Exploring Shortcuts App in iOS 12

Apple recently released the latest iOS version, iOS 12, packed with various features and updates. If you own an iOS device and your device is compatible with iOS 12 then I recommend that you update it. Although, this update brought a lot of new enhancements and performance improvements, the one thing which I really like and find myself using on a daily basis is “Shortcuts” app. Like any other app, you can download it from the App Store.

What is "Shortcuts” App?

It’s an iOS app which lets you combine a bunch of different actions into a single shortcut which you can then invoke either by tapping that shortcut or adding that shortcut to Siri by assigning it a phrase. Whenever you say that phrase to Siri, the shortcut will be invoked. There is also a “Shortcuts widget” which shows the shortcuts that you have created and you can use those shortcuts from the widget itself. You can configure in the shortcut whether it should appear in the widget or not.

What actions are available?

If you open the app, you’ll see that there are mainly 2 sections:

  1. Library: Shows all the shortcuts which have installed/created.
  2. Gallery: Shows the list of pre-defined shortcuts which you can directly install and use.

When you start creating a new shortcut, you can see a lot of actions are available to choose from and can be combined into a chain which is called one after the other. Here is a GIF showing the currently available actions:


Some of the actions that jump out to me are:

  • If-Else block (Executes an action if the given condition is true)
  • Repeat block (Executes an action certain number of times)
  • API call (You can actually call an API as a part of executing a shortcut)
  • Run Script over SSH Surprised smile

Creating a simple shortcut:

One of the shortcuts that I created and use regularly combines a series of steps which I find myself doing regularly whenever I go outside my house, like:

  1. Turn on Bluetooth
  2. Turn off Wi-Fi
  3. Turn on Mobile Data
  4. Turn on Low Power Mode

So, I defined all those steps into a single shortcut and instead of doing every action one by one, I can just use the shortcut to do it for me. Below is a screenshot showing the shortcut.

Going Outside

Remember, all you have to do is search for action which you want to do, drag and drop that action onto the shortcut’s canvas and configure it based on your needs. Also, when you use your phone, Siri will remember the actions that you are doing like setting an alarm or messaging someone on WhatsApp and you can find these actions under “Siri Suggestions” while creating a shortcut and use those directly.

Wrapping Up:

Shortcuts is a great app which can really help you in automating the tasks which you find cumbersome to do. All you have to do is find the things that you are doing regularly on your iPhone/iPad and if there is an appropriate action available for it then create a shortcut.

I hope this post gives you some idea of what the “Shortcuts” app can do. I encourage you to download the app and explore it.

Let me know about the awesome shortcuts that you create in the comments below.

PS: For the above GIF, I used the “screen recording” feature of the phone to create a video and then used a shortcut from gallery to convert that video to GIF Winking smile.