Technology

iOS 14 gives your iPhone’s Shortcuts app superpowers. Here are 11 things it can do

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


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It is easy to disregard the preinstalled Shortcuts app in your iPhone, just because at first look it is not all that clear what it does. Or possibly it is that it seems to do rather a lot, and will be overwhelming. Both approach, 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 embrace the choice so as to add widgets to your property display screen, are limitless they usually’re positive to look simply pretty much as good on the iPhone 12, which Apple will announce on Oct. 13.

We’ll go into shortcuts that may prevent time or allow you to out of a jam, and go even deeper into a classy routine that kicks off a ton of actions while you say barely a couple of phrases. Let’s get began.

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

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


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First, set up Shortcuts 

Step one is to put in Shortcuts from the App Store for iOS 12 or later in your telephone or iPad ($271 at Back Market) (it must be inbuilt to iOS 13 and later gadgets), after which be sure so as to add it to the At this time View Widget by swiping to the suitable in your iPhone’s dwelling 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 top for extra.

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With just a little bit of labor, you possibly can create a customized dwelling display screen identical to this. 


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1. Create customized app icons

Maybe the most well-liked addition to iOS 14 and the Shortcuts app is the power to create customized app icons. Mix customized app icons with widgets anyplace, and you’ll create a unique home screen that appears gorgeous. The method is just a little tedious, however if you happen to’re keen to place within the work, you possibly can have a very 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 12 months, prompted by the Black Lives Matter protests. After establishing the shortcut, you possibly can inform Siri, “I am being pulled over” and your iPhone will each ship your present location to a chosen buddy or member of the family and mechanically start recording from the front-facing digicam in your telephone. If you’re carried out recording, you possibly can 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 possibly can copy or share any block of textual content from one other app to the Examine Spelling Shortcut, which can 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.

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A spellchecker? Depend 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 bought on Amazon. Utilizing this shortcut, you possibly can pace 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 worth. When viewing an merchandise on the Amazon web site or within the Amazon app, faucet the Share button after which choose CmlCmlCml from the record 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 by utilizing a Do Not Disturb timer. With out Shortcuts, you need to dive into DND’s settings and make changes. With Shortcuts, nonetheless, you possibly can enter how lengthy you want and it will care for the remainder for you. 

Including to its usefulness, you possibly can 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” if you happen to discover that extra pure. 

Add Do Not Disturb Timer to your Shortcuts app.

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Shortcuts will sync between your iPhone and iPad. 


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6. Low battery? Run this shortcut

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

Run this shortcut both instantly within the Shortcuts app or by way of the At this time View widget. 

Add Intelligent Power to your Shortcuts app.

7. Create a GIF together with your digicam

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

Use Siri or the At this time View Widget to launch this shortcut. 

Add Shoot a GIF to your Shortcuts app.

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


Jason Cipriani/PJDM

8. Create a PDF out of almost something

With only a few faucets, you possibly can flip any doc or webpage right into a PDF which you can 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 possibly can entry what’s inside does not at all times work. Should 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 attempt. 

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. Should you’re suspicious {that a} shortened hyperlink comparable to a bit.ly 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 At this time View Widget. When the shortcut is completed working, paste the expanded URL into Safari or the Notes app to examine it. 

Add Expand URL to your Shortcuts app.

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


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11. Step up your Shortcuts sport with Automation

Alongside the underside of the Shortcuts app there are three tabs: My Shortcuts, Automation and Gallery. Up to now, every little thing I’ve lined 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 possibly can unlock much more Shortcuts potential by utilizing triggers just like the time of day, your location and even while you full a exercise. 

However maybe my favourite Automation set off is an NFC tag. After I stroll into my dwelling 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 flexibility to scan NFC tags was added in iOS 13.1 and solely works on an iPhone XS or newer. You will additionally want a pack of NFC tags or stickers. I purchased these NFC tags they usually work simply effective, as most NFC tags ought to. 

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You should 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 identify the tag you may be utilizing for the automation. Subsequent, faucet Add Motion and look by way of the varied system actions together with the apps you may have put in that help NFC triggers. I used to be shocked 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 at the moment have a strategy to share Automations like shortcuts, however the means of setting one up is simple to know and solely takes a couple of seconds to complete. The toughest half is deciding what sort of automation you need. 

I like to recommend going by way 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 carried out mastering the Shortcuts app, be sure 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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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 problem including third-party creations to your app. By default, your iPhone blocks “untrusted Shortcuts” — that’s, shortcuts which can be shared outdoors of Apple’s personal Gallery app. The reason being that shortcuts can get fairly advanced, connecting to numerous companies and requesting entry to your private data. 

You ought to be cautious when including shortcuts created by different customers, going by way of every motion and guaranteeing that it does solely what’s marketed. I’ve personally put in and examined lots of of shortcuts and have but to return throughout something that attempted to do one thing malicious — however it’s at all times a good suggestion to examine. 

Earlier than including any unvetted shortcut, you may must 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 occasion due to a large purple button that reads Add Untrusted Shortcut. Should you see that button, keep 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 will provide you with concepts on creating your individual shortcuts. 

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Author

Jason Cipriani