Find out how to create a media launcher with Shortcuts

Shortcuts has confirmed to be a superb software for productiveness and on a regular basis duties, however what about leisure? Once I sit again and chill out within the evenings with my iPad, I usually discover myself desirous to binge a number of episodes of a favourite present, or placed on a favourite film. The Shortcuts app helps me work and care for life’s little duties — can it entertain me, too?

Seems, sure, it may possibly. There are a number of methods you should utilize Shortcuts for every thing from taking part in music to leaping to your favourite TV present on Netflix. We’ll be specializing in the latter means on this information by constructing a media launcher.

Impressed by the work of Federico Viticci of MacStories and his Apple TV+ Launcher, I’ve created a few comparable shortcuts that I discover notably helpful once I wish to watch a specific favourite present or film. These shortcuts make the most of the Dictionary motion in Shortcuts, in addition to a number of different scripting capabilities.

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What’s a dictionary in Shortcuts?

Whereas each a part of these shortcuts is essential, the central piece of the puzzle is the dictionary. Just like the dictionary for a language, a dictionary in Shortcuts is break up into phrases, or keys, and definitions, or key values. If you select the Dictionary motion from the Scripting part when constructing your shortcut, you will be requested to decide on what kind of worth so as to add to your dictionary (on this case, you will wish to select Textual content). When that occurs, you will see a brand new row added to your dictionary, with a clean “Key” and “Textual content” part, like this:

Each time you activate this shortcut, you will be given a listing of things to select from. The “Key” is the title of the merchandise that may seem on the listing, whereas the “Textual content” is what that merchandise really is, or quite, its definition. So, on this instance, ‘Stranger Issues’ is what you will see on the listing introduced to you once you activate the shortcut, whereas “” is the URL that may open when you choose ‘Stranger Issues’ from the listing:

We’ll now display simply how you can construct a media launcher, utilizing Netflix for instance. It will require a little bit work in your half to seek out the reveals and flicks you wish to watch within the Netflix app (or the app of no matter service you wish to use) and get their hyperlinks. Within the Netflix app, this is the way you do it:

  1. Open Netflix in your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Faucet on the present or film you wish to discover, both from the principle Netflix display screen or via search.

    Open Netflix, tap on a show or movie

    Supply: iMore

  3. Faucet share.
  4. Faucet Copy Hyperlink.

    Tap share, tap Copy Link

    Supply: iMore

The hyperlink to your film or present will now be copied and might be able to be positioned in your dictionary.

Constructing your media launcher dictionary

  1. Open Shortcuts in your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Faucet Create Shortcut or the + button.
  3. Faucet Add Motion.

    Open Shortcuts, tap +, tap Add Action

    Supply: iMore

  4. Faucet Scripting.
  5. Faucet Dictionary.
  6. Faucet Add new merchandise.

    Tap Scripting, tap Dictionary, tap Add new item

    Supply: iMore

  7. Faucet Textual content.
  8. Faucet Key to enter your first key. This would be the title of the present or film you wish to launch, like ‘Stranger Issues’ or ‘Intercourse Training.’
  9. Paste the hyperlink that corresponds with the key you simply entered into the Textual content subject.

    Tap Text, tap Key, past link

    Supply: iMore

So as to add extra gadgets, simply repeat Steps 6-9 till you’ve got added every thing you need. Then your dictionary might be full.

However that by itself is not sufficient. For those who attempt to activate the shortcut now, nothing will occur. That dictionary is simply sitting there, and the shortcut must be advised what to do with it. That is the place scripting is available in.

Making your dictionary give you the results you want

Now we will add the items that truly make the dictionary work. You will do all of this in your newly-created shortcut.

  1. Faucet the blue + button that sits underneath your dictionary.
  2. Faucet Scripting.
  3. Faucet Get Dictionary Worth.

    Tap +, tap Scripting, tap Get Dictionary Value

    Supply: iMore

  4. Faucet the blue Worth parameter.
  5. Faucet All Keys. This tells the shortcut to get the entire gadgets for which you’ve got added entries.
  6. Swipe up on the motion sheet.

    Tap Value, tap All Keys, swipe up

    Supply: iMore

  7. Faucet Select from Checklist. The Dictionary Worth will already be set.
  8. Faucet Present Extra.
  9. Kind a title on the Immediate line if you’d like your listing to have a heading like ‘Netflix.’

