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The Friction of an iPad for the Middle User →

Gabe Weatherhead at Macdrifter:

I don’t count bloggers and podcasters as normal iPad users. There’s a different kind of drive for these folks. Part of that drive is being able to write about their impressive accomplishments with an iPad. That will always take some of the sting out of losing hours trying to figure out how to upload a file to a website.

Gabe Weatherhead was writing about a post by Thomas Verschoren, who highlights some of the limitations of iOS. Weatherhead’s comment got me thinking about how iOS usually satisfies the needs of power users and basic users, but not those in the middle. Power users cook up workflows with tools like the Shortcuts app to overcome almost any hurdle, and casual users never run into those hurdles in the first place.

It’s the people in between who need to get over those hurdles, and don’t want to build a tool or workflow to do so. They just want something that works. The iPad won’t be a laptop replacement for those users until those gaps are filled.

Most users aren’t like us. They don’t want to have to build a workflow that, in their eyes, is a Rube Goldberg machine. Most of my automation workflows on the Mac are to speed up processes I can already perform without automation. Too many of my automation workflows on iOS are to perform tasks I couldn’t otherwise perform at all. 1


  1. Siri Shortcuts, not to be confused with the Shortcuts app, is the exception to this.


Finally Making Sense of Magic Variables in the Shortcuts App →

Dr. Drang:

All those green bubbles come from a single Magic Variable and its many parts. I’m going to show how to put them together—partly because it might help you, but mostly in the hope that doing this will reinforce the use of Magic Variables with me.

The introduction of Magic Variables in version 1.7 of the Workflow app was supposed to make the use of variables easier. Magic Variables never clicked with me, though, probably because I never spent the time to understand them. I finally grasp how to use them, thanks to this post by Dr. Drang. If you want to use Magic Variables in the Shortcuts app (the successor to the Workflow app), Dr. Drang’s post is a great place to start.


A Few Simple Apple Maps Tips →

Gabe Weatherhead at Macdrifter:

If I’m already following a route and I’m getting low on gas or caffeine, I swipe up from the bottom to reveal some new options. There are quick search options for gas and food.

I’m trying to reduce my Google footprint. As a result, I find myself using Apple Maps more than in the past. This post digs into some of the less obvious features of Apple Maps, such as avoiding highways.


Master macOS Mojave screenshots →

Jeff Benjamin writing for 9to5Mac:

After a screenshot is taken, you’ll notice that it doesn’t instantly appear on your Desktop as it did with previous versions of macOS. Instead, macOS Mojave has adopted an iOS-like system that places a floating thumbnail of the screenshot in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, allowing users to interact with the screenshot before it is saved to the default location. By adopting this method, users can quickly markup, drag and drop, and share screenshots.

The above excerpt covers just one way the taking of screenshots has changed in macOS Mojave. Apple has made the process much more iOS-like, and added additional functionality, including annotations and screen recording. If you’re a longtime Mac user who needs to learn the new features, or if you want a thorough overview of how screenshots work on Mac, the 9to5Mac article will get you well on your way.


Apple Frames: A Shortcut for Framing Screenshots from Every Apple Device →

Federico Viticci writing for MacStories:

When I published my iPhone XS Frames shortcut two weeks ago, I noted that my goal was to eventually support screenshots and device templates from other Apple devices, starting with the Apple Watch and MacBook Pro. After two weeks spent rebuilding the shortcut and asking Silvia to prepare several more templates, I’m happy to re-introduce my shortcut as the new and improved Apple Frames – a comprehensive custom shortcut to frame screenshots taken on every Apple device. Well, at least most of the current ones that the company is still selling.

Stop looking for a way to create nicely framed screenshots for Apple devices, and just use this. I used the previous incarnation for iPhone screenshots, and it was fantastic. I could lament the absence of support for the 15 inch MacBook Pro, but that would be greedy. This is a completely free tool, and a good example of what you often can find at MacStories, and its subscription service, Club MacStories.