Automators 11: Shortcuts Homescreens!

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If there’s silence at the beginning of the episode then you can either re-download the file, relax for just over a minute, or skip forward that minute. Sorry for the inconvenience!


Just an FYI, the nap shortcut link is broken. Looks like it was given a title but not a url.

Can you tell that my day was crazy? Sorry about that :laughing:

Here it is for people who haven’t read the post:


Thanks! No worries. The podcast and the videos are wonderful. Thanks for all the work you’re both doing with Automators.

For those blank Unicode characters I use keyboard text replacements like the attached


I would like to make something like @MacSparky has on his phone for legal and macsparky stuff. But I use week calendar and I have templates that I made that use certain emojis and certain colors on there app. Is it possible to incorporate this info into workflow?

Not sure if I’m the first to notice this but Spotlight can show a shortcut that is on the home screen. But selecting it fails to launch it.

(Yes, the shortcut runs if the item is tapped on on the home screen.)

Unless I’m missing something.

I rather liked the idea of accessing a shortcut via the home screen. Oh well.

@Martin_Packer I have noticed that also, and it’s weird cause it’s only certain apps / shortcuts and I can’t get them to work it seems random.

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I loved the idea of these contextual quick actions on the home screen, but the UX left something to be desired. In particular, I was finding that being left on the destination app or, worse, returning to Shortcuts proper really messed with my workflows—I always hesitated before realizing I had to gesture back out to the home screen again.

Fortunately I found a fix. I couldn’t find a way to do this natively, but it turns out that the app “Launcher” has a URL scheme for it. Just add a launcher://homescreen → Open URL action to the end of your homescreen actions. I’ll even save you that 30 seconds, though: here’s a Return to Homescreen shortcut.

The scheme is accessible without paying for the app, if you can’t afford to buy it.


I like the concept and I have made several. I like the way they react as widgets, but their behavior on the home screen leaves much to be desired. As a widget, the shortcut is very fast. On the homescreen, it takes too much time to complete the process. I don’t need to see the workflow. Just run the shortcut and get on to the result, just like the widget. If I need to see the workflow, I can open it in the shortcuts app.

Nice tip from Ryan, Ill have to try it.

The launching thing annoyed me a bit too, and its a bit easy to accidentally skip back into it, I tend use my own solution for most, which builds a launcher PWA to add to the home screen with a load of calls/texts/shortcuts/links so you can keep contacts/shortcuts that relate to one project under one icon, or just have a shortcut launcher, or friends group etc.

Speaking of Launcher, I’ve been using a similar concept to context senstitive Shortcuts, but using Launcher.

I’ve written a blog post to show how I’m using it to help me develop Shortcuts, but I think the idea might work for other types of work.

If this is off topic, or if I shouldn’t be linking to blog posts here, feel free to let me know.

I made a launcher with shortcuts using a menu. I watched @RosemaryOrchard’s video she made for this and she made a menu and then did open app option for her calendar and email. I just added the shortcuts from the apps I use, it still works fine. But does it matter open app or just use the shortcut that is donated?

It doesn’t matter which you use - as long as it works how you want it to :wink:

I don’t know if anyone else had this issue, but I created a shortcuts homescreen back when I first heard about it on Cortex, and then I went and put all my other apps into a couple of folders to hide them on my second page.
However I noticed that my spotlight searches are now very slow, and sometimes they don’t even work.

Does anyone else experience this?
I don’t know if it’s because I moved all my apps into folders (although I have since split them out into more folders), but it doesn’t seem to help.

Creating a lot of data URIs ie when creating home screen icons slows down Safari, deleting Safari history (or just any data:text/html URLs in your history) helps. I think spotlight also searches through your Safari history so might be worth giving it a go.

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oh, that’s interesting to know, I’ll go clear out my Safari history now.