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iOS Shortcuts Ultimate Guide: Reviews, Examples, Libraries, Tutorials…

iOS Shortcuts App

Right now, in your pocket (or maybe in your hand), you’ve gotten access to the best-kept secret in your iOS gadget: An app referred to as Shortcuts.

The iOS Shortcuts app initially started as a third-party app, Workflow. Then, Apple bought it and re-released it in 2018 as Shortcuts — headlining it as a big a part of iOS 12.

Nevertheless, at the time, Shortcuts was still an iOS app you needed to download by yourself. And whereas the future of Shortcuts was very brilliant, it was nonetheless restricted in sure areas.

However now? So much has modified and improved with Shortcuts on iOS 13 and iPadOS.

Shortcuts is now a default app. It comes mechanically put in on every iPhone and iPad operating iOS 13 or iPadOS, identical to Apple’s other default apps comparable to Safari, Mail, and Reminders.

Not to mention that this new version of Shortcuts has many superb new things you can do and ways you could run Shortcuts and automations.

But with all of this awesomeness, it might feel daunting. Maybe you’re questioning…

How do I get started with Shortcuts on iOS 13?

What are things I can automate with my iPad?

How do I run Shortcuts?

How do I make Shortcuts?

Wait, what are automations?

Heck, what are Shortcuts!?

When you’re asking any of these questions. You’re in the fitting spot.

Or perhaps you have already got a handful of Shortcuts arrange, but you need to take things to the subsequent degree and uncover more of what’s attainable.

On this guide, we are going to offer you a big-picture overview of all the cool things you possibly can automate with iOS 13 and iPadOS, and in addition give you links to the most effective assets on the market so you’ll be able to study more.


Wait. There’s a Bonus…

Curated Listing of Should-Have Apps with Shortcuts

We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting via lots of of apps to seek out the easiest. And based mostly on our own usage, plus the feedback of our readers, we now have put together a brief record of our must-have, most-used apps in 2019.

You’ll get…

  • The current listing of The Candy Setup‘s prime 8, must-have apps.
  • A special, pro tip for each app that will help you save time and turn out to be more of a power consumer.
  • A hidden function of each app that you may not have recognized about.

These apps work on iPad, iPhone, and Mac, they usually range across a number of totally different classes however are principally targeted on productiveness. We hope it will show you how to get probably the most out of your units and your day.

This information is on the market for FREE to our e-mail subscriber group, and you will get it proper now. By joining the Sweet Setup group you’ll additionally get entry to our other guides, early previews to huge new evaluations and workflow articles we are working on, weekly roundups of our best content material, and extra.


A Temporary Introduction to Shortcuts on iOS 13 and iPadOS

Of their official guide, Apple defines a Shortcut as “a quick way to get one or more tasks done with your apps. The Shortcuts app lets you create your own shortcuts with multiple steps.”

Shortcuts are comprised of actions. Like opening different apps, including issues to the clipboard, getting the driving time to a spot, beginning a timer, and extra. There are all types of actually cool issues you are able to do that fluctuate across the spectrum between tremendous easy and deeply complicated and geeky.

Then, they are often triggered in numerous ways. It’s the brand new triggers and automations that shipped with Shortcuts in iOS 13 that basically unlock all types of the awesomeness. Let’s take a look at that…

Find out how to Set off and Automate Your Shortcuts with iOS 13

With Shortcuts on iOS 13 and iPadOS there at the moment are triggers and automations for operating your Shortcuts mechanically. And there are all types of the way you possibly can trigger these shortcuts.

ios shortcuts automation trigger options

For instance, you possibly can set a shortcut to trigger routinely once you depart your office. Or whenever you begin a exercise on your Apple Watch. And even if you turn off (or snooze) your morning alarm in your iPhone.

How you can Set off a Shortcut Automation

Here is a listing of all the out there choices to mechanically trigger a Shortcut.

