New to iPhone - trying to automate what I had in Android

Hi Everyone,

I am trying to create an environment that is similar to what I had in android, I could not believe how much behind iphone is, I have it now, so need to make the best out of it.

Just picking your brains…

There is accessibility feature to flash the led when a new notification is available, however, if I miss it, how can I know that there is something pending? iphone has no indicator, one must poll the phone just to see if something has arrived while he was away, or people are expected to carry the device everywhere…

What I thought is a simple periodic task that may obtain information about notification that are displayed on the lock screen, and if there are to flush the led, so for example the led will be flashed every 60 seconds if there are opened notifications.

Is this possible at all?

How can I run applications such as VLC with arguments? I could not see any interface in documentation that enables this.

I would like to send email message when there is a missed call and an email message when SMS is received with its content. I know there was long debate in the past that this is not allowed, however, I can see in ios 12 that there is settings->phone->Report messages/calls options with an option to specify extensions, of course I could not find any… however, this looks promising for a tool like Scriptable to implement these interfaces and trigger a script when invoked, so that the script may delegate the information.

What do you think? does it look like an interesting feature?


In general, thinking about the two platforms as functionally the same isn’t going to work. There is of course some overlap, but your automation options on Apple devices are far more restricted than on an Android device. The benefit in general (most but not all cases, for most, but not all people) a combination of one or more of stronger security, better device use stability, longer battery life, and in some cases, higher performance.

In terms of notification of calls and messages, ai think the idea is you would carry your device, or check for notifications. Your notification settings however will determine where these are displayed. Many people do not wish to have their missed calls displayed on a locked device, in the same way they don’t want Siri accessible in such a state.

There’s no command line available on iOS, so I’m not sure what arguments you might be referring to. Is this in Shortcuts or is it simply something Android specific you are hoping exists on the iOS platform?

For security purposes, you would somehow need to route calls and messages through external services and have those trigger e-mails. Effectively you would be creating a “man in the middle” scenario. The issue from Apple’s standpoint is that you are potentially sending private information outside of the secure(-ish given cellular networks) confined environment.

With regards to the phone setting you identifies that I believe is supposed to be constrained to third party caller ID blacklist filtering.

Hi sylumer,

Thanks for your response! I am well aware of the arguments, however, if I, as a user, wishes to forward sms/missed called to email, how come it is insecure? I define what policy do I apply to my data… so this entire argument collapse in face of me own the data. If I am willing to pay in battery power for this purpose, why should it be forbidden? I just do not get it…

The problem is that I have non-english locale, so I cannot quote exactly what the message says, but if you go to the settings->phone, you should find an option to access calls/messages and when clicking see there are no extension and a long description that the developer will have access to the phone number and message content, this is not the black list feature in which you populate pre-compiled list of numbers once, which is ridiculous as well, as the expectation of a database that can be imported ahead into each device is impractical for long run. Can you please find this option in your iphone and tell me what you figure out from the description and if this indeed the black list feature or something else.

For the notifications, I can only guess there may be some API to query if there are notifications or not (counter) without accessing the actual content, this should be sufficient to be able to flush the led once in an interval. The end-state would be a blinking led while there are notifications in lock screen… do you think it is possible?

BTW: Just found siri inconsistency… when invoked from an opened device, it mute sound and then after command ends it resumes, while when invoked from the lock screen (while opened) it “forgets” to resume… Not sure where does this falls… (Security, performance, battery or a simple bug…).


Choosing on a case by case basis to do something is your choice. Automating it carte blanche is where potential insecurity comes in.

In terms of why things are “forbidden”, it is because Apple has decided to design their systems that way. You have made the decision to go with that over other systems that perhaps are designed to work like that.

The phone setting I did find based in your description did seem to be for the blacklisting I referenced above - hence my reference. In terms of black listing I would expect app extensions would be able to query an online database rather than being forced to constantly import and update an on device one; though I suspect a cached version may be viable in some cases with periodic updates. I can’t say I’ve ever looked into it as I’m not plagued by robocalls or the like.

Everything is possible on the device if you are Apple, but Apple are the arbiters of what developers can do and they restrict it. it is not an open system. It is a closed one with integration points Apple choose to make available.

In regards to your “bug” I’m not sure what it is being resumed from what and exactly the way you are triggering Siri in each instance (there are options). it could be a bug, or it could be a behavioural difference for different scenarios.

Thank you for sharing. So I guess I am pretty stuck, I was under the impression that apple are good in designing human-machine interfaces, while if I compare, for example, gmail experience to apple mail, or calendar or even the keyboard(!!!) I am in a huge surprise of the lack of accessibility, I am truly disappointed.

Try this sequence:

  1. Open safari, paste a link with live audio stream, for example:
  2. Sound should be available
  3. Notice that siri is not responding to “Hey Siri” while playing… which is ridiculous… and also notice that when you press the button, it does not apply eco-cancellation as it start to compile the sound it hears… But this is not what I want to show you.
  4. Long press the button and say “hello” for siri to respond back.
  5. Notice that sound resumes.
  6. Now lock the screen using the button.
  7. Long press the button and say “hello” for siri to respond back.
  8. Notice that sound does not resume for some reason.

If you know how to play m3u8 in apple music or any other decent apple tool I will be grateful! Then I hope Siri will be integrated and I will not require to use tools such as Scriptable.

I was amazed that VLC is not working decently in iphone… and firefox does not support extensions as apple do not allow this, etc… In android I used vlc playlist with all my live stream jumping between them with back/forward, now I used Scriptable and integrate into Siri, as when I paste the m3u8 link into safari it does not record so I cannot set Siri shortcut directly… The human engineering is worse than I expected, as I cannot create siri shortcut manually for these cases it does not detect something automatically, and even if I put a shortcut on the application menu, siri does not detect that as an application so “Siri Open XXX” does not apply for these shortcuts… Again, unexpected…

Anyway, thanks for your feedback!

I tried that and Siri does respond for me whilst playing and I issue the verbal trigger.

For the m3u8 playback, I found several apps listed for iOS when I did a web search. I’ve no experience with any, but options look to be available.

In regards to UI design, I would suggest you take that up with Sir Ives’ successor. Apple obviously have a great deal of success and praise for their UI designs and accessibility approach, but they are not to everyone’s taste and they have had mistakes - misplaced skeumorphism anyone? But on iOS it is Apple’s way or the highway, unlike Android where it’s historically been open season, but in more recent years is tending towards a more consistent Google lead approach.

The fact that Apple people have the reputation does not mean it is for real, yes, they started and showed the way in the past, now when I look on the two systems, I must say that if I put ego aside, google are providing a better service with much simpler hardware. I am truly sad that this is the case, I did not expect that.

What ios version do you use that can trigger siri when music is playing? I have 12.4 and it does not work for me.

Do you think that at least the feature of having visual notification using led based on opened notifications is possible to reach using the Scriptable and ios capabilities?

I tested with 12.4 (16G77) on an iPhone 8+.

Scriptable isn’t polling the system constantly in the background and doesn’t receive pushes from the messaging part of the OS. So no, my initial expectation is that it would not.