Apple’s Shortcuts app automates common and routine tasks that you probably do on a regular basis. For example, you can create a Shortcut routine that starts playing music, disables Do Not Disturb, reads your messages and then tells you a joke — all of which can be triggered just by saying something like, “Hey, Siri, good morning.”
In addition to those types of personalized shortcuts, which are valuable, there are also more generalized shortcuts that all of us can use to save time. From checking on the price history of an Amazon listing to, the potential of the Shortcuts app is limitless. We periodically update this post with new shortcuts and information.
The first step is to install Shortcuts from the App Store for iOS 12 or later on your phone or iPad (it should be built in to iOS 13 and later devices), and then make sure to add it to the Today View Widget by swiping to the right on your iPhone’s homescreen and tapping Add Widget at the bottom of the screen. Finally, tap on the green plus button next to Shortcuts.
A quick word about ‘untrusted’ shortcuts
As you begin to use the Shortcuts app and look for shortcuts created by other users, you’ll run into difficulty adding third-party creations to your app. Be default, yourblocks “untrusted Shortcuts” — that is, shortcuts that are shared outside of Apple’s own Gallery app. The reason is that shortcuts can get rather complex, connecting to various services and requesting access to your personal information.
You should be cautious when adding shortcuts created by other users, going through each action and ensuring that it does only what’s advertised. I’ve personally installed and tested hundreds of shortcuts and have yet to come across anything that tried to do something malicious — but it’s always a good idea to check.
Before adding any unvetted shortcut, you’ll need to go to Settings > Shortcuts and turn on the option labeled Allow Untrusted Shortcuts.
With that enabled, you won’t be blocked from viewing any shortcuts, but you’ll be reminded before adding one to your app that it’s from a third party thanks to a giant red button that reads Add Untrusted Shortcut. If you see that button, remember to take a few minutes and inspect exactly what the app is doing. Not only will that help keep your information safer, but it will give you ideas on creating your own shortcuts.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at 10 shortcuts you’re sure to find useful.
1. Siri, I’m getting pulled over
This shortcut has been around for over a year now, but it’s one that has resurfaced during the last few weeks during the. After setting up the shortcut, you can tell Siri, “I’m being pulled over” and your iPhone will send your current location to a designated friend or family member, and automatically begin recording from the front-facing camera on your phone.
Read more about thebefore adding it to your Shortcuts app.
2. A spellchecker for anything
Autocorrect is nice, but it doesn’t catch and change every tpying mistake we make. See? You can copy or share any block of text from another app to the Check Spelling Shortcut, which will check it for spelling errors and present you with a corrected block of text, and then activate the share screen so you can copy the new text or share it with another app.
3. View Amazon Price History to get the best deal
CamelCamelCamel is a convenient website that of items listed and sold on Amazon. Using this shortcut, you can speed up the process of looking up an item page on the tracking website, and even get alerts when the price drops to your specified price. When viewing an item on the Amazon site or in the Amazon app, tap the Share button and then pick CmlCmlCml from the list of available shortcuts.
4. Set a Do Not Disturb timer for a break
Silence your iPhone for a set period of time by using a Do Not Disturb timer. Without Shortcuts, you have to dive into DNDs’ settings and make adjustments. With Shortcuts, however, you can enter how long you need and it’ll take care of the rest for you.
Adding to its usefulness, you can run this shortcut just by telling Siri, “Do Not Disturb timer.” You can also rename it something like “Set a Do Not Disturb timer” if you find that more natural.
5. Low battery? Run this shortcut
If you stress over battery life, this third-party shortcut shared on Reddit will use your current battery percentage, compare it with your predefined settings and tailor your device’s performance to squeeze the last few minutes of power out of your battery.
Run this shortcut either directly in the Shortcuts app or via the Today View widget.
6. Create a GIF with your camera
The Shoot a GIF shortcut opens the Camera app, ready to take a set number of photos (four by default). After the last photo is taken, it combines them into an animated image that you can save or share.
Use Siri or the Today View Widget to launch this shortcut.
7. Create a PDF out of nearly anything
With just a few taps, you can turn any document or webpage into a PDF that you can then save or share using the Make PDF shortcut.
After adding the shortcut to your app, use the share screen (called the Share Sheet) from within an app and select Make PDF.
8. Unzip and Save
Using Apple’s Files app to unpack a ZIP file so you can access what’s inside doesn’t always work. If you’re having trouble getting Files to open a ZIP folder and let you view and edit files inside it, then give this shortcut a try.
Select the file and send it to the Shortcuts app using the share button.
9. Expand a short URL for safety
Shortened links can be used in nefarious ways to hide the true destination of a URL. If you’re suspicious that a shortened link such as a bit.ly link is going to take you somewhere it shouldn’t, then use the Expand URL shortcut to view its true destination.
Copy the URL and then trigger the shortcut via the Today View Widget. When the shortcut is done running, paste the expanded URL into Safari or the Notes app to inspect it.
10. Step up your Shortcuts game with Automation
Along the bottom of the Shortcuts app there are three tabs: My Shortcuts, Automation and Gallery. So far, everything I’ve covered has been either found in the Gallery or, after you’ve added a shortcut to the app, in My Shortcuts.
The Automation tab is where you can unlock even more Shortcuts potential by using triggers like the time of day, your location or even when you complete a workout.
But perhaps my favorite Automation trigger is an NFC tag. When I walk into my home office, I can scan an NFC tag on my desk that begins playing the My Favorites playlist in myaccount on my .
The ability to scan NFC tags was added in iOS 13.1 and only works on anor newer. You’ll also need a pack of NFC tags or stickers. I bought and they work just fine, as most NFC tags should.
Once you have NFC tags in hand, open the Shortcuts app and select the Automation tab. Select Personal Automation > NFC and then scan and name the tag you’ll be using for the automation. Next, tap Add Action and then look through the various system actions along with the apps you have installed that support NFC triggers. I was surprised by the number of apps I have installed that support them, including one that allows me to scan a tag to open the trunk of my car.
Apple doesn’t currently have a way to share Automations like shortcuts, but the process is easy to understand and only takes a few seconds to finish. The hardest part is deciding what kind of automation you want.
I recommend going through Apple’s gallery section of the Shortcuts app and adding what you’ll find useful and making tweaks to personalize how your shortcuts are run.
After you’re done mastering the Shortcuts app, make sure to check out all of the. That includes a , and some .