Improvements to Shortcuts I’d Like to See at WWDC 2020

2 minute read
| Editorial

I use shortcuts every day to get things done in my work and personal life. They make my life so much easier and more efficient, and that means I have a few opinions on features I’d like to see Apple make to the app. Here are some of them I’d like to see in iOS 14.

Improvements to Shortcuts

The first few features I have in mind aren’t major, but they would improve my experience with Shortcuts nonetheless. I have a lot of shortcuts and I’d love to organize them into folders. You can do this with certain third-party apps but I think native functionality is better.

There are some shortcuts that I put onto my home screen, and Siri Shortcuts with third-party apps. Each of those are separate categories and would benefit from having their own folders. Then there are shortcuts used for my job, and others used in my personal life. I’d love to organize those into folders, too.

Another feature of the Shortcuts app is Automations. These are special shortcuts that can be triggered by certain conditions. But it can become confusing when you have multiple automations, because you can’t name them. Naming automations is a feature I’d like to see, because right now the list only tells you what the automation does.

Image showing automations in the Shortcuts app, and how they don’t have names.

What does each automation do? Luckily I remember, because it’s not obvious from looking at this screen

Speaking of Automations, the next feature on my wish list is a taller order than my previous desires. To me, automations aren’t truly automations unless they can run autonomously in the background. Right now an automation gives me a notification and I have to tap a “Run” button. I’m sure there are security risks with that, but we’re already dealing with a risk: Untrusted shortcuts.

Which brings me to my next wish: the Gallery. Before Apple acquired Workflow and turned it into Shortcuts, people could create a workflow and contribute it to the gallery. I’d love to see user contributions come back. Apple is missing out on a big opportunity here. There are plenty of great websites that serve as shortcut galleries, but each have their own methods.

One example: If someone updates their shortcut you won’t know about it until you visit that web page again. There are workarounds like shortcuts that can update other shortcuts if they use a consistent set of tools. Wouldn’t it be great if the Shortcuts app worked more like the App Store? A shortcut that I downloaded from the Gallery could be updated and I would easily see it like I can with app updates.

There are more items on my list like certain actions I want to see (opening a private Safari tab) but the ones I mentioned above are a good start. Do you have any shortcut wishes? Let me know in the comments.

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