Jason Snell, on Building Cross-Platform Shortcuts →

Mr. Snell:

As I’ve written about before, building Shortcuts is frequently much easier than building similar workflows on macOS using AppleScript and Automator. Now that Shortcuts is on the Mac, there’s no need to replicate shortcuts from iOS using those technologies! Instead, the same shortcut can run on both platforms. Problem solved.

Err… well… okay. Maybe not solved. While you might have rightfully assumed that not everything that works in Shortcuts on the Mac will work in Shortcuts on iOS—AppleScripts, shell scripts, and the like simply don’t exist on that platform—it might surprise you to learn that the reverse is also true. The Mac’s version of the Share menu is not nearly as sophisticated as the one on iOS, and the Share menu is a major launching point for iOS shortcuts. Safari’s automation interface is, similarly, not nearly as friendly on the Mac as on iOS.

But will that stop us? No! This week I’ve converted several of my shortcuts to “universal” versions that run on both macOS and iOS. Here are some tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way.