Apple has given users the power to script their own commands on iPhones and iPads using the Shortcuts application that was introduced with iOS 12. The company has provided a gallery of pre-made shortcuts that help newcomers get familiarized with the app. But the truly revolutionary commands are coming from the Shortcut enthusiasts who have customized the feature to fix daily problems they face on their smartphone and tablets, like tuning into their favorite YouTubers.
“I’ve had the same issue [with] YouTube for a few years now,” Redditor Taylor D tells Inverse in a direct message. “I always seem to miss new uploads even if I have notifications turned on. This isn’t just a problem for users this is actually a problem for content creators too.”
To make sure he could stay up to date with his favorite channels, Taylor created a shortcut that gives him a digest of that day’s video content with the click of a button. His “Subscriptions” shortcut complies all of the unwatched videos posted in the last 24 hours under his subscriptions tab into a playlist. Once it’s done organizing, YouTube opens and he can kick back to watch his favorite trailers, newscasts, or vlogs.
How to Integrate Other APIs Into Shortcuts
Taylor was a long-term user of the Workflow app, which was acquired by Apple in 2017 and rebranded as Shortcuts in iOS 12. Even with that experience, finding the solution to his problem wasn’t simple. He first tried to use an RSS feed, but that just served videos that were months old. That’s when he began reading up on YouTube’s application programming interface (API) — the building blocks that a platform gives programmers to develop widgets on their site — to go straight to the root of the issue.
A few sleepless nights later and this YouTube playlist maker was born.
“It took me a few days of trial and error but once I got the hang of it, I made this Shortcut in a few hours,” he says. “Improvement-wise, I would probably not get so glued to something that I’m awake for 38 hours. I mean the time paid off but, now I’m wiped.”
While Shortcuts let him address a problem bedeviling his daily YouTube usage, Taylor says there’s plenty of room for improvement. He believed Apple’s underwhelming packaging of the product made it go under the radar for many users.
“At first, I was thrilled, but the app really was a disappointment. It was a simple reskin [of WorkFlow] and [included] basic Siri integration,” he explains. “It’s very barebones as it stands, give it time and yes it will be better.”
The more users incorporate creative commands into their daily lives, the sooner Apple might realize this app is core to the iPhone and iPad experience. Until then, keep trying to cut corners with Shortcuts.