On Thursday, Apple released the public beta 2 of iOS 16, which includes a set of new actions for the Shortcuts app that works with Safari, Mail, and Reminders. These actions include searching for tabs, searching for tab groups, searching for bookmarks, opening bookmarks, searching for reading lists, opening reading list items, searching mail, opening mailbox, opening smart list, creating reminder list, and searching reminders.
These 11 actions are on top of the 46 that were added in the first public beta, bringing the total to 67 new actions coming to iOS 16.
Here’s more about what each of these new procedures do.
The new actions of Safari in iOS 16 are very powerful, and perhaps the most important that Shortcuts has had in some time.
For the first time, shortcuts can interact with all open tabs in the Safari app using the Find Tabs action. This action pulls all currently open tabs in the active tab group and brings them to the Shortcuts app, allowing users to extract the address and URLs from each of them and use them in their workflows.
With a procedure like this, Shortcuts users can create streams to save all open tabs in Notes for later from their favorite iPads, for example.
In the current application, the Find Tabs action is a bit confusing because it appears to be missing some filter options, such as picking from a group of tabs. I expect Apple to update this procedure in future releases with more parameters.
Shortcuts also contain actions for searching bookmarks and opening bookmarks, as well as searching for reading lists and opening reading list items.
In the current beta version, however, these actions also It seems to be missing out on the filter options that would make it more efficient. Users can only retrieve all items or filter by title or URL, but those options are missing to filter by bookmarks folder or by date, for example.
Also, for reference, Safari receives substantial updates for shortcut users in iOS 16, so these actions will all be great additions to the suite of Safari actions added in the first public beta.
The Mail app received two new actions in the second public beta: mail search and mailbox opening.
Search in Mail allows Shortcuts users to fill in a query in the Shortcuts app and pass it into the Mail search field, taking advantage of the improved search capabilities that are coming to Mail in iOS 16.
Open Mailbox is also very useful as it enables users to go directly to a specific inbox, a section of a mailbox, or a folder in the application. Users can make shortcuts to places like VIP or flagged inboxes, a specific account folder, or places like Gmail tags that sync as folders when using Mail.
The Reminders app also got new actions for Open Smart List, Search Reminders, and Create Reminders List.
The ability to open Smart Lists is great because it works with filters like View Today or View All Reminders. However, this procedure lacks the ability to open to by yourself Smart Lists, so you can’t currently open them to take advantage of any advanced tagging features. Like many of these, I expect this to be updated in future beta versions.
Reminders can now accept a query, then filter the results based on what you’ve searched for using the shortcuts. With Create List, you can also pre-program a title for a new list in Reminders.
These reactions are also based on the suite that became available in iOS 15, which added functionality such as creating tags or adding them to Reminders.
Get ready for the big iOS 16 release
The second public beta continues to bundle the Shortcuts functionality for iOS 16. The expanded capabilities in Safari are very useful and very welcome, and Mail and Reminders groups complement the basic capabilities that should be available in each of these apps.
Currently, the new Books app actions that were in previous developer betas are still not available in public betas – we’ll probably see those in the next few releases. Additionally, as I mentioned above, there are some areas in this current set of procedures that appear incomplete or could use more functionality. We hope to see these changes before iOS 16 launches.
Despite some flaws, Safari’s deeper functionality seems to be another indication of more powerful actions that can come in other apps as well. Adding the ability to search for mail messages would also be very useful, for example.
Stay tuned for more coverage of new actions in future versions of Shortcuts, and if you’re not on the test train, check out our latest story on how to get started with Shortcuts for your Apple Watch.