Shortcuts 101

How To: Auto-Remove Annoying Tracking Codes in URLs You Share from Your iPhone to Get Cleaner Links

URL tracking codes: you'll see them on almost every link you copy online to share with friends and followers. It could be tens or hundreds of extra characters appended to the end of a URL, which websites and marketers use to tell how you got to the link in the first place. These excess tracking tokens not only make the links you share look sloppy and spammy — they could even invade your privacy.

How To: Make Your iPhone's Portrait Orientation Lock Change Automatically Whenever You Open & Close Specific Apps

I always keep my iPhone's Portrait Orientation Lock on so that my screen doesn't randomly rotate while I'm lying down. However, there are certain apps that I do turn it off for. It's kind of a pain since you have to swipe down the Control Center and toggle the orientation lock — but that ends now. Instead of doing it manually, a new iOS update can automate app orientations for you.

How To: Take a Screenshot on Your iPhone Without the Annoying Thumbnail Preview Showing Up

Since iOS 11, a thumbnail preview appears on your iPhone whenever you take a screenshot. It's useful for access to quick sharing options and editing tools, but you can't disable the preview image. You can wait for it to disappear or swipe it off-screen, but that's as good as it gets — until now. In an iOS 14 update, there's an option to disable the screenshot preview — only you won't find it in Settings.

How To: Quickly Generate a Strong Password on Your iPhone When iCloud Keychain Won't Work

Apple's password manager, iCloud Keychain, lets you securely save important login credentials for apps, websites, and services that sync up across all of your Apple devices — iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. One of its biggest highlights is that it can create strong passwords for you. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work, and in those cases, there are other ways to generate random, strong passwords.

How To: The Trick That Lets You Link to Specific Start Times in YouTube Videos Right from Your Phone

The desktop version of YouTube, meaning the one you access on your computer, lets you add a timestamp to any video you're watching in just a few clicks. When you share the link or need to reference it later yourself, the timestamp makes the video start at the point specified, not the beginning. Unfortunately, tacking on timestamps from YouTube's mobile app is impossible — but there are workarounds.

How To: The Easiest Way to Secretly Record Someone's Conversation with Your iPhone

Your iPhone is a fantastic, easy-to-use tool for recording audio, but it's not as simple to secretly record conversations. Apple's Voice Memos app is great for taking audio notes and recording meetings, lectures, and other talks to reference later, but doing it without being noticed is tough unless you know the hidden shortcut.

How To: Download TikTok Videos Without Watermarks on Your iPhone

TikTok has grown to be one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. The video-sharing app is a driving force for viral content, spurring various popular movements in dance, pranks, comedy, and more. And as one might assume, videos on TikTok don't stay on TikTok — they're shared on Instagram, Twitter, and other services where millions of people get the chance to also view them.

How To: This Is Absolutely the Fastest, Most Convenient Way to Toggle Your iPhone's Flashlight On & Off (Hint: It's No Button)

It's easier than ever to toggle your iPhone's flashlight (or torch) on and off. From your lock screen, home screen, or from within any app, most iPhone models will let you enable or disable the flashlight from the Control Center, via the Notification Center, or with Siri. But there's an even faster and more convenient way to trigger the flashlight button, and you don't even have to look at your iPhone to use it.

How To: Turn Your Contacts into Apps on Your iPhone's Home Screen

When iOS 14 was released, the "Favorites" widget, which provided quick access to your most-used contacts, was nowhere to be seen. There's a workaround that brings it back via the Shortcuts app, but the original Favorites widget was better all around. For those of you looking for something better, try turning all your favorite and most-used contacts into apps on your home screen.

How To: Make Siri Say Whatever You Want Every Time You Connect Your iPhone to a Charger

Whenever your iPhone's not on silent, every time you connect it to a power source, whether it's a wired or wireless connection, you'll hear that iconic chime sound off to let you know that charging has started. There's no way to disable the chime, but in iOS 14, you can make Siri automatically say whatever you want after a successful connection.

How To: The Easy Way to Upload Files Anonymously from Your iPhone So They Can't Be Traced Back to You

If you need to share something online but don't want your personal information attached to the file, use an anonymous file hosting site. By uploading files anonymously, you keep your IP address safe and won't need to create any kind of account that could provide further logging. You can do this in a web browser, but it's much easier to do using a shortcut on your iPhone.

How To: Make iOS Alert You When Your iPhone Only Has 5% Battery Life Remaining

The battery on your iPhone can go from 10% to completely dead in a matter of minutes, or at least it can feel that way. Apple does prepare you with an alert when you hit the 20% and 10% mark, but it's easy to forget to charge your iPhone before it dies even with those notifications. That's why you should also be notified when your battery's down to 5% remaining.

How To: You Can Run Shortcuts Right from Your iPhone's Lock Screen & Here Are 6 Ways to Do It

Shortcuts are meant to make your life easier, and iPhone shortcuts are no exception. They can use different triggers, manual or automated, to perform actions in the background, allowing you to do things like send a prewritten text message during a bad date or change your wallpaper at certain times of the day. However, sometimes it's not only about the shortcut itself but about how fast you can run it.

How To: The Easiest Way to View Exif Metadata for Photos on Your iPhone

Most of the images in your iPhone's Photos app contain exchangeable image file format data known as Exif or EXIF data, which has several helpful uses. You can use countless apps capable of reading Exif data, many of which are paid or limited. But you already have an app on your iPhone that can give you important details about each image — and I'm not talking about the Photos app.

How To: This Discreet Panic Button for iPhone Will Help You Escape Bad Dates, Uncomfortable Encounters & Annoying People

Strange or uncomfortable encounters can be difficult to get away from sometimes if you're overly polite and don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Thankfully, your iPhone can help save the day, providing you with a plausible excuse to exit the scene without having to conjure up some last-minute reason on the spot.

How To: Use Any Song on Your iPhone as a Gradually Increasing Alarm for a Gentle Wakeup

If you'd rather be gently relaxed out of bed instead of stressed out at loud alarm sounds, there are a few things you can do on your iPhone. One of your best options is to use carefully selected songs that start out calm and soothing and gradually increase in intensity and volume. But you could also use a more intense track you know will wake you up, only set to ascend in volume to ease you out of slumber.

How To: Use Customizable App Pickers on Your iPhone's Home Screen to Group Apps, Reduce Clutter & Find Apps Faster

If your iPhone's home screen is littered with apps in no discernible order, and you rely on muscle memory to locate one when you need it, it gets harder with each new app icon added. Folders can help organize the mess, but you can also create your very own app picker or group of app pickers. They act similar to folders but show apps in a list and let you add the same app to multiple app pickers.

How To: Quickly Download Streamable Videos on Your iPhone Before They Disappear Online

Videos hosted on Streamable may be fleeting or forever. So when you come across a cool video that you want to watch again later, it's a good idea to download it to your device in case it's one that disappears after a few months. There is no built-in download button in the Streamable player, but that doesn't mean you can't save anything on your iPhone.

How To: Always-Updated List of iOS App URL Scheme Names & Paths for Shortcuts

If you've ever customized your app icons or played around with Shortcuts (previously called Workflow), you probably know how important URL scheme names are. Nearly all iOS apps assign themselves one of these names, and you need to know them if you want to add custom icons to your home screen or create a Shortcuts workflow that opens an app on your iPhone up.

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