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Make your own iPhone Safari download manager with Shortcuts

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Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the biggest shortcomings of mobile Safari is downloading files. It’ll do it just fine, but it loads everything as if it were a web page. PDFs, ZIPs, MP3s: They all get loaded right there into the current page, whereupon you have to use the Open In… feature to save the file.

Perhaps even worse — you don’t have any idea how long the download is going to take. All you have to go on is the loading progress bar up in the URL bar, which creeps along and really only offers two states: “not done yet” and “done.”

Today we will fix that by whipping up a download manager using the Shortcuts app. Let’s go.

Beware: Shortcuts could steal your data

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Siri Shortcuts could be doing more than you think, like invading your privacy.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Malicious Siri Shortcuts are a real possibility warns one developer, so users need to start treating all of them as potential threats. He calls on Apple to fix their problems.

Shortcuts debuted last fall in iOS 12. They are small apps that can be used to automate iOS features. That apparently makes them well suited for creating malware.

How to make Shortcuts give you a weather forecast on iPad

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iPad weather
Life’s a beach — without this iPad weather shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad infamously still lacks a built-in weather app. There are plenty of ways around this — you can ask Siri, you can use the Maps app to see the weather anywhere, or you can wait for your iPhone to give you a lock-screen forecast every morning.

Today we add a new method. We’ll make a quick shortcut that gets the weather at your current location, and displays it as a notification.

Adobe Lightroom now supports Shortcuts

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I sent this image to Lightroom with a Shortcut.
I sent this image to Lightroom with a Shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Adobe’s Lightroom, perhaps the best photo-editing app on iOS, now supports shortcuts. That is, it supports one shortcut, letting you load photo into it from the camera roll, or any other place your find images in iOS.

Wouldn’t a simple Open In… option suffice? Perhaps, but by adding just one simple shortcut, Adobe has also added quite a few powerful possibilities.

How to share photos safely with Shortcuts

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Removing geodata won’t always protect a photo’s location
Removing geodata won’t always protect a photo’s location
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know that every photo you send via iMessage, or other messaging services like WhatsApp, contains all that photo’s location data? If you snap a picture in your home, anyone who’s receives that photo will be able to see where you took it on a map.

The same goes for uploading images to online auction sites, or internet forums. The good news is that it’s easy to sanitize your images with Shortcuts.

How to make a slick App Store wish list with Shortcuts

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Don’t keep your App Store wishlist on paper.
Don’t keep your App Store wishlist on paper.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know what the New Year means? New devices, and the need for new apps to fill them. Only you’re all spent out, and instead of buying you an iTunes voucher, Auntie and Uncle got you yet another country-themed doll like you used to collect when you were a kid1.

The answer is an App Store Wish List. And in order to save you money that you don;t have, were going to make our own with the Shortcuts app.

Today we’ll make two shortcuts. One will add any app to a list in Reminders. The second will take that list, and show you a beautiful list of links and prices, right there in the Today view. Just tap on an app to see it in the App Store, and maybe even buy it.

How to run multiple cooking timers with Shortcuts

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Yum. Perfectly timed.
Yum. Perfectly timed.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

“Hey Siri, 30-minute timer!” you shout across the kitchen, elbows deep in turkey gizzards. Only Siri isn’t interested. It’s already running that one-hour timer for the roast potatoes. Why would anybody want to run multiple timers at the same time? Silly human.

Thankfully, Shortcuts is here to save your bacon (and your Brussel’s sprouts, sage-and-onion stuffing, and so on). If you’re feeling fancy, you could even set this up to use with Siri, but today we’ll keep it simple. So, no matter how complex your Christmas Day cooking arrangement, Shortcuts will let you know when your goose is cooked.

Use Shortcuts to download YouTube Videos on iPhone

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download youtube videos
Shortcuts has no problem ripping and downloading YouTube videos.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Editor’s note: As of Feb. 10, 2010, the tip outlined below no longer works. However, we published a new post about an iOS shortcut that currently does work: “Finally — a YouTube download shortcut for iOS that actually works.” Enjoy.

Using Apple’s amazing new Shortcuts app, you can rip a video from YouTube, download it, and store it in a folder on your iPhone — all without using a computer.

Maybe you want to watch some clips on your commute without burning through your cellular data. Or perhaps you’re a language or music teacher, and you want to keep teaching materials offline instead of relying on your pupil’s Wi-Fi?

This shortcut can be triggered in Safari, and will save the YouTube video to your Camera Roll, iCloud Drive, Dropbox or other location of your choice. Let’s get started.