Limitations of iOS 14 Shortcuts

First, let me start with the fact that I love that the shortcuts team has enabled the time trigger to run without a notification prompt.

That said, after deep thinking and trying I have concluded that this is not the trigger I would have picked, rather the location trigger. Why do you ask? Well, most automation is not tied to a picked time constraint, it is a mix between time and location and condition.

Let’s say I am arriving at work, I want to change my watch face to work face, change default phone app to outlook, open work calendar, etc.

How would one go about this today?

  • Easy you say just set up a timer at 08:00.

Ok, but it is only weekdays.

  • Do an if statement.

What if I arrive a little later?

  • Do an if statement for that as well between two-time intervals.

What if I’m home with a sick kid?

You see how the location trigger is crucial along with certain conditions. I don’t see them building Shortcuts with this in mind today. The correct flow would be Location trigger work, between time, actions.

What are your thoughts on this? from my perspective there is still a lot of hacks to achieve what you want.

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That does seem to lack functionality lol. It would seem that we’re at least on the right track but still ~80% of the way there.

To solve the example problem, could you first check your location (perhaps another automation that saves your current location to Data Jar every x hours/minutes)?

Nested If Statements are never fun but they do work.

Thanks for the reply, Dillon! Yeah, I could set a timer to check the location and then do and if the location is work then do bla bla bla.

Thing is I am locked to that timer trigger like it or not…sigh. If they just allowed location to be run all this horrible hacking would go away.

Feel all I am doing is complaining but I am grateful since we basically had zero in terms of automation before.

With you there! I’m happy for what we do have because it’s better than nothing but we still have a large mountain to climb.

From my perspective, they are thinking through use-cases. Instead, they should be thinking of automation as a sandbox (like Keyboard Maestro in my opinion). Otherwise, you build features that are too tailored to only a handful of use-cases.

Too many automation based tools/companies do this…

Agreed. I think the largest part they have to contend with and are limited by is security. They do not want to release billions of spam machines and believe that is why you have confirm limits still on sending an email or a message. But they could set a limit on how many messages you are allowed to send within an interval to remedy that so there are ways around.

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Agreed. A rate limit approach could be the solution for both parties.