iOS 12 is a little over a month old, and the operating system for Apple mobile devices came with the introduction of a new app that allows Apple users to customise a wide range of shortcuts for an array of different purposes.
Aptly and simply named Shortcuts, this new app replaces Workflow in iOS 12. Apple’s mobile assistant, Siri, is more powerful and smarter than ever in iOS 12, but Shortcuts is the app you didn’t realise you needed. This is more than a planner – it is a smarter way to organise your day on the go, without having to actually manually access a range of settings or actions on your phone.
Shortcuts follows the same principle as the popular IFTT (If This Then That) platform, allowing multiple apps on your phone to work together in a causal manner. For example, you can create an automated workflow, which allows you to integrate one or more actions to create a useful shortcut that saves time and saves you from having to use multiple apps to perform a specific function on your device.
Let’s say you want to post an animated GIF, created from a video on your phone, to your Twitter account. You can create a Shortcut by dragging a number of actions in the Shortcuts app (create a GIF from a video in your photo gallery, then have it automatically post to Twitter) which all then create a shortcut that saves you from having to actually manually follow the steps of doing so.
Here are some practical Shortcuts to use on your Apple device.
1. DND Before I leave
This Shortcut will turn on Do Not Disturb while you are in a meeting or another environment where you won’t be able to access messages, phone calls or other notifications. Your phone will detect that you are moving away from a venue after a meeting, and will turn off Do Not Disturb once you have moved a roughly-three-minute walk away. If you constantly forget to turn Do Not Disturb back on after meetings or the like, you’ll love this one.
2. Convert Video to GIF
Before Shortcuts, Apple users had to utilise third-party apps in order to convert videos to GIF files. No more – this Shortcut will take care of the task without asking questions.
3. Calculate Tip
Look, you’re going to take out your phone and use the calculator function to determine the tip on a restaurant bill anyway. Apple users can now bypass the arithmetic by simply allowing Shortcuts to make quick work of it.
4. Say Cheese
This shortcut allows you to take a photo with voice activation, without having to open the camera app and without a preview screen. Siri voice phrases that activate the Say Cheese Shortcut are also customisable. To add a voice phrase to your Shortcut, customise it by tapping on the settings feature in the top-right corner of the screen.
Once you’ve grown accustomed to the Shortcuts app, you can start creating your own Shortcuts to use with Siri. One fun example of this is to create a Shortcut that automatically turns a photo into a meme.
Explore the Gallery in the Shortcuts app and play around with a number of pre-set Shortcuts, and you’ll soon have a handle on creating customised Shortcuts that assist in your day-to-day productivity.
With the option to customise Shortcuts according to your specific practical preferences, the options are almost endless.
To start using Shortcuts, download the app from the App Store for use on devices running iOS 12 or above.