#ShotOniPhone Shortcut

Today, Greg Pierce posted a tweet about the new #ShotOniPhone Challenge:

Rene Ritchie followed up with this tweet:

And my reply:

When I first saw Rene’s tweet, I knew he was being snarky. However, my first thought went to Shortcuts when I saw it (hence my tweet). Renaming of files on iOS is a perfect use case of Shortcuts. But rather than stop at just simply renaming a file, it’s possible to submit the entry all with a couple of taps on iOS. And now that I’ve said that you can do it with Shortcuts, I figured I should make one if I’m going to put out the thought. So, with a little bit of work, I created the #ShotOniPhone shortcut.

When you install it, you’ll be prompted to input your first and last names: these items are required for the file name if you are going to email in the submission. Once you’ve entered that information, you can either run this as a stand alone shortcut or as an extension from the Photos app.

The first part of the action checks to see if any images were input, and if not, prompts you to select an image; I’ve used this little block countless times in other shortcuts, and copied the same method here. Next, you’ll be prompted for an image caption to go with the perfect #ShotOniPhone image. Then, the image will be given a new file name – which Apple requires for the email submission portion – using the dictionary items you were prompted for when first installing the shortcut and pulling the device type from the image metadata itself.1

Finally, there are a few options for submission: Twitter, Instagram, or email.2 You’ll select which one you would like to choose, and follow the steps from there. (For the Instagram step, it is important to note that the caption is copied to the clipboard and you will have to manually paste it in caption area of the app.) Each method passes the image in its full resolution to the application of choice; I’d recommend email as the first submission, as Twitter and Instagram will likely compress the image.

And that’s it! This shortcut may seem complex, but it’s really simple to run once you get it installed. Not only does it rename the photo for you, it also helps you submit your photo to the challenge. Now anyone can shoot and submit to this #ShotOniPhone Challenge, all from their iPhone. Turns Out™, you don’t need a Mac to do it after all…


  1. This was suggested by Thomas Verschoren, and I’ve updated the shortcut to reflect this. Thanks for the suggestion! 
  2. Weibo is also a part of this, but I don’t have the ability to add the action. So… maybe someone else can add it. 

Fantastically Good Parsers for Drafts

One of the small, but powerful for which I use Drafts is sending multiple events to my calendars. And for a long time, I’ve used the power of Drafts’ automation to send those events to my calendar via Fantastical.

That is until Peter Davison-Reiber created something amazing.

The great thing about using Fantastical for this purpose is the natural language parsing capabilities: I can simply type out a calendar event the way I need to type it, and it will populate it for me. But thanks to the incredible scripting capabilities in Drafts 5, it is possible to create the date and time parsing aspects – the part where Fantastical excels – and put that right into an action in Drafts.

The end result is as advertised – fantastically good. Not only does it replicate the way I input events into my calendar, but it does it even faster now that it’s all native in Drafts. There is no longer a back-and-forth dance with the action to create multiple events. It runs quickly, and I can move along with what I was working on when it is completed. I can also include locations and durations as well. I can even use the calendar shortcut syntax (example: /w for my work calendar) with the action. It is a really robust solution.1

And if that wasn’t enough, Peter requested the changed in Drafts 5.3 which provide the same parsing for reminders as well, which replaces the other aspect of Fantastical for me. You can include the level of priority denoted by exclamation marks ! and use the reminder list denoted by the same shortcut syntax as the calendar (/inbox).

These two actions are what I had envisioned in the GTD module of my review. This is a case where I knew that they were going to be possible, but I do not have the technical knowledge to create. Initially, I wanted to create one based on some unique syntax, similar to the Send to Things action. But what Peter has done here exceeded my expectations and is fantastically awesome.

Cheers Peter!


  1. There is a limitation of creating recurring events via the API. This may come in the future. 

Drafts 5 Review

My review of Drafts is out. But it’s not here, not exactly anyway…

Drafts 5: The MacStories Review

I reached out to Federico a year ago and asked if he had anyone slated to write the review.1 I suggested to him that I would like to write it for MacStories, that I would be happy to do so. It wasn’t long before he responded “yes, let’s do this”.

It was an amazing experience. As the production of the review progressed, that feeling only increased. The entire Team at MacStories has been delightful to work with, and I couldn’t be happier than I am now with everything that has transpired over the past few months. It has been an honor to work with that team!

Writing while Greg was developing Drafts 5 through the beta process was a valuable insight into app development. It is rare to directly see the careful consideration an app developer makes when rolling out new features. Using the Slack channel as a sounding board, he would often listen to the suggestions being made; if he ever thought it was the wrong thing to do, he would state why instead of just “no”. I know he has more planned for the future, and I’ll be sure to follow-up when he does.

You can read the review at the link above. And if you aren’t a member of Club MacStories, you should sign up: there’s an ePub version of this as well.

Thanks again to Federico and the team at MacStories for giving me the opportunity to write for them, and for you the readers. This has been a labor of love for me, and I hope that shows through in the review.

Thanks to all of you for reading!


  1. I cannot believe that it has been a year.