How To: Create Your Own Shortcuts in iOS 12 to Get Things Done Faster with Siri

Create Your Own Shortcuts in iOS 12 to Get Things Done Faster with Siri

Apple is putting their Workflow acquisition to use with the new Shortcuts feature, integrated right into Siri. It allows you to connect commonly-used actions to a phrase that you activate with Siri. In addition to some of the other speed improvements in iOS 12, Shortcuts will help streamline your mobile experience.

Shortcuts will allow any app to use Siri to create shortcuts to commonly-used actions. For example, the Tile app will let you make a shortcut to locate your keys that you can add to Siri. You can even customize what phrase will trigger the action. However, Apple is taking it one step further by letting you create your own custom Shortcuts to do whatever you want.

Apple unveiled Shortcuts at WWDC 2018. Shortcuts isn't entirely ready yet, but you can use some of the features right now. To be able to use Shortcuts, you'll need to be running the latest version of iOS — iOS 12, which you can get now if you're on the developer beta. The public beta will be rolling out by the end of the month, with the stable release likely slated for a September release.

Method 1: Create a Shortcut from a Suggestion

While Shortcuts isn't widely implemented in iOS 12 just yet, you can find some hidden away inside "Siri & Search" from your Settings. The first header will read "Shortcuts," and a few suggestions will appear before you for actions you recently performed. For example, I just turned off my alarm, so a Shortcut suggestion was created from it.

If you tap "More Shortcuts," a bunch of other possible Shortcuts will appear before you, separated by app. They'll also reflect actions you performed recently, like who I called in my Phone. You can tap "See All" (if shown) next to an app to every single Shortcut-able action you did recently.

Add a Shortcut by tapping the blue plus sign next to a suggestion, then hit the red record button to create a trigger phrase for Siri. This can be anything you want — it's what you'll say to Siri to trigger this shortcut. After you make one you're satisfied with, tap "Done" in the top-right corner.

Method 2: Create a Shortcut with the 'Shortcuts' App

Eventually, iOS 12 will have a dedicated "Shortcuts" app to help you create your own custom Siri Shortcuts. It was teased at WWDC 2018, but the app isn't available yet in the early beta versions of iOS 12. Nonetheless, I'll walk you through two extra methods it will eventually provide.

Shortcuts You Can Download

From the "Gallery" tab in the bottom-right corner of the Shortcuts app, you can download a myriad of pre-made shortcuts that you can use right away. Some are made by Apple themselves, while some are made by people just like you. Expect these shortcuts to become more plentiful as more people have access to iOS 12, and the Shortcuts app in general.

Create a Custom Shortcut

From the "Library" tab in the bottom-right corner, you'll be able to see all the shortcuts you have. Tap "Create Shortcut" to make your own Shortcut. You can add actions like sending a message, putting on a radio station, or navigating to a certain place whenever you say the trigger phrase to Siri. This, of course, isn't an option right now — rather, this can all be gleaned from Apple'd WWDC demo of the Shortcuts app.

While users don't have access to Shortcuts yet, the APIs are out there for developers to integrate it in anticipation of its release. There's no official word when we can expect Shortcuts to hit the Beta, but it may be packaged along with the public Beta. At the very least, the Google Assistant app has its own Shortcuts you can use on your iPhone right now.

Cover image and screenshots by Brian Lang/Gadget Hacks

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