What’s an API?
An API, or application programming interface, is used to pass data back and forth between software apps in a formalized way. Many services offer public APIs that allow anyone to send and receive content from the service. APIs that work over the internet using http:// URLs are referred to as web APIs. On the web, you send a request to an API to get and post information.
All of your favorite apps that connect to the internet are powered by APIs. For example, social media apps use APIs to let you view and publish posts from their mobile apps. When you refresh the feed, the app makes an API request to fetch all of the posts. When you “like” a post, the app makes an API request to post that data.
With the ability to make API requests in Shortcuts, you can go beyond the data that’s locally available on your device and make shortcuts that interact with any web service that has a public API. You can build custom shortcuts to gather a large amount of data and display it however you want, or even send data back into the API and update the web service—if it’s possible in an API, it’s possible in the Shortcuts app.