First, some complaints about automating Apple stuff:

  • Why are there no Smart Mailboxes or Mail Rules on iOS? Why can’t that be synced through iCloud or similar? My rules only get run once I open Mail on my laptop.
  • The performance of Shortcuts on iOS 17 is terrible and I haven’t seen this discussed much. I’m talking like a 5-second delay between touch and response, it’s embarrassing.
  • Creating a Shortcut that makes a HTTP request is pretty challenging. There’s no good way to handle errors, so you’ve just gotta cross your fingers that everything goes 200.

Now, some praise for Apple automations:

  • Once I’ve fought Shortcuts and gotten my endpoints working, the ability to fire off arbitrary API requests from my phone is super cool and powerful. I’m writing this in Drafts and publishing it with a Shortcut. That rules!
  • The ability to compose Shortcuts together means it’ll be easier to add new commands that do web stuff, once I have some utilities to handle the nasty bits.
  • I haven’t dipped into Scriptable yet, but it looks really cool. I’m hoping that if I can get out of the mess of the Shortcuts app, I’ll be able to work faster by just writing commands with JavaScript.