Open User Profiles in a 3rd-Party Twitter Client with Workflow

Shortcuts no longer supports shortcut file imports and links no longer function. Any links to shortcuts in this post have been updated to use iCloud links.

Here’s a useful action extension for Workflow that will open a user’s profile based on a link in either Tweetbot or Twitterrific.

This works with either a link to a Twitter user’s profile, such as or a direct link to a tweet, and it doesn’t matter if the link points to the desktop or mobile domain.

An animated GIF of the workflow in action

It’s largely unnecessary to have the workflow ask which Twitter client you use, since most people likely just use the one day-to-day, so you should modify the final steps of the workflow to automatically open your preferred app.

For some reason, this workflow doesn’t want to run on my iPad with the iOS 9 Public Beta 2. I’ve tested it on iOS 8 devices and it works fine, so if you’re using the latest beta of iOS 9 then you may find it doesn’t work. But, you know, that’s why it’s a beta.


Backing up Workflows

This workflow is now no deprecated after the introduction of Workflow 1.3 and it’s syncing and “Get my Workflows” action. You can find an updated version of this workflow here.

Until Workflow has its own backup functionality1, it’s really important to make sure you’re manually backing up your workflows. There’s always the possibility that you could accidentally change or delete a workflow, have to reinstall the app or even lose your device.

I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t doing this, and had a close call when a workflow I sent from my iPad to iPhone didn’t work, causing the app to crash every time I launched it2. Fortunately, I was able to fix the problem but the thought of losing all my workflows motivated me to figure out a decent backup process.

Each workflow is simply a .wflow file, and the link that Workflow generates is just a web preview. When you add a workflow, you’re actually just downloading a very small .wflow file that opens in Workflow.

While Workflow does generate a link on demand that you could technically use as a backup, I prefer to have the actual workflow file itself, just in case there’s ever an issue with Workflow’s website (or they themselves suffer any data loss).

To that end, I’ve created a workflow to backup workflows to Dropbox. This does require a working internet connection, as it relies upon the link that Workflow generates. The way the backup workflow operates is as follows:

  1. View the workflow you want to backup and use the Share Sheet to copy its link to the clipboard.
  2. Exit the workflow and then double-tap the “Workflow Backup” workflow to trigger it.
  3. The workflow will use the link in the clipboard and modify it to point to the .wflow file.
  4. The file is downloaded, renamed using the format {Name of workflow} - {ISO8601 datestamp}.wflow3 and saved to Dropbox, under the folder /Workflows.

If you ever need to restore one of these saved workflows, you can use the Dropbox app to open them in Workflow.

Dropbox backup of Workflows

Some of my workflows are adapted for iPhone and iPad, so I’ve modified the backup workflow on each device to also use an appropriate /iPhone or /iPad subfolder in the /Workflows Dropbox folder.

  1. Another feature sorely lacking from Workflow is the ability to sync workflows between devices. 

  2. I was using Personal Hotspot on my iPhone but, for some reason, my iPhone decided to switch to a public access point while it was receiving the workflow. I’m guessing this corrupted it which, in turn, caused Workflow to crash. 

  3. For example: “Get iTunes Podcast URL – 2015-07-24.wflow” 


Reddit in the News

The London Evening Standard:

Reddit chief Ellen Pao quits after ‘sickening’ abuse and death threats from users

Reddit’s interim chief executive has resigned after receiving “sickening” abuse in the wake of the sacking of one of the company’s employees.

The Guardian:

Reddit chief Ellen Pao resigns after receiving ‘sickening’ abuse from users

[…] Last week she apologised for letting down users after Reddit sacked its director of talent, Victoria Taylor, who was responsible for the site’s Ask Me Anything forums. Taylor’s dismissal led to a petition from users demanding Pao’s removal that attracted more than 210,000 signatures. It also led to Pao reportedly receiving death threats from users angry at her handling of the situation.

BBC News:

Reddit’s Ellen Pao resigns after community’s criticism

[…] In a statement, the site criticised some of Reddit’s community over “sickening comments” made towards Ms Pao

The New York Times:

It’s Silicon Valley 2, Ellen Pao 0: Fighter of Sexism Is Out at Reddit

Ms. Pao’s abrupt downfall in the face of a torrent of sexist and racist comments, many of them on Reddit itself, is quite likely to renew charges that bullying, harassment and cruel behavior are out of control on the web — and that Silicon Valley’s well-publicized problem with gender and ethnic diversity in its work force persists.

A lot of people are going to be learning about Reddit for the first time through mainstream media, and this will be their immediate impression of it: a sexist, racist community that uses threats of rape and murder as a justifiable way to get what they want.

Congratulations, assholes of Reddit.


Open iTunes Store Albums in Apple Music with Workflow

Shortcuts no longer supports shortcut file imports and links no longer function. Any links to shortcuts in this post have been updated to use iCloud links.

Apple Music includes an option with its sharing menu to open a song or album in the iTunes Store if you wish to buy it, but there isn’t currently a way to do this in reverse. I still like to browse the iTunes Store, but having to switch between apps and perform a search see if an album is available on Apple Music is a bit of a chore.

Starting with iOS 8.4, iTunes Store links now open in the Music app, rather than the iTunes Store. Using a Workflow action extension, it’s simply a case of getting the iTunes Store link to a particular album and then immediately opening it. When the URL is opened, the default behaviour takes over and the album is then opened in the Music app. Now, if I stumble across an album in the iTunes Store that I want to stream with Apple Music, I just open the share sheet, tap “Run workflow” and then select “Open in Apple Music”.

Workflow to open iTunes Store content in Apple Music

Despite the new behaviour for iTunes Store links, it’s still possible to specify whether a link opens within the Music app or the iTunes Store by adding either &app=musicor &app=itunes to the end of an iTunes Store URL. I’ve included the former in the workflow simply to ensure links open in the Music app.


My Favorite Tech Support Story

Thomas Brand:

An elderly couple had sat down at the end of the bar with the tangerine iBook they used for connecting to the internet over AOL dial-up. When I asked them what was the problem he told me in a dry British accent that his computer was “swearing at him and saying the filthiest things.”

The Genius Bar is a great source of stories like this.