iOS 14: 11 cool tricks your iPhone’s Shortcuts app can do for you now

There’s not a lot the Shortcuts app cannot do. 

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

It is easy to disregard the preinstalled Shortcuts app in your iPhone, just because at first look it isn’t all that clear what it does. Or perhaps it is that it seems to do rather a lot, and might be overwhelming. Both manner, with the discharge of iOS 14, the Shortcuts app has finally hit the mainstream due to its potential to create custom app icons

The customization choices, which embody the choice so as to add widgets to your house display screen, are infinite they usually’re certain to look simply nearly as good on the iPhone 12, which Apple will announce on Oct. 13.

We’ll go into shortcuts that may prevent time or enable you to out of a jam, and go even deeper into a complicated routine that kicks off a ton of actions if you say barely just a few phrases. Let’s get began.

This story is up to date periodically with new shortcuts and knowledge. 


The Shortcuts app can do nearly something you need so long as you are keen to get artistic. 

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

First, set up Shortcuts 

Step one is to put in Shortcuts from the App Store for iOS 12 or later in your cellphone or iPad ($275 at Back Market) (it needs to be inbuilt to iOS 13 and later gadgets), after which make sure that so as to add it to the Right now View Widget by swiping to the best in your iPhone’s house display screen and tapping Add Widget on the backside of the display screen. Lastly, faucet on the inexperienced plus button subsequent to Shortcuts. 

You additionally want to concentrate on “untrusted” shortcuts. Scroll to the tip for extra.


With just a little bit of labor, you’ll be able to create a customized house display screen identical to this. 


1. Create customized app icons

Maybe the preferred addition to iOS 14 and the Shortcuts app is the flexibility to create customized app icons. Mix customized app icons with widgets wherever, and you may create a unique home screen that appears beautiful. The method is just a little tedious, however in case you’re keen to place within the work, you’ll be able to have a completely customized look. Take that, Android followers! 

Learn extra about creating your own app icons using the Shortcuts app

2. Siri, I am getting pulled over

This shortcut has been round for some time now, however it resurfaced earlier this yr, prompted by the Black Lives Matter protests. After organising the shortcut, you’ll be able to inform Siri, “I am being pulled over” and your iPhone will each ship your present location to a delegated good friend or member of the family and routinely start recording from the front-facing digital camera in your cellphone. Once you’re finished recording, you’ll be able to ship the video to a prefilled contact, and add to it iCloud or Dropbox with a few faucets. 

Learn extra concerning the I’m Getting Pulled Over shortcut earlier than including it to your Shortcuts app. 

3. A spellchecker for something

Autocorrect is good, however it does not catch and alter each tpying mistake we make. See? You may copy or share any block of textual content from one other app to the Examine Spelling Shortcut, which is able to examine it for spelling errors and current you with a corrected block of textual content, after which activate the share display screen to repeat the brand new textual content or share it with one other app. 

Add Check Spelling to your Shortcuts app.


A spellchecker? Rely me in. 

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4. View Amazon Worth Historical past to get the most effective deal

CamelCamelCamel is a handy web site that tracks the price history of things listed and offered on Amazon. Utilizing this shortcut, you’ll be able to velocity up the method of wanting up an merchandise web page on the monitoring web site, and even get alerts when the value drops to your specified value. When viewing an merchandise on the Amazon website or within the Amazon app, faucet the Share button after which choose CmlCmlCml from the checklist of accessible shortcuts. 

Add CmlCmlCml to your Shortcuts app.

5. Set a Do Not Disturb timer for a break

Silence your iPhone for a set time period through the use of a Do Not Disturb timer. With out Shortcuts, it’s important to dive into DND’s settings and make changes. With Shortcuts, nevertheless, you’ll be able to enter how lengthy you want and it will deal with the remaining for you. 

Including to its usefulness, you’ll be able to run this shortcut simply by telling Siri, “Do Not Disturb timer.” You may as well rename it one thing like “Set a Do Not Disturb timer” in case you discover that extra pure. 

Add Do Not Disturb Timer to your Shortcuts app.


Shortcuts will sync between your iPhone and iPad. 


6. Low battery? Run this shortcut

When you stress over battery life, this third-party shortcut shared on Reddit will use your present battery proportion, examine it together with your predefined settings and tailor your system’s efficiency to squeeze the previous couple of minutes of energy out of your battery. 

Run this shortcut both straight within the Shortcuts app or by way of the Right now View widget. 

Add Intelligent Power to your Shortcuts app.

7. Create a GIF together with your digital camera

The Shoot a GIF shortcut opens the Digicam app, able to take a set variety of photographs (4 by default). After the final photograph is taken, it combines them into an animated picture that you could save or share. 