  • Time of day in addition to particular occasions on particular days. You can too use sunrise and sundown as triggers.
  • Arrive or depart a location, utilizing your presently location knowledge.
  • Earlier than I depart, utilizing Siri to guage your routines and calendar events and guess whenever you’re about to go away.
  • Wi-Fi, which is predicated on if you connect or disconnect from a selected Wi-Fi community.
  • Bluetooth, which could be triggered if you join your AirPods, for instance.
  • Airplane Mode: Begin an automation when Airplane Mode is turned on, or off, or both.
  • Do Not Disturb: Can set off when Do Not Disturb is turned on, off, or both.
  • Low Power Mode: Can set off when Low Power Mode is enabled, disabled, or either.
  • NFC Tags: These sensible stickers at the moment are really taking up letting us merely place our iPhones on them to trigger an automation the same method you possibly can tap on a checkout machine on the retailer to pay together with your iPhone. You should purchase NFC stickers and place them round your own home, in your automotive, and so forth. and use them to set off particular automations and shortcuts (extra on that within the section under).
  • Open app: Set off a shortcut or automation to kick off once you open a selected app.
  • CarPlay: Connecting to and disconnecting from your automotive can serve as a trigger to run an automation.
  • Alarm: Should you cease the alarm or snooze it, a Shortcuts automation can then be triggered.

Neat! However what does this imply for real-life utilization?

Nicely, it means all types of things.

We’ll offer you extra ideas within the part under that features example shortcuts, however within the meantime, listed here are two automated shortcuts that I personally set up. They’re very primary but fairly useful.

  • One is that my iPhone places itself into Do Not Disturb mode from 5pm – 7:30. That is my evening household time where my spouse and I’ve dinner with our three young boys, after which we now have family time and I get them prepared for mattress.

    I wish to put my telephone away, out of sight, and be free from any incoming notifications throughout that time so I can you’ll want to give my full consideration to my household.

  • Another shortcut automation I have arrange is to activate the lamp in my front room at 6:15am and then turn it off at 11pm. This manner, once I rise up in the morning to make coffee and start my day, the lounge mild is already lit. And, then, in the evenings, I don’t have to think about turning it off — it should flip itself off mechanically.

I used to need to work around those two examples through the use of different apps. But now, with iOS 13, these Shortcut Automations run natively from inside the app and the whole course of is far easier and more seamless.

In one of many sections under, we’ve some more examples of clever shortcuts that individuals are using.

Enjoyable Tip: Trigger a Shortcut When You Launch An App

With Shortcuts on iOS 13, you can now trigger a shortcut once you launch an app.

There are loads of cool issues you can do right here.

For example, every time you open up Ulysses on your iPad, you possibly can mechanically set off a Shortcut to: (a) log a session on your writing habit streak in the app Streaks; (b) set your iPad into Do Not Disturb mode; and (c) start enjoying a targeted writing playlist from Apple Music.

Now, that might all be a bit intense to happen every time you open up Ulysses, however you get the thought… (I have an identical Shortcut constructed, but I don’t trigger it routinely once I open Ulysses; fairly, I exploit the Shortcut itself to set DND, open Ulysses, and so forth. And then, for all the other occasions once I simply want to make use of Ulysses for something aside from a targeted writing session, I will just open the app like a traditional individual.)

All this to say, you need to use this trigger to “replace” some of Apple’s default apps. Most notably, the digital camera app. Utilizing this Shortcut you will get quick, Lock Display entry to a greater, third-party digital camera app should you’d want. Simply create a shortcut that triggers routinely whenever you open the Digital camera app, and have that shortcut open your most popular digital camera app as an alternative. (But then acknowledge that you simply gained’t have the ability to use the default digital camera app — as a result of every time you open it, your Shortcut will set off and you’ll be sent over to the opposite app.)

Getting Into House Automation using HomeKit-Suitable Gear and the Shortcuts App

That is where issues get to the subsequent degree of fun (and nerdy).

