We live in a world of maximising efficiency and this drive towards quicker and more effective use of technology, whether for business or pleasure, means any reduction in the time or effort needed to accomplish a task is always a win. That’s why shortcuts have become so popular on iOS.
There are several ways that you can set up and use shortcuts on iOS. You can quickly knock out everyday tasks, or automate apps you use every day, with a tap or a simple Siri request. Not only does Apple provide an easy yet powerful way to do this by creating your shortcuts, but they also give you a library of predefined shortcut actions.
Running a Saved Shortcut
The most straightforward way to access a shortcut is to open Shortcuts on your Apple device, and simply tap on one of the shortcut options on the man screen. Alternatively, you can access them by voice by saying “Hey, Siri” and then the name of the shortcut you’d like to run.
Some of the basic shortcuts that are available by default include one called Take A Break, which sets your device to Do Not Disturb and sets an alarm for a specified number of minutes to let you know when it’s time to get back to work.
Accessing The Shortcut Gallery
This is where all of your shortcuts can be found. There are varying sections with different shortcuts that you can try out. Some of the sections include Starter Shortcuts, Shortcuts for Accessibility, Games with Siri, Music, Sharing, and more. There are also sections for productivity, like Get Organized and Get Stuff Done, and online automation tasks in On the Interweb.
Creating Your Own Automated Shortcuts
By using the “Automation” tab in the shortcuts app you can either “Create Personal Automaton” or “Create Home Automation”. Personal automations will run on your Apple digital device, while home automation will operate for the household via one of your smart home devices.
Once you select the type of automation, you’ll need to choose an event that will trigger the action. This can be anything from the time of day to your phone entering airplane mode. Some events will require that event to be manually performed, however, like changing to Do Not Disturb or Focus.
Then you will need to specify what action will take place in response to the event. For example, if you’d like to start your day with some music, select Do Not Disturb, check “When Turning Off”, and tap “Next”. Then you will be able to add an action or choose suggested actions based on your usage.
The Share Sheet
The Share Sheet is a function in iOS both on the iPhone and the iPad that functions beautifully as a quick access feature. From the shortcut app’s gallery, there is a category called “Share Sheet”, to which you can add any shortcut that’s listed.
This allows you to share your shortcuts across devices and apps. For example, if you create a shortcut on your iPhone and list it in the Share Sheet, you can go to your Macbook, tap on the “Share” icon, and you should see all applicable shortcuts. Then just tap the one you want to run.
By adding some details to the shortcut, you can increase its reach. To do this, long-press the desired shortcut and select “Details” from the context menu.
Then you can tap “Add to Home Screen” to drop an icon for that shortcut right on your home screen. Also in these settings is an option to “Show in Share Sheet” which does just what it says, and makes the shortcut available in the Share feature.
Creating Widgets For Your Shortcuts
If you want to add a widget for your shortcuts you absolutely can. Swipe right on your home screen until you get to “Widgets”, then tap “Edit” at the bottom of the screen followed by the “+” at the top.
From there, swipe down and tap “Shortcuts”, and scroll through the various layouts for the shortcut. When you have selected the layout you want, tap “Add Widget” to create a widget with the selected layout.
Accessing Shortcuts On Your Apple Watch
Many shortcuts can be accessed from your Apple Watch as well, just make sure that you have them added to the Share Sheet. To do this, simply open the shortcuts app on your watch, find the shortcut you want, and tap on it.
There will be some functions and tasks that your watch may not be able to handle, but if all functions are supported it will run. Otherwise, it will be available on your other devices.
Check Out Other Peoples’ Shortcuts
If you want some ideas on how to create the coolest and most functional shortcuts, there are several places online to check them out. Reddit is a great repository of shortcuts created by some of the cleverest users out there, as well as ShortcutsGallery.
Some of the most popular premade shortcuts include:
● The Calculate Tip shortcut provides a super-quick way to determine the ideal gratuity for a particular bill.
● The Download YouTube shortcut will automatically save the YouTube clip you’re watching to your device.
● The Good Night shortcut uses Siri to wish you a good night and set your device to Do Not Disturb
● For business types, the Airdrop Business Card shortcut will send a virtual business card and your contact info to someone.
Using Shortcuts On iOS
Using shortcuts on iOS devices may seem complicated, but if you just go step by step as we’ve done here, you’ll be on your way to increased productivity in no time. Remember that you can shortcut or automate nearly anything, as long as you set the right conditions for events and actions.