iOS Shortcuts are Amazing
When my old iPhone 7 started to become slow, unresponsive and outdated, I quickly upgraded to an iPhone XR. (At the time of writing this (10.6.20), a refurbished iPhone XR cost me about $400 on eBay.) Upon delivery I restored the firmware and updated to the latest version, iOS 14.
After getting over the learning curve and heartbreak of losing my beloved home button, I started to experience some of the amazing new features. As I went further down the rabbit hole, testing new features, my mind was blown by the ability to fully control the device through the use of shortcuts, automations and scripting.
Never before has there been something to this caliber offered natively on Apple’s favorite bread winner. Sure, jailbreaking your device could have solved this lack in device control at the cost of potentially screwing something up accidently.
With the introduction of iOS shortcuts, these automations give you the ability to create chain reactions where your device will respond automatically based on certain criteria you set up for it to follow.
Passive iPhone Automations
Automations that are triggered without you pressing a button (i.e. something that triggers when you plug your phone into charge or into CarPlay)
For example, upon plugging my iPhone into my car, the trigger “When CarPlay connects” activates which completes 3 different actions simultaneously. First, Siri announces over the speaker system, “Welcome Ross, where would you like to go today?” and launches the Twitch app.
Twitch is an app that plays an active streaming channel so music starts playing over my car speakers. (You can set this up to play a podcast, audiobook, Spotify, etc. the options are essentially endless).
Next, it minimizes the Twitch app using the in screen video player and launches the Waze navigation app.
All three steps happen within a few seconds or less without the driver having to press a button.
You get into the driver’s seat. Turn on the vehicle. Plug in your phone, and by the time the car is in reverse, you’ve been welcomed to the car by Siri, your music has started playing, and your chosen navigation app pops up on the infotainment screen ready for your destination to be input.
Simply engaging this automation will make it feel like your car has jumped into the future.
Automations that are triggered by pressing a shortcut on your home screen.
Add a button on your home screen that allows you to run an automation when a certain trigger is met such as: a certain time of day or when you’re at a certain location.
A good example is the image above. I created a Shortcut that triggers an automation to combine the different screenshots I select.
Another simple example regarding iPhone automations and shortcuts, but that’s the idea!
Starting simple allows you to understand how to structure and build more complex automations from the ground.
Why Should you Care?
You may be wondering what all this means or why it would be relevant to you.
Having the ability to create custom scripts and ‘pseudo’ applications, allows users more control over their devices than ever before. iOS 14 has once again become a powerhouse in the mobile software suite giving the average consumer an easy way to create automations that will enhance their daily life.
One of the best parts about these Shortcuts is that you can download pre-made ones!
Don’t worry about having to build it yourself, just download it and you’re ready to go!
Keep Reading about Apple Shortcuts
Learn More about iOS Shortcuts from Apple
Shortcuts Gallery – Search and download for your favorite pre-made shortcuts
Shortcuts SubReddit – Find others who create and share new and improved shortcuts & automations