If in case you have some HomeKit-compatible hardware, then you should use Shortcuts on iOS 13 to automate issues around your home.

Listed here are a number of, easy House Automation gadgets you can start with with a purpose to dip your toe into the water:

Sensible Plugs and Retailers for HomeKit

I have a couple of of these Wemo Sensible Outlet Plugs, they usually’re implausible. We use them principally to regulate some lamps in our front room and the area heater in my workplace. It’s superior to have this stuff turn on and off routinely, on a schedule — and in addition to be able to ask Siri to show them on or off.

For a sensible plug that is meant for outside use (hiya automated holiday lights), take a look at this one from iHome.

Sensible Garage Door Opener / Controller for HomeKit

Good news: You don’t need to purchase a completely new storage door opener if you’d like a sensible one. You should purchase inexpensive, sensible storage door controllers that can easily hook up with your present garage door.

If you want to open and close your storage door with Siri, run automations that examine to ensure you didn’t depart your garage door open after you’ve already gone to bed, or if you would like to be able to remotely open your garage door from across the nation so your neighbor can borrow your drill, then take a look at one among these choices:

NFC Tags

For a couple of bucks, you possibly can seize these NFC tags which might be simple and ship without spending a dime from Amazon.

Setting them up is tremendous straightforward. Upon getting an concept for a means you should use an NFC tag to trigger a Shortcut or automation, the Shortcuts app will information you thru the straightforward strategy of scanning and naming a tag.

scanning and naming nfc tags on iPhone Shortcuts

Word about using NFC tags to trigger Shortcuts and automations together with your iPhone: With a purpose to trigger an automation, the display in your iPhone will have to be on. Your iPhone doesn’t need to be unlocked, the display just can’t be off.

HomeKit Mild Switches

Each Wemo and Lutron supply sensible, dimmable mild switches that work out of the field with HomeKit.

With sensible mild switches, you’ll be able to still manually control the installed ceiling lights of your room, however you may as well use Siri to turn them on / off, dim the lights, and even arrange house automations that combine with the lights in your room.

Using a HomePod or Apple TV for House Automation

With a HomePod and/or Apple TV, you need to use Siri to run shortcuts and automatons in your home without having to make use of your iPhone / iPad. These units also function a “smart home base” so to talk, for automations that can run for anybody in the home — and that are not dependent upon your gadget being present.

Examples of Residence Automation with iOS 13

  • With some sensible house equipment (resembling WeMo plugs and sensible mild switches and even a sensible garage door opener), you can then put an NFC tag in your nightstand by your bed and whenever you plug your iPhone in to cost as you will mattress, your iPhone might verify to see should you left any lights on (or even if your garage door continues to be open on accident) and, in that case, it might turn them off for you.

  • With a sensible front door lock, you possibly can have an automation in place that unlocks your door whenever you arrive residence. You possibly can even have certain lights activate and certain music begin to play as nicely.

  • Place an NFC tag subsequent to your washing machine, and then once you begin a load of laundry simply faucet the tag together with your iPhone to start out a timer that may remind you when the laundry is completed. (And yes, in fact, you might additionally set a timer by merely utilizing Siri in your iPhone or Watch. However where’s the enjoyable in that?)

For even more suggestions and details about HomeKit gear, take a look at the Wirecutter’s roundup of one of the best HomeKit-Suitable units and their guide to building a sensible residence with Apple’s HomeKit.

Instance Shortcuts and Automations From The Sweet Setup Group and Buddies

Probably the greatest ways to get more out of Shortcuts and House Automation for your self is to see some examples of how different individuals are using them. So we requested some buddies of the location to share a clever or favorite example of their own for a way they’re utilizing Shortcuts on iOS 13.

Federico Viticci: New Reminder+
Federico is editor-in-chief of MacStories, and is a light consumer of Shortcuts.

