Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Discover the untapped potential of iPhone Shortcuts, the game-changing feature you've been missing out on Unleash the power of automation, create personalized shortcuts, sync effortlessly across devices, and unlock a new level of efficiency

Key Takeaways

Apple's Shortcuts app allows users to create workflows and automate repetitive tasks on their iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

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Shortcuts span from simple workflows to intricate operations, granting users the ability to swiftly and effortlessly carry out a diverse range of actions.

Furthermore, users have the option to download and share Shortcuts with others, as well as personalize them to fit their specific requirements.

What are iPhone Shortcuts?

Apple's Shortcuts App: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Your Devices

Apple's Shortcuts app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac offers a treasure trove of features that can revolutionize the way you handle everyday tasks. Unfortunately, this remarkable tool often goes unnoticed by many users. In this guide, we will explore the ins and outs of the app and provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to create and download shortcuts.

Get ready to supercharge your device's performance and simplify your workflow with the incredible capabilities of Apple's Shortcuts app.

To utilize Shortcuts on your iPhone, ensure that you have the Shortcuts app installed on your device. If you have unintentionally removed the app, you can conveniently re-download it from the App Store.

Shortcuts are essentially sequences of actions that enable you to perform tasks swiftly on your iPhone. These sequences aim to streamline and automate repetitive actions. Shortcuts can vary in complexity, ranging from simple workflows with minimal actions to intricate operations involving multiple steps.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Let’s say you have a set of photos that you want to resize. You can build a shortcut that prompts you for dimensions or automatically resizes to dimensions of your choosing.

To explore further, you can utilize a handy shortcut that combines the set of images into a single cohesive image. This shortcut also allows you to specify the sequence and desired spacing between the images. Taking it a step further, you have the option to incorporate an automated action that uploads the resulting image to a cloud storage service.

In essence, this approach resembles drag-and-drop coding. Shortcuts can be customized to execute a series of actions, serve as a destination for selected items (e.g., a collection of photos), or prompt for inputs (such as numbers) to be recorded, converted, or added to another location.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Shortcuts are compatible with apps already installed on your device, including Apple's native apps such as Notes, Reminders, and Health. Additionally, you can utilize third-party apps with Shortcuts, although these may have a more limited selection of available actions.

Upload and distribute your Shortcuts with other users, allowing you to access a vast array of possibilities. Additionally, you can modify and dissect these shared workflows, gaining insights into their functionality and enhancing your ability to create personalized shortcuts tailored to your requirements.

How to Trigger Shortcuts

How to Use Shortcuts App to Trigger Your Custom or Downloaded Shortcuts

To utilize the Shortcuts app effectively, you can easily trigger any of the Shortcuts you have created or downloaded. In the primary "Shortcuts" tab, an organized list of your Shortcuts awaits you. To enhance your experience, you can even categorize them into folders or sort them based on their types, such as those activated through the Share Sheet feature.

Shortcuts can be displayed as widgets on either your Home screen or the dedicated widgets screen (swipe right on your main home screen). To achieve this, simply touch and hold an icon until everything begins to jiggle, then tap the plus “+” icon in the top-left corner of the screen. From there, select Shortcuts and choose “Add Widget,” followed by selecting the desired Shortcut (or folder).

Additionally, you have the option to run Shortcuts from the home screen just like regular apps. This can be done by editing the Shortcut and tapping the “Add to Home Screen” option. Furthermore, you can easily find Shortcuts by using Spotlight search and activate them directly from the search results.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Tim Brookes

Below the sharing options in the Share button, you will find shortcuts that are designated to execute. This feature is helpful for workflows that rely on one or more inputs, especially those that involve media or files.

You can conveniently activate these Shortcuts through Siri. Simply ask Siri to "run my Start Pomodoro shortcut" and it will be executed. Shortcuts marked to be viewed on Apple Watch will appear in the Shortcuts app on your watch, allowing you to add them to Watch faces for easy accessibility.

How to Create Your Own Shortcuts

To create a new workflow, open the Shortcuts app and select the "Shortcuts" tab. Tap on the plus "+" icon in the top-right corner of the screen under "All Shortcuts" (you may choose a different folder to save your Shortcut).

Next, you will find an option to "Add Action" and some suggested actions. At the bottom of the screen, there is a search bar to find specific actions by name. This is how you construct your shortcut. Add actions to the workflow in a logical sequence, ensuring a smooth flow from one action to the next.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Located at the lower part of the screen, there is an "i" button. By tapping on it, you will reveal additional options such as displaying your workflow in the Share Sheet (allowing it to function as a destination for files or media), presenting your workflow on an Apple Watch, and accessing macOS features like utilizing a shortcut as a Quick Action or pinning it to the menu bar.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Additionally, you can configure the shortcut to run even when your device is locked by accessing the option located in the "Privacy" section. Furthermore, there is a dedicated "Set-up" section that prompts a series of questions upon initial addition of the Shortcut. These questions are essential for gathering crucial data that ensures the smooth functioning of the Shortcut.

