Apple introduced a number of new features and tricks in iOS 12, including Siri Shortcuts. These are commands for regularly-performed actions that you can activate using Siri voice commands.
Siri will offer suggestions for actions to perform based on your past behavior. You’ll find these appearing on your lock screen or your search screen, but it’s also possible to create your own. This tutorial will show you how.
Some of the suggestions for shortcuts that Siri comes up with may be useful for you. Rather than waiting until these show up, you can find some of these suggestions in Settings.
1. Go to “Settings,” and click “Siri & Search.”
2. You’ll find three suggested shortcuts. If you want to see more, tap on “All Shortcuts.”
3. You can now scroll through some suggested shortcuts for apps that you have installed on your iPhone.
4. When you find a shortcut that you want to use, tap on the “+” button.
5. Hit the recording button to record the phrase you want to use to launch the shortcut, then click “Done.”
You can now launch your shortcut simply by invoking Siri and speaking the phrase you recorded.
The Shortcuts Gallery
If you’re looking for a more complex shortcut that combines a number of different actions and apps, then you’ll need to turn to the native Shortcuts app that comes preinstalled with iOS 12.
When you launch the app, it opens to the Library. You can access the Shortcuts Gallery via the icon at the bottom of the screen.
The Gallery contains a collection of ready-made shortcuts sorted into convenient categories. When you find one you like, click on “Get Shortcut” to add the shortcut to your Library.
When you open your Library, you will find the new shortcut. Tap on the three dots in the top-right corner of the shortcut to see the actions that your shortcut will perform. You can make any changes that you wish to modify the shortcut to your own needs.
If you want to add Siri control to your shortcut, tap the Settings icon at the top-right of this screen. You can then choose to “Add to Siri” to record your own Siri command. There is also the option to “Add to Home Screen,” which brings up a list of instructions explaining how to make an app-like icon to launch your shortcut.
Creating Your Own Shortcuts
If you can’t find a shortcut in the Gallery that does what you’re looking for, you can build your own from scratch. To do so:
1. Tap on the “+” icon at the top-left of the screen to create a new shortcut.
2. At the bottom of the screen you will find a list of suggested actions to add to your shortcut.
3. If you can’t find the action you want, type in the search field. You will find a list of content types, as well as a list of installed apps with actions available to the Shortcuts app.
4. Tapping on a specific app will show all the actions that you can perform with that app. Click the information icon to learn more about how that action works.
5. Tap an action to add it to your shortcut, and continue until you have added all the actions you require. You can press and hold an action to drag it up or down within the shortcut.
6. To test your shortcut, tap the “Play” icon at the top of the screen.
7. When you complete your shortcut, tap the settings icon in the top-right of your screen. You can name your shortcut, add it to Siri or add it to your home screen.
8. Hit “Done” to save your shortcut to your library.
If you’re struggling to create a shortcut that works the way you would expect, try looking in the Gallery for another shortcut that performs a similar action. You can then look at the list of actions to see how it works.
Quick Actions with Siri Shortcuts
You’re never going to be able to customize an iPhone in the same way that you can customize an Android device. Apple is very protective of their ecosystem and that’s not going to change.
Thankfully, with the introduction of Siri shortcuts, iPhone users now have a much greater level of control over managing regular tasks. They won’t appeal to everyone, but shortcuts can be a real timesaver for power users.
Do you have your own iPhone Siri shortcuts to share? Leave a comment below with your ideas.