It’s very troublesome for me to select a single favorite shortcut in my library of 350+ custom ones, so I’ll select one I just lately created, which I’ve been using rather a lot.

The shortcut is known as “New Reminder+” and it offers me with a custom move to create multiple reminders in a row with out opening the Reminders app.

The new Reminders app is far improved in iOS 13, and I really like managing tasks inside the app with natural language and subtasks, but typically I’m in a rush and simply need to add a number of reminders, one after the other, with out interruptions. This shortcut provides me the same handy tools I take pleasure in in the Reminders app, however inside Shortcuts: I can sort dates in natural language or add them by way of a date picker, and I can assign duties to totally different lists. I’ve added this shortcut to my House display for fast access, and it’s shortly turn into one in every of my favourite activity management instruments — powered by Reminders, but made extra versatile by Shortcuts’ system integrations.

Download Federico’s “New Reminder+” Shortcut.

Matthew Cassinelli: Considering Assist
Matthew writes a daily website and YouTube channel which are targeted virtually completely on Shortcuts.

Right here’s a clever one I like that could be a unique approach to consider the way to use Shortcuts. It’s referred to as Considering Assist.

Typically it’s arduous to process your personal thoughts, so I built this to talk out loud what’s at present going by way of my head, then have Siri read it back to me. Then I can determine if it truly is one thing that’s essential, or relatively a throwaway thought I can transfer on from. Building it right into a shortcut offloads the process to my pocket pc, and I can take a second of self-reflection to acknowledge dangerous thought patterns, or just capture a thought into Day One immediately.

Works great from HomePod or AirPods!

David Sparks: Move Calendar Blocks
David writes a Mac and productivity weblog at MacSparky, co-hosts the Mac Power Customers podcast (amongst others), and has an in-depth area guide to using Shortcuts that’s crammed with a slew of useful videos and examples.

I’m a fan of block scheduling. It helps me plan my day with a level of sanity and keeps me on monitor. Nonetheless, typically issues go a bit sideways and I discover myself needing to move a number of blocks. That isn’t notably straightforward on iOS. Shortcuts to the rescue. This Shortcut lets you select some (or all) calendar entries for the day and move them back a set number of minutes. Apparently, there isn’t a “move calendar event” shortcuts action so this shortcut gets round that limitation by creating new events the set number of minutes later after which deleting the source event. I assumed that was sort of intelligent.

David Sparks iOS 13 shortcut move calendar block

Get David’s “Move Calendar Blocks” Shortcut right here.

Rosemary Orchard: Once I Get House
Rosemary is a weekly contributor right here at The Candy Setup, co-hosts the Automator’s podcast with David Sparks, and writes her own productivity-centric Apple blog.

I have a terrible reminiscence and far choose it if my units can remind me to do things on the proper time… Then, I simply want to tell them what to do!

That’s where this Shortcut is useful. It takes an inventory of duties you give it and provides them to the duty manager of your selection with the suitable reminder.

Once you’ve downloaded the Shortcut, rename it so it doesn’t have the identify of the duty supervisor in it, now you’ll be able to just say “Hey Siri, when I get home” and it will then prompt Siri to ask “What should I remind you to do?”, the duty is then added to the suitable activity supervisor and also you’re finished.

Rosemary Orchard When I get home siri shortcut

This Shortcut takes benefit of the brand new parameterized Shortcuts obtainable from Reminders and Issues, and lets you overlook about your tasks till the proper time. It additionally uses the brand new conversational Shortcuts function.

The benefit of using this Shortcut is that: (a) you possibly can add multiple gadgets directly; and (b) you’ll be able to send these gadgets to OmniFocus and/or Things. Also, I’ve found Reminders’ geofence to be too massive — it prompts me much too early for location-based things.

