App Highlight Shortcuts

Collections app

Look at the collections app if you are looking for a neat and polished way to create databases with shortcuts.
This app delivers its promise when it says and I quote “Collections is a personal database app to organize everything”.

Developed by the Italian developer Matteo D’Ignazio an Indie software developer who worked on a lot of web projects but recently also focused on native iOS apps. When I asked Matteo about what made him build this app he told me that there isn’t a universal solution for organizing and storing data.

Of course, there is Excel, Numbers, or Apple Notes but they don’t offer the tools the Collections app offers.
Collections offers a clean interface with powerful tools. Additionally it syncs automatically over iCloud and is deeply integrated with iOS and macOS.

User experiences

Now I know what the app developer says and what a user experiences can be different, therefore I reached out to Jerred also known as iBanks in the Shortcuts community. He was the one that pointed me towards this app and had some amazing experiences with it which he was willing to share.

Movie database

One of my collections comes from an old project of mine where I was tracking movies watched and progress from The 100+ movies all men should watch post by Andrew Ferebee. I began tracking it in the Reminders app and then on Craft Documents and now here on the Collections app as I like the layout and display of the data.

I am able to easily search and sort data based on what’s been watched, what hasn’t been watched and display movies in order of recently watched based on date. I also have a display of the percentage of completion rate on all movies but also going into the respective categories, it displays completion rate of that category and I can still filter and sort items as mentioned above. I also created a shortcut that picks a random movie for me to watch in which it pins that movie to the top of the list for easy access to read the description and mark as watched when done.

Movie database

Media purchases

One of my Collections comes from something I wanted to do for a very long time and that was to track all of my media purchases made to Apple to have an idea of the costs spent, where most of the costs are spent and to have historical data of the purchases for really no reason but I like the idea.

There’s a process in which you can request all of your data sent and received through Apple. Takes 7 days to complete and they send you a zip file of CSV documents of all the collected data. A great thing about the Collections app is that you can import a CSV file directly and it’ll create the Collection and all of the fields for you, then you can go in and make your modifications.

Using the formula functions of the Collections app I’ve been able to formulate the totals of all purchases and able to filter them down based on each purchase category. In the screenshots you will see that there’s a Store Free and Store Transaction history sub collection. Store Free is all the Free items downloaded that weren’t in-app purchases and Store Transaction is all purchases that had a cost to it or was a in-app purchase, including items that may have had a cost to it but was discounted down due to a sale or promotion.

The data received from Apple does not include the App icon so I had to create a shortcut that iterated through each item, search the App Store for the app based on the product ID and collect and save the icon to each app that’s still available on the App Store. This literally took 5 days of continues processing of the shortcut on my M1 Mac Mini to handle this task along with formatting the purchased date into an actual date format that works for the Collections app. And yes, the shortcut ran non-stop on my Mac for hours upon hours with no timing out.

Media purchases by iBanks

Shortcuts backup

One of my Collections comes from the idea of u/100PercentARealHuman on Reddit where he transitioned his shortcuts backup from a spreadsheet to the Collections app. Previously I was backing up all of my shortcuts sorted into their respective folders as shortcuts files on iCloud Drive. Once I seen what he had done, I incorporated a similar project but with a setup of my liking. I also save useful comments and posts from the Shortcuts subreddit with its body detail just in case the posts or comments ends up being deleted/archived.

Using the Collections app, I am now able to store the number of actions, filter based on folder on which the shortcuts are stored in and even go as far as running the shortcut or just opening it into edit mode inside of the Shortcuts app using the shortcuts url scheme and formulas provided by the Collections app.

Every Sunday at midnight I have an automation on my Mac via the Shortery app to run a shortcut I created that backs up all of my shortcuts for me. In the screenshots you can see how the shortcuts are laid out, the view in which is displayed if I tap on the Folders quick filter which tells how many shortcuts are in each folder and tapping a folder displays all of its shortcuts and tapping Backup Date displays the dates and number of shortcuts backed up based on folder.

Shortcuts backup by iBanks

In conclusion

If you are looking for an app to create a neat looking database for like any occasion you should download this app.
There is a free version that allows you to use and test the app up until 100 records.
But if you are really want to dive into it I recommend to go pro and dive really into it, the pro functions are worth the one time purchase.

Special thanks to the developer of the app and of course iBanks for his assistance in writing this article.

> download the collections app here
> visit the collections app website

Leave A Comment