    Tap Choose from List, tap Show More, type title

    Supply: iMore

  10. Swipe up on the motion sheet.
  11. Faucet Get Dictionary Worth.
  12. Faucet the Key parameter.

    Swipe up, tap Get Dictionary Value, tap Key

    Supply: iMore

  13. Faucet Chosen Merchandise from the bar above the keyboard.
  14. Faucet the second Chosen Merchandise parameter on the finish of the motion.
  15. Faucet Clear.

    Tap Chosen Item, tap Chosen Item, tap Clear

    Supply: iMore

  16. Faucet the Dictionary parameter.
  17. Faucet Set Magic Variable.
  18. Faucet Dictionary.

    Tap Dictionary parameter, tap Set Magic Variable, tap Dictionary

    Supply: iMore

  19. Faucet x in the fitting nook of the motion sheet.
  20. Faucet the blue + button.
  21. Faucet Net.

    Tap x, tap +, tap Web

    Supply: iMore

  22. Faucet Get URLs from Enter.
  23. Swipe up on the motion sheet.
  24. Faucet Open URLs.

    Tap Get URLs from Input, swipe up, tap Open URLs

    Supply: iMore

And there you may have it. This Shortcut will now be capable to open the precise pages to your chosen reveals or motion pictures within the Netflix app. Observe the steps for naming your shortcut and you will be all completed.

By the best way, I do know this may look in intimidating, which is why I’ve bought a hyperlink to this shortcut proper right here:

Get the shortcut

Now, as it’s, this shortcut comes with hyperlinks for my favourite reveals on Netflix. However assuming you may have your personal listing of favorites which can be totally different from mine, you’ll be able to simply exchange the keys and hyperlinks within the dictionary along with your favorites, and that is all you must do to make this your personal.

Launchers for different companies

Whereas the launcher we constructed right here is for Netflix, it may possibly additionally work for different companies, together with Disney+. It is because hyperlinks to content material in Netflix and Disney+ will open within the apps quite than on the internet on iPhone and iPad. That is additionally true for HBO Now (although not HBO Go, the streaming service for HBO cable subscribers).

Different companies have confirmed extra troublesome. Customary hyperlinks for Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Go all ship you to Safari, and in case you strive changing the ‘https://’ with app URLs (hulu://, aiv://, or hbogo://), you will be greeted with errors or, within the case of Hulu, it opens the app however not the precise content material you wish to discover.

Any media launcher you make can work on the identical precept because the Netflix launcher, assuming the hyperlinks work correctly, so the simplest technique to construct one for an additional service is to duplicate the Netflix shortcut as wanted, then edit the titles and hyperlinks within the dictionary in every duplicate for the companies you wish to use.

Happily, there’s a workaround, as long as the app that you just’re hoping to make use of can show its programming contained in the Apple TV app.

TV app launchers

The TV app that comes bundled with iOS and iPadOS means that you can share reveals and flicks through the usual share sheet, which implies you may get a hyperlink to a selected merchandise that may open up the TV app. That is how the launcher for Apple TV+ that Federico Viticci made works: it hyperlinks to the reveals immediately within the TV app, and tapping in your desired present takes you on to it.

However reveals from different suppliers, together with Apple TV channels and third-party apps whose content material could be seen within the TV app, equivalent to Hulu, HBO, and even Netflix, will also be shared from the app. The hyperlinks from the app will take you to the content material’s touchdown web page within the TV app, and you may play it in its native app from there as you usually would when looking TV.

Here is how you can get a hyperlink for any present or film within the Apple TV app to be added to your media launcher.

  1. Open the TV app in your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Open the web page for the present or film that you just wish to hyperlink both by tapping on it or trying to find it.

    Open TV app, open show or movie

    Supply: iMore

  3. Faucet the share button within the top-right nook of the app.
  4. Faucet Copy.

    Tap share button, tap Copy

    Supply: iMore

Now the hyperlink could be inserted into your dictionary as desired. Be aware: in case you simply use the usual hyperlink that you just copy from the TV app, once you faucet an merchandise after activating your shortcut, you will first be thrown to Safari earlier than ending up within the TV app. To keep away from this, merely edit the hyperlink in your dictionary and take away the ‘https://’ from the beginning of it, changing it as a substitute with ‘’.


In case you have any further questions on constructing or enhancing your personal media-launching shortcuts, tell us within the feedback.

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