Shortcuts to frustration (#apple #shortcuts #ios #ipados)

Let’s put it straight: Apple’s Shortcuts are the weirdest, most cumbersome and utterly frustrating thing to build, test and eventually use. I cannot count how many hours I spent trying to understand their intricacies and most useful use cases. As much as I want to get empowered by them, it often ends in frustration. Here is why.

You cannot disable old shortcuts that are no longer used but that you want to keep as a reference. There is no way to export them in a clean and readable PDF format. There is a lack of some form of runtime debugging tools. The editor doesn’t scale beyond a few dozens instructions. There is no way to write shortcuts in a text editor à la AppleScript. Share sheets bad design and organization make shortcuts invocation a trial and error experience. As your shortcuts collection grows, it hard to remember which shortcut does what in what context and what is required to launch it. And the list goes on and on. Documentation within the Shortcuts editor is lacking, very limited. A big part of the story is dependant on the willingness of developers to support them. It’s so frustrating to see an app lacking any form of exposure to the shortcut engine.

Make no mistake, I like the idea of automation on the iPad or iPhone. I’m happy to see Apple improving on them with each release of their operating systems. But, there is so much left to cover.

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