Shortcuts 101

How To: Auto-Play New Podcast Episodes on Your iPhone When Connecting Headphones, Starting a Trip, Tapping an NFC Tag & More

The Shortcuts app can help you play the next unlistened podcast from one of the shows, but getting the latest unplayed episodes from your whole queue of shows in the Podcasts app is a little trickier. There is an easy way to do it on your iPhone, though, and you can even automate it so that Podcasts plays your most recent untouched episode automatically.

How To: The Fastest, Easiest Way to Download SoundCloud Music Files to Your iPhone as MP3s

If you like to listen to popular songs from huge musicians and hard-to-find music from obscure indie artists, SoundCloud is for you — and you don't have to pay a dime. When you find a song you really love and want to play it back even when you're not connected to the internet, SoundCloud has offline listening, but there is a way to download your favorite tracks onto your iPhone for longevity.

How To: 3 Ways to Quickly Open & Show Off Your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card on Your iPhone

Whether it becomes mandatory or not to show your COVID-19 vaccination card at events, restaurants, bars, hotels, airports, and other public places, it's a good idea to digitize the paper card on your smartphone so that it's always with you. It's also wise to give yourself quick, convenient access to it, so you're not holding up lines while trying to locate the file, and there are a few ways to do that on your iPhone.

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: The Fastest Way to Dim Your iPhone Screen Lower Than the Lowest Possible Brightness

In the dark, even the lowest brightness option on the iPhone can still feel a thousand burning suns. No matter whether you're in bed or at the movie theater, you don't want to create a distraction with your smartphone. That's why you might want a brightness that isn't readily available on your device — but luckily, there may be a way to go lower than the lowest brightness.

How To: Improve Safari with a PDF Editor, URL Shortener, Bulk Image Saver & More Features on Your iPhone

Safari saw many new features and improvements with Apple's latest iOS update, including webpage translations, privacy reports, and picture-in-picture. While the updates were well-received, Apple's mobile browser is still lacking some very basic features. Thankfully, there are shortcuts to bridge the gap.

How To: The Fastest Way to Remove the Background from Your iPhone Photos

You might think your photo is amazing, but in the midst of editing it and getting ready to post it on social media, you notice something in the background. Maybe it's an unwelcome stranger or a wide-open dumpster, or it's the entire backdrop, but suddenly you realize that it's bad. Although you look good in it, the background just doesn't work — which is why you can always get rid of it.

How To: Scroll Hands-Free Through Long Webpages on Your iPhone to Read Articles at the Perfect Pace

You can't always have your hands on your iPhone, which is why Apple developed Siri. When Siri can't do your hands-free bidding, there's Apple's newer Voice Control feature. But if you don't like barking commands at your iPhone, there's another option — at least, when it comes to scrolling through webpages in Safari.

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.

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