Check out iOS 13’s amazing NFC-triggered Shortcuts

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nfc shortcuts
These little NFC tags are discreet enough to stick anywhere.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Shortcuts has gotten so many amazing new tricks in iOS 13 that it’s going to take a while for us to cover them all. So, how about starting with the new NFC automations? This lets you tap your sleeping iPhone onto an NFC sticker or tag, and your iPhone will run a shortcut. This is pretty amazing, because you can walk around you home (or office), and just tap your iPhone onto objects to perform tasks: open apps, set timers, play music, dim the lights — in fact, you can do anything a regular shortcut can do.

Here are two great examples of using NFC shortcuts in iOS 13.

Best new (and returning) features in iOS 13.1 beta 1

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iOS 13.1 beta 1 adds Books reading goal, brings back almost every feature dropped in previous betas.
iOS 13.1 beta 1 brings back almost every cool feature dropped from previous betas.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Surprisingly, iOS 13.1 is already in beta. It looks like Apple’s release strategy this year is to freeze the current beta version of iOS 13.0 in order to get it ready for the new iPhones expected on September 10. Meanwhile, Apple continues to test the next version, adding back some features removed during the beta period — Shortcuts automations, for example.

So, what other new (or revived) features will you find in iOS 13.1 beta 1?

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
Users can't wait to get their hands on 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.