iOS 13’s NFC triggers bring Shortcuts to the real world

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With NFC shortcuts in iOS 13, this speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
This speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iOS 13 Shortcuts app brings plenty of radical changes — automatic scheduled and location-based shortcuts, for example — but one super-neat new feature will make a world of difference. Now, if you have a compatible iPhone, you can combine NFC tags with Shortcuts. That is, you can run any shortcut just by tapping your iPhone onto an NFC sticker.

Seriously. Pretty wild, right? You could tap your iPhone onto a sticker atop a speaker in your kitchen, and it would start playing the radio, for instance. Let’s check out how NFC shortcuts will work.

Overcast comes to Mac in impressive Marzipan concept

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Overcast running on macOS
Marzipan is going to bring some great apps to the Mac when it launches.
Screenshot: Steven Troughton-Smith

At WWDC last year, Apple shared a glimpse at the future of macOS. With their “Sneak Peek” of a framework, codenamed Marzipan, they previewed how macOS could support iOS apps in the future.

In macOS Mojave, Apple included a small set of “marzipan” apps – News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home – but the thing most people want to see is their favorite iOS apps on the Mac. Thanks to iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith, we’ve started to get a pretty interesting idea.

How to share podcast clips with Overcast

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Overcast clip sharing
Share podcast clips in Overcast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’re listening to an awesome podcast, and one of the hosts makes a super-smart point about a fascinating subject. It’s so good that you just want to share it with people. But how? Tweet a link to the podcast along with a timecode so folks can hunt down that pithy quip themselves? Good luck! People on Twitter are too lazy to… well, they’re just too lazy.

But if you use the Overcast podcast player app, then you can now share a short audio or video clip of any podcast, to Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else. It’s dead easy, and it might be the best thing to happen to podcasts in quite a while.

Best apps to download now for your new Apple Watch

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Best apps for your new Apple Watch
Apps! On your wrist!
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018For a long time, third-party apps on the Apple Watch sucked. They were slow, they were limited, and they often just didn’t work. Now, though, things have changed, and the Apple Watch is a fantastic way to get quick information and notifications, as well as controlling remote-controlling iPhone apps. Here are five great Apple Watch apps to get you started with your new Apple Watch.

5 essential apps that work beautifully with iOS 12

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Halide can now add custom background blurs in iOS 12.
Halide can now add custom background blurs in iOS 12.
Photo: Halide

iOS 12 gives your favorite apps access to some amazing new abilities. One is integration with the brand-new Siri Shortcuts, which lets you automate your apps, or to interact with them by talking to Siri. But that’s not all. Camera apps now have access to the the depth information from Portrait Mode, so they can do some pretty special effects.

Safari’s password autofill has also been opened up, so apps like Dashlane and 1Password are now available with a single tap. Let’s take a look at the best new iOS 12-ready apps already available.

Load any audio file into Castro by dropping it into an iCloud folder

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Podcasting is like radio, only way better castro
Podcasting is like radio, only way better.
Photo: Tom Page/Flickr

Castro, one of our favorite podcast apps, just added two really great new features that aren’t yet available elsewhere. The first is the ability to load any audio file into the app, just by dropping it into a folder in your iCloud Drive. The second lets you preselect the podcast chapters you want to listen to.

How to save any audio file to iPhone without a Mac

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We can do better than this.
We can do better than this.
Photo: Guillaume Flament/Flickr CC

Did you ever download an audio file to your iPhone, and then wonder just how you are supposed to listen to it? Maybe you have a few recorded lectures you want to listen to on a plane, or you have some audiobooks you’d like to listen to on the beach. The bad news is a that you can’t add music or any other audio to your Music app library without a Mac or a PC.

Since iOS 11, you’ve been able to download and save audio files in the Files app, but good luck listening to them. It’s like listening to audio in the Finder on your Mac, with no way to save your place, or really control the playback much at all.

But there’s a better way. The Overcast podcast app, which is pretty excellent in general, also lets you upload your own audio files, and then it treats them as regular podcast episodes. We also have a more complex method that takes a bit of setup, but can be used with any podcast app, including Apple’s own. Here’s how to use them.

Newton, Bias Amp 2, Overcast privacy, and other amazing apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This week we look at the amazing new Bias Amp 2 for guitarists, which looks just awful on the big-screen iPad Pro, we see how the Newton email app has banished the “sent” mail folder, we check out the new privacy features in the Overcast podcast app, and find out how to duplicate our entire Instagram history on our own microblog.