there are even more features and functionality that are possible on Android platforms. Apple, though only through the Shortcuts app.

As features such as custom speaker groups can be created and separated with shortcuts, iOS often doesn’t have an integrated, Apple-like way to enable the same functionality. without using shortcuts.

To put it another way, Apple is adding features to its operating systems that otherwise don’t fit into the platform itself, but can get away with adding them by putting them in shortcuts.

For example, there is no elegant way to make speaker group combinations other than tapping into the Control Center, so Apple can send it to Shortcuts, advanced users are happy and … the people of each day simply … does not get the function?


As an iMore resident “shortcut man,” I’m obviously all in favor of shortcuts that have advanced functionality; after all, shortcuts is part of iOS, iPadOS and macOS.

Screenshot of the Apple developer session thumbnail showing the shortcut icon in the center and the Apple apps around it.

Source: iMore

Shortcuts are a feature of the system built into the operating system, not an app downloaded from the App Store like Keynote or Pages, and as such, adding a feature to Shortcuts means that Apple technically has also added it to the operating system.

In practice, however, use shortcuts and perform tasks using shortcuts is not a widespread way in which most people use their Apple devices (yet?), and there are many everyday users who may want to use a feature like speaker groups but don’t use shortcuts.

Enter the application shortcuts

Screenshot of the Apple developer session thumbnail showing application shortcut folders.

Source: iMore

To some extent, Apple has addressed this issue in part with its new application shortcut features announced at WWDC22.

With app shortcuts, app store actions are automatically converted to a shortcut folder in the shortcut app, ready to be activated with Siri or displayed as suggestions throughout the app. operating system as soon as you install the application. This helps a lot with discovering all the things these apps can do, both through shortcuts and within the app.

However, this is limited to third-party apps downloaded from the App Store, and Apple’s own apps don’t receive the same treatment. While there are plenty of native actions for Apple’s own apps within the shortcut app, as well as a gallery of shortcut examples that users can download and use to take advantage of some of these features “hidden” users still have to discover and set shortcuts for all the built-in features of their favorite iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Once the application shortcuts are started, it will be easier to find what other applications you can do this through shortcuts more than Apple’s own apps. This almost aggravates the problem of discovering shortcut-only functions they are not Application shortcuts, now even further down the list of things users can do in Shortcuts, as they are busy seeing what all other applications can do.

Lots of noise on the shortcuts

I’m not sure if there’s an immediate solution to this general problem, as to some extent it’s a key issue to add an automation platform to Apple’s operating systems; there will always be much, much more that shortcut users can do and learn than not. -Shorts that users can do.

However, Apple could alleviate the problem of discovering system features by developing its own feature such as “Operating System Shortcuts” or “Gallery Shortcuts”. Similar to application shortcuts, these groups could automatically appear in a user’s All Shortcuts collection and provide shortcuts for system functions or gallery shortcuts to the same automatically generated folders.

Screenshot of the Shortcut User Guide on

Source: iMore

Apple could also do more to educate users about the fact that, A) There are even shortcuts and B) Advanced features work best combined with shortcuts. Some of the reasons why Apple users aren’t so familiar with shortcuts is that Apple doesn’t talk much about shortcuts, with only brief mentions during keynote notes and more often during key developer notes, where there are more attention to other functions.

Adding educational materials like stories from the App Store about shortcut functionality to iOS and macOS would put it in the minds of many users, making the act of packaging the app with functionality less of a problem as it to become more popular.

In addition, Apple itself highlighting the best ways to use what is already in the shortcuts, as well as how to take advantage of new additions to the application, would go a long way to provide resources for each user on how maximize your shortcuts and operating system usage.

Additional features should not be limited to shortcut users

Honestly, I’m pretty curious about what iMore readers think – this piece is a somewhat theoretical question that can only be answered through Apple’s own shortcut and platforming experience.

Do you think that adding advanced features via shortcuts is a good solution, or do you want the operating system to also provide the possibilities of the same kind of complex functionality, but with the possible compensation of the ease of use of the platform?

Let me know in the comments and on Twitter, because I want to know your thoughts. And, if you’re having trouble finding good shortcut ideas, maybe it can help too.

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