Shortcut to read and format multiple IFTTT notifications containing URLs


First thread so hopefully it doesn’t break any rules and my strange lack of online linguistic skills don’t get in the way. I ended up here via the scriptable app help section after trying it out initially being interested in the notification scripts. I think my initial thoughts on how it handles notifications are not correct but here we go.

I have been experimenting with Shortcuts since it was Workflow due to the ability to do some obscure things that most people have no need for with shared files or URLs.

In this case it started with needing to get a URL from YouTube of live-streams that aired when I was asleep. I wanted to try and capture it with a Shortcut before it was removed by the morning.

Eventually I ended up using IFTTT to get a detailed notification containing the title and tag information as well as URLs from YouTube and it would even save URLs that were later unlisted.

The problem I have is finding how to connect with Shortcuts and retrieve the titles, descriptions and saved URLs from the notifications. I can do it individually and click each notification and then share the URL but I am hoping there’s an easier way to get the saved YouTube data in one go. I have looked at trying to export the IFTTT applet data to Google Drive or something but it doesn’t seem to work like I hope.

Using Scriptable a bit I see it can read and write files and folders (Shortcuts can too obviously) but I am curious if there is a way to use the advanced actions of scriptable to capture multiple notifications then reformat them for use in Shortcuts.

I am stuck with IFTTT as it’s the only thing I know of that can save URLs in real time. If Shortcuts could run in the background well I don’t think I would need IFTTT and I know there’s recent examples of running it constantly but they seem to be a bit heavy or battery draining etc.

So I think I am asking if Shortcuts or Scriptable can be used to capture multiple rich notifications from IFTTT as a whole and then send the URL to another Shortcut.


I can’t imagine that notifications are the way to go here. As I mentioned in anther thread, the iOS security model isn’t going to allow one app to go poking around in another app’s notifications.

What is it exactly that doesn’t work for you in sending the same data to a file and then processing that?


I could be stuck on using IFTTT and making the rich notifications but I don’t know of anything else able to run all the time and catch YouTube uploads that even the YouTube app notifications can’t. I can’t seem to get the applet to write the same date to another service like docs.

The idea is to simplify the process of opening up the iPad or iPhone in the morning and then checking around 5-10 IFTTT notifications per channel. The applet saves all the information that was sent out at the time of the stream such as the original title and description and mainly the URL that gets unlisted.

YouTube has changed a lot recently so I needed other apps to gather notifications and get things that are hidden such as if the stream is renamed. The only thing that’s consistent is and always running is IFTTT.

I can manually click each one and send it to a shortcut but with there being a lot of different things to sort that determines what to watch first, what is unlisted or what I may need to download before it disappears, I would prefer using a shortcut to gather the information collected over night and then add filters to automate the whole sorting of notifications process.

I think the use of notification reading comes from the scriptable example that I presumed handled notifications in a more advanced manner so I think I got too hung up on the notifications side of the automation although the applet that’s saving the YouTube data uses a rich notification.

I know IFTTT triggers stopped back when it was Workflow but I can’t seem link it via a service like Dropbox. Nor am I able to get the same results from a different applet with a different storage service.

It’s probably because I don’t know what I’m doing with IFTTT and if I could find another way to capture and store the YouTube channel information in real time then I would be fine and could do the rest. Anyway I hope I am describing the things that I am struggling with in a way that translates to something that can be understood in a automation or script way. :sweat:


The trigger from Workflow to IFTTT want away, but that is the opposite direction of what you would have wanted.

I think maybe we need to see your IFTTT recipe that is saving the data to a file and an example of the issue you have with processing that. There’s nothing above that actually describes the detail of the issue you encountered with this approach.

I think that a file based approach will be your best bet and processing a list in a file (a queue if you will) is much better than manually triggering multiple notifications in terms of reduced friction and faster automation.


I uploaded some screenshots of the IFTTT YouTube notification applet which has multiple versions running for each YouTube channel I am monitoring. I removed the information about the channels and specific videos though so it’s a pretty basic applet.

After realising that I think the issue I’m wanting to simplify isn’t what I initially thought and I am likely trying to make a fix for multiple problems and blaming IFTTT. I think not managing to make an applet work with some sort of cloud storage service I then got used to using notifications which has then become a bit messy in terms of waking up to a big list of videos clogging up my notifications.

I think this lead to having to sort then clear notifications a lot which was the reason I was more interested in an automated way of grabbing then clearing the notifications that have now filled my iOS devices for a while then keep it tidy. The YouTube information would be better if it avoided clogging my notifications but I don’t have any applets that saved the same data and then was able to be opened with Shortcuts.

I also uploaded a new applet that is probably the best way to get around using the notification problem but I didn’t have any of the old applets I tried as I cleared out any that didn’t work with workflow/shortcuts a while back. Anyway I presume that I can write and append the same data as the notification triggers had to a cloud storage service although I am unsure of how successful it will be running all the time. The use of notifications meant that the applet didn’t have to rely on other things that may cause it to fail.

If it works out the only thing I can’t seem to find is a way to link and open the file in Shortcuts. If it would work with iCloud storage then I can see what I would need to do with a basic text file but I am not seeing the OneDrive connection for example. I am probably missing the obvious and if needed I could open the storage app and share the file to the Shortcut but I think it would be better to get the file from the Shortcut upon opening. The next step would be using some text formatting to sort the results from multiple channels etc and then choosing what to keep, clear or send to another Shortcut. The linking of services is the only problem.


You might want to consider outputting to a specific format to make your processing of the file easier.

For example, a simple CSV format would probably suffice.

The data you are outputting should be fine - though you didn’t actually give any final file excerpt so there’s a bit of an assumption there.

Yes. The choice to go with notifications seems a bit counter-productive. As I said previously, a file based solution is almost certainly your best option.

That’s now a manually driven task to exfiltrate the information from the notifications.

If you want to use Shortcuts, then Dropbox is probably your best option. Assuming you haven’t succumbed to the Dropbox ninja issue, you should be able to write to a file via IFTTT and access the same file directly (without manual intervention), using the Get File action.

The text formatting I think would actually be text parsing in order to process the results. This is where the earlier choice of file format will pay dividends. You could use a simple Split Text action with a CSV, or if you were a little more creative with your file format and wrapped the contents with some additional text, you might even be able to transform the file into JSON for direct access to attributes. Depending upon how your are processing the file, this may be worth the additional effort.

I would recommend processing the file sequentially and considering some sort of approach of marking a status (e.g. write to a completed list then remove from the original), to allow you to recover from stalled processing.

Assuming you can build a Shortcut (including any additional ones that may be required as per your comment above) to do your processing, then I suspect that the IFTTT recipe and using Dropbox as the data storage medium will actually end up being one of the most straight forward aspects. It should just be a case of setting up a file structure and letting it run.

Hope that helps get things straightened out for you.


I can’t believe how basic the whole thing actually is now :sweat: I think seeing the picture of the applet was what it took to get the use of notifications out of my head!

Anyway I have remade the applets to post the info to Dropbox and then hopefully it will just run in the background as usual and append to a text file in Dropbox. I will let the old ones run too until I am sure it captures the same data but then I can hopefully wake up to a device clear of so many notifications every day!

I do have a strange OCD approach to notifications and I think I got hung up on the idea of being able to clear certain notifications without having to even see them but I guess that wasn’t even possible!

Thanks for helping me out, I should be ok formatting it despite making everything else ridiculously complicated!