macOS Shortcuts vs Alfred/BetterTouchTool/Keyboard Maestro

Hi MPUers, I just upgraded to Monterey and noticed the shortcuts support. Everyone online (also here) seems to be making a big deal out of it and I think I’m missing something.

If someone is already using Keyboard Maestro or BetterTouchTool or Alfred, all of which support executing shell/apple/js scrips and have other awesome hooks, what makes Shortcuts stand out? What would you use it for in addition to having these apps?

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The big thing for me is that an automation made for iPhone/iPad now works on the Mac, too.

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like which ones? coz mac doesn’t have the same apps right

Maybe because they are supposed to be so user friendly. I just collect them from the app itself and I rarely use them. I did have it generate playlists of the songs I played the most for each year in the last 5 years or so. I use those lists all the time. But for the most part, I forget that Shortcuts are even there.

And I’ve never written one. I haven’t even modified one. I may have tried.

But it will be fun gathering them and playing around with them, imho.

However, I did download Keyboard Maestro yesterday (or the day before?) and was bound and determined to get a few macros done, albeit hardly complex of course, and I was pretty proud of myself… finally. But I use to do macros many moons ago. (And I haven’t had a Mac in quite some time). In many ways, the Mac is an easier machine to use (although it can certainly get so very highly complex).

Better Touch Tool sounded familiar. Sure enough- I’ve got it. How do you use it?

And I love Alfred.


A lot of the apps are the same.

Anyway, check out for yesterday’s date- 10-26. There is a wealth of info there. And you can find Shortcuts that you can download to see what all the fuss is about.

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You can never have too many automation triggers. Nor too much capability.

Having said that, I personally would prefer to push function down into eg Python, or OmniJS, or Drafts Javascript. I like the idea of Shortcuts but I’m also not sure the cross-platform aspect will do anything for me.

Counterpoint: OmniFocus and Drafts, to name but two, claim equal status Shortcuts support on both platforms. Counter-counterpoint :slight_smile: their own automation already does this, pretty much. (Counter-counter-counterpoint :slight_smile: I found something in OmniJS that worked on Mac but not iPad the other day.)

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Ideally, the run shell script command on the Mac in shortcuts will get pushed to iOS/iPadOS as well! That would be the greatest of mergings of the platforms. I wouldn’t mind keeping my scripts in iCloud and running them in a sandbox on every device.

That’s just wishful thinking though

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I’d like that but I think Apple would consider that to be “out of the playpen and running with sharp scissors”. :slight_smile:

Maybe only scripts written in Swift Playgrounds :grin:

and editing shortcuts on the Mac is much more comfortable if you make something a little complex…

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When the editor works, anyway.

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that’s for sure :wink:

This morning I was playing around with shortcuts on the MacBook Air and I could not get two of them open side by side in a fullscreen desktop space :sweat:

I think it is rather cool that a lot of my shortcuts are waiting to be used in the Mac. I wouldn’t really want to start all over if I didn’t have to do so.

I’ve only created “Automations” on my iPhone, no Shortcuts, and I don’t see them on my Mac. Anybody know why or what the heck is the difference between Shortcuts and Automations?

You can find Shortcuts in your Applications folder. I didn’t know where to find it at first either. I am not familiar with Automations although I have certainly heard of them (they sound sort of scary because I don’t know what they are, LOL!).

I recommend just playing with the Shortcuts. They won’t bite or let you do anything stupid. (Just one reason I LOVE Apple). They started out on the iPad, you know. has LOADS of shortcuts to download. The Mac will say it might not be safe, just ignore the warning.

There are ones that generate your favorite tunes for each year if you have Apple Music. It is fun to download and collect them.

They are like macros. I think that is what they are.

But I need a useful battery charge level action. All I can find is one that reports current battery level.

The MacStories reference and link is excellent. Thank you for pointing it out!


Why thank you for thanking me!!!

I don’t know. I’m sorry. If I run across one, I’ll be sure to let you know. I can do a search for you. Nothing came up.

Automations are triggered by certain conditions, some of which that are tied to a device (e.g. when you arrive home, when connected to certain wifi network etc.), so you don’t want them to be active on all your devices to avoid conflicts, and thus they don’t sync.

Shortcuts need to be intentionally activated by the user, so no problem if they sync over.

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