Use Siri or the Right now View Widget to launch this shortcut. 

Add Shoot a GIF to your Shortcuts app.


Utilizing Shortcuts with third-party apps is one other good use of the app. 

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

8. Create a PDF out of practically something

With just some faucets, you’ll be able to flip any doc or webpage right into a PDF that you could then save or share utilizing the Make PDF shortcut. 

After including the shortcut to your app, use the share display screen (referred to as the Share Sheet) from inside an app and choose Make PDF. 

Add Make PDF to your Shortcuts app.

9. Unzip and Save

Utilizing Apple’s Information app to unpack a ZIP file so you’ll be able to entry what’s inside does not all the time work. When you’re having hassle getting Information to open a ZIP folder and allow you to view and edit recordsdata inside it, then give this shortcut a strive. 

Choose the file and ship it to the Shortcuts app utilizing the share button. 

Add Unzip and Save to your Shortcuts app.

10. Develop a brief URL for security

Shortened hyperlinks can be utilized in nefarious methods to cover the true vacation spot of a URL. When you’re suspicious {that a} shortened hyperlink comparable to a hyperlink goes to take you someplace it should not, then use the Develop URL shortcut to view its true vacation spot.

Copy the URL after which set off the shortcut by way of the Right now View Widget. When the shortcut is finished working, paste the expanded URL into Safari or the Notes app to examine it. 

Add Expand URL to your Shortcuts app.


Sure, it is potential to create NFC triggers and actions. 

Jason Cipriani/PJDM

11. Step up your Shortcuts sport with Automation

Alongside the underside of the Shortcuts app there are three tabs: My Shortcuts, Automation and Gallery. To date, all the things I’ve coated has been both discovered within the Gallery or, after you’ve got added a shortcut to the app, in My Shortcuts. 

The Automation tab is the place you’ll be able to unlock much more Shortcuts potential through the use of triggers just like the time of day, your location and even if you full a exercise. 

However maybe my favourite Automation set off is an NFC tag. After I stroll into my house workplace, I can scan an NFC tag on my desk that begins taking part in the My Favorites playlist in my Apple Music account on my HomePod

The power to scan NFC tags was added in iOS 13.1 and solely works on an iPhone XS or newer. You may additionally want a pack of NFC tags or stickers. I purchased these NFC tags they usually work simply advantageous, as most NFC tags ought to. 


You need to use an NFC tag to set off all kinds of automations. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/PJDM

After getting NFC tags in hand, open the Shortcuts app and choose the Automation tab. Faucet the “+” signal after which choose Create Private Automation > NFC after which scan and title the tag you may be utilizing for the automation. Subsequent, faucet Add Motion and look by means of the varied system actions together with the apps you could have put in that help NFC triggers. I used to be stunned by the variety of apps I’ve put in that help them, together with one that enables me to scan a tag to open the trunk of my automobile. 

Apple does not presently have a method to share Automations like shortcuts, however the means of setting one up is simple to grasp and solely takes just a few seconds to complete. The toughest half is deciding what sort of automation you need. 

I like to recommend going by means of Apple’s gallery part of the Shortcuts app and including what you may discover helpful and making tweaks to personalize how your shortcuts run.

After you are finished mastering the Shortcuts app, make sure that to take a look at all the features we love in iOS 14. That features a healthy dose of hidden iOS features, together with a brand-new home screen and App Library.

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Tips on how to use Siri’s Shortcuts app


Be cautious of ‘untrusted’ shortcuts

As you start to make use of the Shortcuts app and search for shortcuts created by different customers, you may run into issue including third-party creations to your app. By default, your iPhone blocks “untrusted Shortcuts” — that’s, shortcuts which might be shared outdoors of Apple’s personal Gallery app. The reason being that shortcuts can get reasonably complicated, connecting to numerous companies and requesting entry to your private data. 

You need to be cautious when including shortcuts created by different customers, going by means of every motion and guaranteeing that it does solely what’s marketed. I’ve personally put in and examined a whole lot of shortcuts and have but to come back throughout something that attempted to do one thing malicious — however it’s all the time a good suggestion to examine. 

Earlier than including any unvetted shortcut, you may have to go to Settings > Shortcuts and activate the choice labeled Enable Untrusted Shortcuts

With that enabled, you will not be blocked from viewing any shortcuts, however you may be reminded earlier than including one to your app that it is from a 3rd get together due to an enormous crimson button that reads Add Untrusted Shortcut. When you see that button, bear in mind to take a couple of minutes and examine precisely what the app is doing. Not solely will that assist maintain your data safer, however it gives you concepts on creating your individual shortcuts. 

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Jason Cipriani