iOS 13 Shortcuts can automatically download new wallpaper

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Cheesy romantic photo on ipad screen
WTF SRSLY Shortcuts?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 13, Shortcuts has gotten some pretty wild new powers. It can run shortcuts automatically, in the background, for example, based on the time of day, or your location. You can tap your iPhone on an RFID tag, and it’ll fire off a shortcut. You can have your iPhone hand off a podcast from your AirPods to an AirPlay speaker when you arrive home.

And, as we’ll see today, you can have your iPhone or iPad download and load new wallpaper automatically, so you can see a fresh backdrop every morning.

Third betas for iOS 13 and iPadOS arrive for devs

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ios13
There's tons of new stuff to love in iOS 13.
Photo: Apple

Apple seeded the third beta build of iOS 13 and iPadOS to developers this morning, bringing a host of new tweaks and bug fixes to test devices just before the 4th of July break.

iOS 13 beta 3 arrives just over two weeks after Apple dropped the last developer beta. The first iOS 13 public beta came out a week ago. Apple also released the third betas of tvOS 13, watchOS 6 and macOS Catalina today.

iOS 13 finally lets you (kinda) replace Apple’s default apps

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Launch any camera app from the lock screen with this incredibly useful iOS 13 trick.
Launch any camera app from the lock screen with this incredibly useful trick.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iPadOS and iOS 13, you can kinda replace the stock Apple apps on your iPhone or iPad. For instance, anytime you tap the Mail icon, Spark could launch instead. Or, and this is probably the most useful, when you tap the lock-screen shortcut for the Camera app, you could launch Halide instead.

This isn’t proper app replacement, but it is a pretty wild trick for iOS devices. We use a new feature in Shortcuts to make the magic happen. And for the Camera app, it works great.

What’s new in iOS 13 beta 2

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iOS 13 has almost too many features to cover -- but that won't stop us trying.
iOS 13 has almost too many features to cover -- but that won't stop us trying.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The second iOS 13 and iPadOS betas bring both good news and bad. Unless you’re a total “thrill-seeker,” it’s still not a good idea to install these betas on your main iOS device. In fact, there will be far more spills than thrills: The code remains raw and buggy as hell.

I have iPadOS running on an old iPad. While this latest version seems much less ragged around the edges, many apps still crash. And I still can’t make the Slide Over apps hide themselves at the side of the screen. Nor do all my favorites appear in the Files app.

The good news is that, despite this, the latest betas offer several new features — and lots of stuff has been fixed. Let’s take a look at the highlights of what’s new in iOS 13 beta 2.

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iOS 13 has almost too many features to cover -- but that won't stop us trying.
iOS 13 has almost too many features to cover -- but that won't stop us trying.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Time and location triggers make Shortcuts far more useful in iOS 13

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Shortcuts iOS 13
This is Shortcuts in iOS 13. It looks great.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Shortcuts app is already great, but in iOS 13 it gets even better. You can still create simple or complex workflows to do all kinds of tasks, from downloading YouTube videos or setting a quick meditation timer to resizing a whole folder of photos. But until now, you had to trigger those shortcuts manually.

In iOS 13, your iPhone or iPad can run a shortcut at a preset time or when you arrive at a specific location. This is huge.

How to resize a JPG on your iPhone

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If only you could resize and share all pictures.
If only you could resize and share all pictures.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ever wanted to resize a photo before sending it, or posting it to the web? The quickest and easiest way to do this is with a shortcut. And it’s even quicker and easier because I’ve already written it for you. All you have to do is share the photo from inside the Photos app, pick this shortcut, and you’re pretty much done. Check it out.

Rumor roundup: What to expect in iOS 13 and macOS 10.15 [Video]

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holding iPhone with
iOS 13 could offer tons of huge improvements to Apple's mobile operating system.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

The last few weeks have been packed with rumors and leaks about what Apple may have in store for us with iOS 13 and macOS 10.15. With so much information coming out day after day, it’s hard to keep track of all the possible rumors.

Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled the full list of expected features coming this year to iOS and macOS. From dark mode to iPad updates, and new Mac apps to Siri improvements, here’s everything we are expecting (so far) in iOS 13 and macOS 10.15.

How I wrote a shortcut to calculate the length of playlists

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Shortcut sign.
Shortcut sign.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This weekend I made a shortcut that takes a list of songs, adds up the total duration, and shows it in a notification.

The first part was easy. The Shortcuts app has a great action that can tell you anything about an iTunes Media file (or any other media file), including its duration. I whipped up a shortcut to cycle through a list of music tracks, adding up the durations along the way. It took five minutes, tops.

Then things started to go wrong. The shortcut returned the total duration in seconds. I don’t know about you, but for me, a number like 4,166.867 isn’t that useful. I prefer something like 01:09:26, or 1 hour 9 minutes and 36 seconds. The problem was, I couldn’t get from one to the other.