Breaking the Shortcuts

iOS 14 beta is remarkably stable and performant, but running betas always carries a risk that a subsequent beta version will break something important to you. iOS 14 dev beta 2 (and public beta 1) broke some fundamental actions in Shortcuts – Split Text, Combine Text, and Change Case.

Because I have several shortcuts that do a lot of text parsing, not least of which are my blog post and podcast episode publishing shortcuts and helper shortcuts, I noticed this immediately. It didn’t take much troubleshooting and testing to realize that these three actions now return nothing regardless of input. They’re just completely broken.

The good news is (also thanks to changes made to Shortcuts for iOS 14) it’s very easy to create a folder for iOS 14 beta specific versions of your shortcuts, make copies to that folder, and then fix them. Folder organization really helps with this because everything you need is in one place, it’s easy to spot, and nothing else is in the way.

I fixed Combine Text with a custom shortcut called (this may surprise you) Combine Text.

My Combine Text shortcut

Combine Text expects a list with the separator as the first item, and all strings to combine as the remaining items in the list.

Most likely it would be better to pass a list containing the separator as the first item and then another list with the strings to combine as the second item. I may change it to that, except I’m hoping I won’t have to use this for very long.

Split Text I just fixed on a case-by-case basis using regular expressions, although I could certainly have made that a separate utility shortcut as well. If I had a Split Text action splitting on the newline character \n (for example), I just made a RegEx with a capture group matching anything that was not a \n character: ([^\n]+)

Replacing Split Text with a regular expression

Finally, for changing case on text, I have an iOS app called Text Case that has great shortcut support with actions for all kinds of case conversions.

Alternatively, there’s a great app called Esse that has lots of text transformations and great Shortcuts support as well.

You should always expect breakage in Shortcuts with iOS betas, but never hesitate to do a little testing and troubleshooting when it happens. Often you can work around the problems to remain happy and productive.