If you had just one automation wish for iOS14 / iPadOS14

Following on from @MacSparky’s mention of a wish in episode 50, and my iOS13 topic from last year, WWDC 2020 is now just around the corner; so what are all the iPhone and iPad automators lurking out there hoping will be coming to the platforms in terms of automation this year?

Q) What is the #1 automation related thing that you would love to see released in i*OS14?

The qualifying criteria for responses are:

  1. It can be as broad and all encompassing, or as nerdy and specific as you like.
  2. It must be somehow automation related and not just a general i*OS feature.
  3. There must be at least some vague chance of it or some aspect of it happening in i*OS14 - *seriously, whilst “actual lightsaber mode” would be cool I can exclusively reveal, yet again, that it isn’t going to be in this year’s release :wink:
  4. If you really can’t pick between a few different things … automate yourself a random number generator or flip a coin and select just one. The fates of automation will make the decision for you!

SERIOUSLY, just ONE choice, otherwise it’s just too easy to reel off a top three!

Once again, I’m looking forward to reading people’s ideas and seeing what folks are mulling over. :nerd_face:


I want Shortcuts to have access to the current Safari page. Something similar to AppleScript’s

tell application "Safari" to get xxx from front document

I have wanted this since Shortcuts was Workflow.


All Shortcuts need to be able to run without user confirmation, whether that’s based on time, location triggers, etc.

It doesn’t have to be the default, but there ought to be a “I know what I’m doing” switch that allows me to do this.


File access beyond /iCloud Drive/Shortcuts/


Interesting topic, lots of good suggestions already and really hard to pick just one !

I think I’d go with

  1. Richer programming constructs for creating complex shortcuts such as…
    • Switch statements
    • Do While loops
    • Dot notation for setting values in nested dictionaries

This narrowly beat

  1. Richer native Shortcuts actions for capturing user input and presenting output
  2. Better organisational capabilities for Shortcuts (folders, tags)
  3. Fewer Shortcuts bugs at launch than iOS 13

P.S. re the lightsaber thing, nobody really knows what that U1 chip is for, there is always hope :candle:

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Err, that’s a top 4 not just a top 1 :roll_eyes:

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macOS style system events for iOS

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The student excuse
I was always taught to show my working.

The consultant excuse
It’s actually a preferred option and a list of rejected alternatives, which we felt it essential to document for future context even though that meant the report took twice as long. Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, here’s our invoice for the hours worked on the project.

The Katharine Hepburn excuse
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”

The Star Wars excuse
“This Is A Rebellion, Isn’t It? I Rebel.”


The ability to toggle on and off VPN.
So…When BBC Player is open turn on VPN.
Toolbox pro has “Is VPN connected” I use that to trigger opening Express VPN when ever I open BBC Player only if my VPN is not on. But to have it trigger on would be better.

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Care to share the basics of how you made that shortcut so far?

I think being able to trigger it on a per-app basis might well be possible. It’s been a fair few years since I researched some of the mobile device management options for iOS for a client project at work, but you can use the Apple Configurator to specify a per app VPN “payload” for a configuration profile.


But Apple presumably could make this a lot easier to do :wink:

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I didn’t want to mention this earlier as it is in beta, and I wasn’t sure how open discussion was on the features, but since @mralexhay has now mentioned it on another thread I feel okay pointing out that bookmarking (like in Scriptable) is coming to his app, Toolbox Pro, and might scratch some if not all of that itch.



Here you go.

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Thanks! I’ll check it out.

Still, it’s something that I think should be native.

What would be great if Express VPN had Shortcut actions that not only open the VPN but you could configure what location you want to use depending on the app you open.

  1. No notification when running shortcuts.
  2. Change wallpaper.
  3. Fix screen sharing bug (Never works)
  4. App integration for triggers, for example when a mail with X content arrives, when Apple music plays certain song etc, the possiblities are endless.

Just to highlight once again that the point is that folks only choose one, and only one thing each.

Arguments against the purpose are up against what is pretty irrefutable mathematics. The universally confirmed and quantifiable value of 1 :joy:

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More and deeper options in Homekit automations please.
Things like delays, persistent variables and such…

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To name my automations.

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Seems I can check off 50% of point one and four.