Shortcuts 101

How To: 28 Must-Know Features in Apple's Shortcuts App for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

Apple made significant improvements to its Shortcuts app in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, so you can do even more with custom task shortcuts on your iPhone or iPad. The big story is "App Shortcuts," which takes all the work out of building shortcuts, giving you immediate access to premade ones that developers include with their apps. But that's definitely not all you'll find that's new.

How To: 20 Things Your iPhone's Volume Buttons Can Do Besides Volume Adjustments

The volume buttons on the side of your iPhone are for more than just adjusting volume levels for media, ringers, alerts, Siri, and other sounds and voices. You can use them to perform different actions inside certain apps, and you can even create custom actions using the Shortcuts app. It's not exactly button mapping, but it's as close as you'll get without jailbreaking iOS 15.

How To: Snap Photos on Your iPhone Hands-Free for Better Selfies, Group Shots, and Low-Light Pictures

You can take a photo on your iPhone with just one tap or press, but you can also use the Camera app hands-free for more impressive images. Doing so lets you take more detailed selfies, include your whole group in the frame, or get steadier results in Night mode — and it's easy to accomplish. Spoiler alert: using "Hey Siri" is not enough.

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

Your iPhone's built-in Voice Memos app is a great way to record the audio around you, whether it be conversations, lectures, meetings, interviews, discussions, chitchat, gossip, or other kinds of talks. But if your goal is to record audio on the down-low without being noticed, you'll need to know the hidden shortcut.

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

You can add a timestamp to any YouTube video in just a few clicks from the desktop website on your computer but not from YouTube's iOS or Android app. Until YouTube adds a "start time" when sharing videos from the mobile app, you'll have to use one of these workarounds on your phone or tablet.

How To: Water in Your iPhone's Speaker? This Shortcut Can Get It Out

Remember when water and iPhones couldn't mix? Pools, tubs, and toilets would suck down the working iPhones of clumsy and careless owners and spit out expensive paperweights like they were nothing. Times have changed, however, and the newest iPhones can take a swim without fear of certain death. But a dip in liquid can still cause muffled music and audio from the speakers.

How To: Upgrade Your Screenshots by Framing Them with Your iPhone or iPad's Body — No Third-Party App Needed

Have you ever seen an image on social media, somebody's blog, or a news website that shows an iPhone or iPad screenshot with an actual iPhone or iPad model framed around it? You can do that too, and it's really easy to accomplish with a third-party app — but you can do the same thing with a shortcut that won't bug you to pay or subscribe.

How To: Get iOS 16's Live Weather Lock Screen Wallpaper on Your iPhone in iOS 15

Apple's bringing big changes to your iPhone's lock screen in iOS 16, and one of those changes lets you pick an always-updating wallpaper for your local weather conditions. If you don't want to wait until the fall for the stable iOS 16 version and don't want to install any iOS 16 betas, you can still get an always-updating weather wallpaper for your lock screen on iOS 15.

How To: 8 Ways to Take a Screenshot on Your iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, or 13 Pro Max

Using an iPhone isn't difficult, but it can be if you're using it for the first time, especially if you switched from an Android phone. That's primarily because of the massive difference in the user interface between the two operating systems. And when it comes to taking screenshots, you have more options than just using the hardware buttons.

How To: Download Instagram Reels on Your iPhone for Offline Use, Better Playback Control, and More

Downloading content from TikTok is relatively easy, even if the video is protected, but the same can't be said of Reels, Instagram's version of short-form videos. Instagram doesn't make it easy to download content unless it's your own, and that's especially true with Reels. However, there is a way to bypass Instagram's restrictions on your iPhone and save videos locally without ever leaving the app.

How To: Make Your iPhone Delete Old Screenshots Automatically So Your Photos App Doesn't Become a Hot Mess

If you're like me, you take more than just a few screenshots throughout the day, and they add up fast on your iPhone. When you snap that many images of the screen, your Photos app's "Screenshots" folder can swell beyond triple digits if you don't manage it, and your "Recents" folder will become a cluttered mess. But there is a trick to keeping screenshots in check, and you can have total control over it.

How To: Force Per-App Dark Mode Settings by Bypassing Your iPhone's System-Wide Theme

Some apps look great with Dark Mode, and some do not. So when you have system-wide Dark Mode enabled on your iPhone and are using an app that only looks good in Light Mode, you'd normally have to turn the dark appearance off manually, then switch it back on when you leave. But there's a workaround that can automate the process for you.

How To: These Hacks Make Your iPhone Apps Play Different Background Sounds When You Open Them

You can play background sounds in iOS 15 to help you focus, stay calm, or fall asleep, essentially turning your iPhone into a personal sound machine wherever you go. Even better, there's a way to set each of your apps to play one of Apple's six ambient soundscapes automatically. When you open the app, its assigned sound plays, then it stops when you exit or switch to another app.

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.

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