launch apps from the iOS lock screen

open stuff on iOS without apps, notifications, or distractions 🎯

launch apps from the iOS lock screen

I capture notes frequently and prefer to avoid looking at apps, notifications, or any distractions along the way: here's the shortest path to typing into some kind of note-taking app.

It's possible to customize the lock screen as of iOS 16, and we can use this to launch an app directly from there.

First create a script in Scriptable (for some reason this is not yet possible with Apple Shortcuts)—here's an example to open Shazam:

let widget = new ListWidget()

let icon = widget.addImage((SFSymbol.named('wand.and.stars').image))
icon.tintColor = Color.white()

Replace shazam:// with the 'URL scheme' for your app, for example: Apple Notes is mobilenotes://, Voice Memos is voicememos://, and Twitter is twitter://. There are lists at,,,, and You can probably guess what it is for your app or search for YOUR_APP_NAME url scheme.

You can also replace wand.and.stars with any icon from Apple's SF Symbols icon set built into iOS: has an online list where you can tap the 'SF Symbols' button and click on an icon to copy it's code.

Once that's done:

  1. open the Settings app and select Wallpaper (iOS users can click this shortcut);
  2. tap Customize on your lock screen, then Add widget, then Scriptable, then tap the smaller or larger format,
  3. once you the new widget appears, tap Select Script, change 'When Interacting' from Open App to Run Script, and change 'Script' from Choose to your the one you created earlier,
  4. finally, tap the close button on all the boxes (probably about 2–3 of them), then tap Done to save everything.

There are quite a few other possibilities in all that but this will be enough to open stuff from the lock screen without having to look at anything in your phone. Unfortunately not yet possible with web apps added to the home screen (see Link Capturing).

This might pair well with disabling notifications via the 'Do Not Disturb' Focus.

If you use Simplenote like me, you can also open a specific note by getting the full URL:

  1. create a new note;
  2. type a bracket [ and then the first few letters of another note;
  3. select from the autocomplete list and tap it to insert note link.

For example, if it shows [alfa bravo charlie](simplenote://note/7df07707b0744184b68224983c1b8c79), then the full URL is simplenote://note/7df07707b0744184b68224983c1b8c79 and you can substitute shazam:// for that in the original script to open a specific note.

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