iOS 13 and iPadOS betas are now available to everyone

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iPadOS gets a new home screen design.
They’re just not ready for everyone.
Photo: Apple

The first public beta of iOS 13 is finally available to public testers.

Apple launched iOS 13 public beta 1 and iPadOS public beta 1 this morning. The software gives everyone the opportunity to try out all the new features, like the system-wide Dark Mode that looks absolutely beautiful. However, you might not want to take the jump quite yet.

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.

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.

You can now use Siri to check up on your Apple Store orders

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Siri
"OK, Siri, where's my new iPhone?"
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You can now use Siri to check up on product availability or the whereabouts of your latest orders, courtesy of the official Apple Store app for iOS.

Version 5.2 of the app adds new Siri Shortcuts support, letting you create custom voice commands to carry out these tasks without having to open the app.

Deezer lets you discover your next favorite song using Siri

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Deezer 2
Siri will let you discover new music, via Deezer.
Photo: Deezer

Streaming music company Deezer wants to make it easier for users to play the music they want — by adding support for Siri Shortcuts. This means that you can now access your jam (as the kids say) by asking Deezer to “Play my favorite tracks.”

That puts 53 million tracks — including new releases, albums and curated playlists — at your fingertips at the tip of your tongue. And Deezer thinks it has the added secret sauce to make this extra special, too.

You can now use Siri to check up on your package deliveries

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Deliveries for iOS
Deliveries app just got even better.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Package-tracking app Deliveries has long been one of our favorite iOS apps, consolidating info on all our various package deliveries into one easy-to-use tool.

Thanks to a new update, it just got even better, too. Thanks to added support for iOS 12’s Siri Shortcuts, you can now check up on the latest status of in-transit deliveries using your voice. What could be easier?

How to translate anything with Siri shortcuts

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If only all text was so easy to translate.
If only all text was so easy to translate.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Today we’re going to make a Siri Shortcut that takes any text, converts it into English, and copies it to the clipboard. Never again will you have to struggle with a foreign menu on a web page, or a snippet of text from a non-English news site.

There are a few ways to translate text and websites on iOS, but this shortcut has two big advantages: It’s really, really fast, and it automatically copies the result to the clipboard. If you ever used the otherwise-excellent Microsoft Translate share extension, you will already be sick of having to manually select the result in a tiny window, and then use the share sheet again just to copy it.

The ‘best’ podcast listening app just got better

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Pocket Casts
Pocket Casts gets a big user experience update.
Photo: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts, the paid app with more than half a million podcasts, is retooling its listening experience. An update to the popular app adds Siri Shortcuts support, improved search and discovery features, and a browse-and-play option without having to subscribe to a show.

Enable this great Shoot Mode with Siri Shortcuts to take pictures in peace

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The iPhone XS is a serious camera, so give it the attention it deserves.
The iPhone XS is a serious camera, so give it the attention it deserves.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Were you ever in the middle of trying to get that perfect photo, framing it just-so, and tweaking the exposure and focus for the perfect shot, when your mother called to remind you of your own child’s birthday? It could totally happen. And for pro photographers using the iPhone as their preferred camera (which is a great idea, BTW), the risk of interruptions is even greater.

That’s why noted iPhone photographer Austin Mann came up with a great way to shut up your iPhone while you’re busy shooting. It’s called Shoot Mode, and it’s yet another example of how useful Siri Shortcuts can be — even in tiny doses.