Turn an iOS device into a Shortcuts server [Pushcut Automation Server Full Release]

Hello everyone,

it took me a bit longer than expected, but I finally got the Automation Server feature polished up and ready for prime time.

You can turn a dedicated iOS device into your very own server, running shortcuts and HomeKit scenes through a web API. No confirmation or user interaction required.

Find all the information at https://pushcut.io/help/automation_server

Here are a few examples of what you can do with it:

Automatically run a shortcut when you arrive at a location

Setup a background action based on a geofence or an iBeacon and select a Server action.

Trigger a HomeKit scene from IFTTT

Create a new IFTTT applet and select any trigger you want. Use the Webhooks service as your ‘that’ action and paste in the Pushcut server action URL.

Fetch the content of your Apple Notes into Zapier

Create a shortcut that fetches the content your note (Find Notes action) and use the Webhooks POST action in Zapier. Return a dictionary in shortcuts to pass multiple values as a JSON object in the POST’s response.

Serve a dynamic website from a shortcut

If your shortcut returns html code as text it will be displayed as a website in any browser.

Execute an iOS shortcut from a HomeKit automation

Convert your HomeKit automation into a shortcut and use the Get Contents of URL action to run a ‘real’ shortcut on your iOS server.

Add to Apple Reminders from Integromat

Create a shortcut that adds a reminder (eg: with Toolbox Pro) and use the HTTP module in Integromat to send any data as input. You can pass JSON as input and read it as a dictionary in Shortcuts.

I really hope a few of you find this useful, as I would love to continue working on the Automation Server. My plans are to add the following features to fully do it justice:

  • a “crontab” feature inside Pushcut Automation Server (ie: scheduled shortcuts, like “every 5 minutes”)
  • a “delayed” feature (eg: run this shortcut in 15 minutes)
  • Shortcuts actions to run or schedule “Pushcut Server Actions” from shortcuts
  • integrations for Integromat, Zapier, and Power Automate to run server actions

So, please let me know what you think and if this is something you want to see more of.

2 Likes

I have set a server on an old ipad air 2.

I must say pushcut is really impressive, I use it nearly full stack now: beacon/server/integromat. This is an incredible tool !

Thanks !

1 Like

thanks, I am happy it is put to full use : )

FYI - I finally managed to get the Automation Server Extended package out the door!

I posted all about the update here:

2 Likes

I was going to set this up on an old iPad mini, but the latest version of iOS it can run is iOS 12.

All my other devices are in iOS 13, so use a newer shortcuts format than on iOS 12, so I take it that it wouldn’t be able to run shortcuts created on my other iOS devices. Is that correct? (Or does this automation server magically workaround that?)

Also, I don’t suppose we’ll be able to use an Apple TV as a server in the future (in the same way it can be used for HomeKit), or run something in a Docker container or something other than an iOS device in the future? (Wishful thinking? :slightly_smiling_face: )

It would open up many opportunities if Apple developed a full version of Shortcuts on the Mac.

Steve Troughton-Smith famously demo’d something he put together with existing APIS last year.

Then we’ve got Catalyst paving the way for third party apps from another platform. If only it was easy to bring their Shortcuts heritage with them…

Hopefully there will be a tipping point in the next big OS update; but only Apple knows.

3 Likes

unfortunately, you are right in your assumptions.

iOS 12 cannot run iOS 13 shortcut actions, no magic in the world can make that happen :wink:

and currently, iOS is the only OS that can run shortcuts - and then only in the foreground. HomeKit could theoretically be done on tvOS, but also would have to have an app running in the foreground - does not seem feasible to me…

1 Like

Yeah, as I suspected. Thanks anyway for the confirmation.

I want the server to be as much set and forget as possible. If I had a device that only had PushCut installed, and running in the foreground, left untouched, should I expected it to stay in the foreground “forever” (months at a time?).
Wife acceptance factor will be quiet low if this is something that requires “rebooting” often.

hi, Pushcut developer here, and I would love to hear these reports as well!

from the feedback I got so far my impression is that the server only really gets in trouble when Shortcuts is stuck in some flakey app’s action. once you have a set of stable, never failing server shortcuts things should run pretty smoothly…

make sure you have automatic updates, calls or other potentially interrupting things like that turned off.

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Thanks, I’m in the process of having to replace my SmartThings Hub, and may look to off load some of the tasks to PushCut.

cool. let us know how it goes ; )