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.

How to create Dropbox-style links in iCloud Drive

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Cloud storage.
Cloud storage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you keep your stuff in Dropbox, it’s easy to grab a link to a file or a folder. Then you can send that link to another person or store it in, say, your to-do list so you can quickly open it with a click. You can even grab the link inside the iOS Files app.

But if you use iCloud, this simple task is no longer simple. In typical Apple style, a clean UI comes at the expense of hiding almost everything behind multiple taps and cryptic pop-up boxes. But all is not lost. You can actually grab a link to any file stored in your iCloud Drive — and use it in any app you please.

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

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.

Force Apple’s iOS apps to use Dropbox or any other storage

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Store your Pages and GarageBand files anywhere, not just in iCloud Drive.
Are you exposing sensitive data in the cloud?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I have a friend who came back to the iPad with the iPad Pro, and the first thing he started whining about was that there’s no way to create a local folder in the Files app. He doesn’t want to store everything in iCloud. Which reminded me of this great feature. All of Apple’s big iOS Apps — Pages, GarageBand, Numbers, and so on — let you choose where they store their files. The default is iCloud Drive, but you can choose pretty much any place you like, from Dropbox, to your iPad itself, to pretty much any third-party storage app. Let’s see how it works.

How to share Dropbox-style links in iOS 12 Photos app

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You can now share links to your photos, including photos of grapefruits.
You can now share links to your photos, including photos of grapefruits.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 adds a great new feature in the Photos app. Now, when you share a photo, you can choose to copy a link to that photo, and share that instead. This is a lot like sharing a file from Dropbox. You can even copy a link to a whole slew of files and share them by sending a single URL.

Shared photos are stored in iCloud, and the link is accessible to anyone that has it, for up to a month. Let’s see how it works.

Brand new Macs at risk of hacking during setup process

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macOs Mojave
Your brand new Mac can be hacked really easily.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s rock-solid supply chain might be churning out new Macs that are already hacked.

Getting a brand new Mac usually means you’re getting the freshest, most bug-free system possible, but security researchers have discovered that there’s a way to hack brand new Macs before they’ve even been turned on.

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Easily manage all your cloud drives from one familiar interface.
Easily manage all your cloud drives from one familiar interface.
Photo: iMobie

Dropbox gives some subscribers more storage for free

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dropbox
The Dropbox vs iCloud competition just got tighter now that some plans from Dropbox offer a lot more capacity.
Photo: Dropbox

Dropbox just added terabytes of storage to some of its offerings without increasing their cost. This makes its plans stronger competitors against iCloud.

The company is doubling the amount available through a Professional account to 2 TB. Business Standard teams now have 3 TB to share, up from 2 TB.