Also coming to macOS 10.15: Shortcuts, Screen Time, iMessage effects & other iOS features

Shortcuts, Screen Time, iMessage effects, better Siri, streamlined Apple ID management and other iOS features are coming to your Mac with the major new macOS 10.15 software, which will be previewed at WWDC 2019 on June 3 ahead of launch some time this fall.

It’d seem that macOS 10.15 might also feature support for iOS 12’s Siri Shortcuts, a feature that lets you create custom voice triggers to invoke your scripts in the Shortcuts app.

Guilherme Rambo, writing for 9to5Mac:

It’s likely that the Shortcuts app, a result from the acquisition of Workflow, will be available on macOS, the inclusion of system-wide support for Siri Shortcuts on macOS 10.15 strongly suggests it.

If true, that means that Apple could be aiming to create a cross-platform automation platform. While it would be super cool if iOS shortcuts just worked on macOS, I’m not holding my breath for that as of yet due to core platform differences between iOS and macOS.

Supporting the feature on macOS is important so developers of iPad apps can more easily port their Shortcuts-enabled apps to macOS, with the new SDK becoming available at WWDC. According to sources, only Marzipan apps will be able to take advantage of Shortcuts support on macOS.

So there’s that—the whole Shortcuts and Siri Shortcuts system layers in iOS are being ported to macOS via Marzipan. I wonder how that will work out.

On iOS, the Shortcuts app is not bundled with the system, users have to download it from App Store. It’s possible that the same will be true for macOS: users will download a Marzipan version of Shortcuts from Mac App Store.

Actually, I think macOS Shortcuts will be a stock app in macOS 10.15. It indeed makes sense to provide Shortcuts as a downloadable app on iPhone and iPad because iOS automation is, let’s be honest, a niche. When it comes to your Mac, however, automation scripts can do some powerful things so Shortcuts for macOS has always been inevitable, really.

Engineers are also working on bringing the Siri assistant on macOS closer to its iOS counterpart by porting over features such as the ability to set timers and alarms and ask about air quality, currently unavailable on the Mac.

Siri for iPhone is not the same as Siri for Mac, just as Siri for Apple Watch is not a carbon copy of Siri for HomePod because of platform differences. On HomePod, there’s no screen so asking Siri to bring up kitten images results in an error. But when it comes to features like Air Quality index, all Siri versions should adopt them at the same time.

Another major feature from iOS 12 that’s coming to macOS 10.15 is Screen Time. The feature allows users to see how much time they’re spending in apps and to limit the amount of time that can be spent in a specific app or category of apps, such as social media. Parents can also use Screen Time to set time limits for their children.

And let me guess, you’ll be able to sync Screen Time stats across platforms through iCloud and see all your device usage, including Mac screen time, on any device?

Apple is also working on bringing a new Apple ID management panel to System Preferences, including better support for configuring Family Sharing, similar to what’s currently available in iOS’s Settings app. Yet another feature from iOS that’s coming to macOS 10.15: iMessage effects like confetti, lasers, fireworks and others.

I really hope that macOS 10.15 brings feature parity to iMessage because, right now, that’s not the case. Aside from these effects, there are no iMessage apps on macOS which poses a major headache. The only way to account for all the missing features in iMessage for Mac is to provide full platform support on macOS, and that could be easier said than done.

The report adds that macOS 10.15 has been in the works for at least two years now, which is pretty interesting because prior macOS releases were on a roughly 18-month cycle.

Apple may have decided to spend more time on macOS 10.15 than on prior releases to ensure that the new software is as bug-free as possible. Another, more likely reason: Marzipan, Apple’s framework announced at 2018’s WWDC that’ll help developers port their iOS apps to macOS.

Rambo yesterday said that 10.15 will bring tighter integration with Apple Watch. Aside from unlocking a Mac like before, the new integrations are said to include authenticating other operations in macOS that currently require Touch ID or the password.

macOS 10.15 should also feature Luna Display-like desktop extension functionality—turning your iPad into a wireless display and graphics tablet for your Mac—plus new standalone apps for Music, Books, Podcasts and TV, a merged Find My iPhone and Find My Friends app with support for personal item tracking via Apple-branded Tile-like tags and more.

What do you make of this report?

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