Download Rose’s Shortcut:

Jason Snell: “Share Reduced Image”
Jason Snell, founder of SixColors, has a shortcut for shortly decreasing the file measurement of a picture before sharing it:

iPhones and their 12-megapixel cameras take pictures with monumental file sizes. And once I’m sharing these photographs over a low-bandwidth connection or with a really sluggish app (I’m taking a look at you, Slack), I don’t want or have to upload the complete image to get my point across. So I made Share Lowered Picture, which takes any image you throw at it, resizes it to 1024 pixels large, converts it to a medium-quality JPEG, and opens up a Quick Look so you’ll be able to shortly share it in any approach you choose. (I’ve obtained another variation that locations the picture on the clipboard, prepared for pasting.)

Get Jason’s “Share Reduced Image” Shortcut here (or, Clipboard model).

Jason Snell iPadOS and iOS shortcut share reduced image

Shawn Blanc: Flip On the Office Area Heater
Hey, that’s me!

My house workplace is downstairs, and through the winter months it will get quite chilly.

So I have a space heater plugged into a WeMo sensible plug, and an automation arrange that turns on the heater about hour before I come into the office so the room is be warmed up by the point I are available to work. It then turns off routinely on the end of my work day. And, I have it set up to only run Monday by means of Friday.

Earlier than iOS 13, I had to use the WeMo app to manage this. The WeMo app is clunky, ugly, and never something I needed to work together with typically if I might help it. Now I can run the identical automation from the built-in House app, which is rather more dependable and straightforward to make use of, and it may tie in to many different actions, Shortcuts, and automations if I would like it to.

iOS Shortcuts Libraries and Galleries, And so forth.

For even more examples, listed here are a couple of libraries filled with hand-built Shortcuts and examples so that you can peruse and even install for yourself.

Observe that to install shortcuts which might be shared by other individuals, it is advisable change the Shortcut Safety Settings on your iPhone to allow the installation of Shortcuts from untrusted sources.

You are able to do this by navigating to your iPhone / iPad Settings app and tapping Shortcuts → Permit Untrusted Shortcuts.

Beneficial Evaluations, Tutorials, and Guides for Shortcuts on iOS 13 and iPadOS

Now that you’ve a common concept of what an iOS Shortcut is and the way you need to use them, right here is an unordered listing of the most effective critiques and tutorials to actually dive deep.

In the event you’re brief on time, I’d advocate beginning with Apple’s official guide to Shortcuts, after which studying the MacStories assessment. In the event you’re a visible learner, then sign up for the MacSparky Area Information, as David has a digital cornucopia of movies and tutorials for all types of things.

Now all that’s left is to seize a beverage of selection and a leisurely night to peruse the articles above and start constructing some intelligent and useful Shortcuts of your personal. Take pleasure in!

Wait. There’s a Bonus…

Curated Listing of Should-Have Apps with Shortcuts

We spend an inordinate period of time sorting by means of a whole lot of apps to seek out the easiest. And based mostly on our own usage, plus the suggestions of our readers, we now have put collectively a brief listing of our must-have, most-used apps in 2019.

You’ll get…

  • The current record of The Sweet Setup‘s prime 8, must-have apps.
  • A particular, professional tip for each app that will help you save time and turn into more of a power consumer.
  • A hidden function of each app that you may not have recognized about.

These apps work on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. They usually vary across several totally different classes however are principally targeted on productivity. We hope it will assist you to get probably the most out of your units and your day.

This information is obtainable for FREE to our e mail subscriber group, and you will get it proper now. By becoming a member of the Sweet Setup group you’ll additionally get access to our different guides, early previews to massive new evaluations and workflow articles we’re engaged on, weekly roundups of our greatest content material, and more.


About the author



Sukhdev Singh is a Business management graduate, with superb managerial skills and leadership abilities. He always has an approach of “leading from the front” which keeps us all motivated and inspires us to work more efficiently. He has an incredible amount of experience in the blockchain field as he has worked with a Crypto start-up based on blockchain. His cheerful personality always lifts our spirits and always makes sure that the work at VerifiedTasks is top-notch.
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