By Dan Moren
June 7, 2021 1:17 PM PT
WWDC 2021: My favorite features that didn’t make the keynote cut
Note: This story has not been updated since 2021.
Even with a nearly two-hour keynote, Apple didn’t have time to discuss all the new features coming to its platforms in the next major updates. So I’ve gone through and pulled out an even half-dozen of my favorite features that didn’t merit screen time. (But don’t worry, there are a lot more.)
Apple seems to be making a hard play at being your password manager with its latest software updates. In macOS Monterey there’s a new Passwords pane in System Preferences, which not only bodes poorly for the venerable Keychain Access app1, but also perhaps mounts a challenge to third-party competitors. You can even import passwords from other password mangers—though you can export too.
Even better, all of Apple’s platforms now get the ability to generate two-factor authentication codes and automatically fill them in when you’re logging in. That ought to make doing the multi-app dance a thing of the past.
Shortcuts gets easier for power users
In addition to making a much-needed jump to the Mac, Shortcuts has gained some benefits for all of its users. For one thing, sharing shortcuts with others has gotten easier—Apple says it will no longer require managing “complicated security settings”, which was always a pain on iOS devices.
More over, Mac users who are embracing shortcuts will not only have the ability to import Automator workflows, but also the option to enable compatibility with AppleScript and shell scripting, which will unlock a lot of possibilities.
Don’t remind me
Yes, Reminders gets tags that can get be collected into Smart Lists, great. But the big news here is that there is finally an option to quickly delete all of your completed Reminders, something which I’ll certainly make use of. What’s unclear is if you can set those completed tasks to automatically expire, but baby steps I suppose.
All of us who have ever left home without our keys or our phone can now sweat a little less. A new feature for Find My lets you set separation alerts for your items (either devices or AirTags), and let you know when you’re leaving your current location without them.
More like weCloud
iCloud+, Apple’s new enhanced cloud offering, will allow you for the first time to use a custom domain with your iCloud email, and lets you share that custom domain with people in your family group.
Also, in an uncharacteristically generous move when it comes to iCloud storage, if you’re updating to a new iPhone or iPad and don’t have enough room for your iCloud Backup, Apple will loan you the space for up to three weeks, so you can be sure to transfer all your data and settings.
Recognizing that people are using external keyboards more than ever with their iPads, Apple has revamped a bunch of features connected to them. That includes adding global keyboard shortcuts for multitasking and contextual menus, the ability to use the globe key as a modifier, and a redesigned interface for the keyboard shortcuts view that organizers commands into categories like File, Edit, View…hmm, where have I heard those before?
- Not that I’d be sad to see it go, you understand. ↩
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]
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