If you're unsure about creating a shortcut from scratch, it can be a challenging task. For now, take some time to explore the various actions and settings available. Experiment with placing a few actions and observe the outcomes, even if you don't aim to create a coherent shortcut.

Certain actions are standalone events, while others need input. By tapping on the blue input areas, you can set the input or select options such as "Ask Every Time" (which prompts you when running the Shortcut) or "Clipboard," among others.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

You have the option to name your Shortcut, choose an icon, and select a color at the top of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, there is a "Play" button that allows you to test your Shortcut while constructing it. It's normal to feel a bit confused during this phase, so don't worry.

Some iPhone Shortcuts Ideas to Get You Started

To familiarize yourself with Shortcuts, we will guide you through the creation of several workflows. Our initial endeavor involves constructing a Shortcut that logs your weight in Apple Health. Upon execution, you will be prompted for your present weight, which will then be promptly documented within the Health app. This seamless interaction significantly expedites the entire process.

Create a new Shortcut and include the "Log Health Sample" action. Modify the type to "Weight" and set the "Value" to "Ask Each Time". You can also select the desired measurement here. Proceed by giving your workflow a name and an icon at the top of the screen. Once done, click on Done to save.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Now, give your Shortcut a try. A prompt will appear, asking you to enter a value. Simply input your desired value, then click "Done" to record your weight. To verify that the process was successful, navigate to the Health app and check the "Weight" section under "Body Measurements".

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Note: If you haven't already done so, you might be asked to grant Shortcuts access to your Health data. You can manage these permissions at any time by going to Settings > Privacy & Security.

This is a straightforward workflow that expedites a process with just one action. Now, let's examine something slightly more intricate by creating a workflow that combines several PDFs into one document.

In the Shortcuts app, create a new Shortcut. Include the "Select File" action and tap on the arrow icon within the action. Enable the "Select Multiple" checkbox. Utilize the search box at the bottom of the screen to locate the "Make PDF" action. Confirm that "File" is chosen as the variable (it should be pre-filled).

At this point, you have the option to simply save or upload the file. However, we will incorporate the "Quick Look" action. Ensure that "PDF" is selected as the variable. Quick Look will display the recently created PDF, along with a Share button, allowing you to determine what actions to take with the file.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

If you choose not to save the PDF in the Quick Look dialog, it will not be saved, thereby preventing unnecessary storage usage. In case you prefer, you can directly share the PDF via email or a Messages conversation without saving it.

Hopefully, these two examples are enough to whet your appetite to create your own workflows in Shortcuts.

You Can Download Shortcuts Too

Don't feel like making your own Shortcuts? No worries! You don't have to. There are countless Shortcuts available for immediate download. You can find some of them on the "Gallery" tab within the Shortcuts app. Simply locate one that catches your interest and tap the plus "+" button next to it.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Consider downloading Shortcuts from alternative sources after ensuring the trustworthiness of the source or verifying it through other users. Although Shortcuts are generally secure, it is still possible for malicious individuals to exploit them. Our comprehensive guide on finding and downloading Shortcuts is highly recommended. The r/Shortcuts subreddit is widely regarded as one of the top sources for quality Shortcuts. Additionally, you can explore ShortcutsGallery.com and Routinehub for more options.

Sync Shortcuts Between iPhone, iPad, and Mac

If you use the same Apple ID on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, shortcuts will automatically sync across your devices. Your saved shortcuts can be found in the appropriate app. Please note that not all shortcuts are compatible with all devices due to the variations between Apple's desktop and mobile operating systems, although many are.

Unlocking the Hidden Potential: Mastering iPhone Shortcuts for Maximum Efficiency

Use Shortcuts to Trigger Automations

In the Shortcuts app, there is a designated tab called "Automations." This tab allows you to create Automations that activate in response to various events such as specific times, performing actions like tapping a payment card, or arriving/leaving a specific location.

These Automations can be tailored to your personal needs or can control connected devices in your home. While Shortcuts can play a role in these workflows, they can only act as triggers for the Automations. By utilizing Automations events as triggers, you can unleash a wide array of possibilities and greatly enhance the power of your Automations.

One of the better examples is triggering a Shortcut when you open a specific app. You can use this to effectively override the default iOS Camera app with an app of your choosing.