Shortcuts 101

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-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: 4 Ways to Quickly Open and 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: 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: 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: 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 on Ring mode, you'll hear Apple's iconic "Connect Power" chime every time you connect it to a wired or wireless power source, which lets you know that charging has started. There's no way to disable the sound without turning on Silent mode, but there is a way to 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: 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.