Apple iPhone Shortcuts Tutorial



Did you wonder why you have an app on your iPhone called Shortcuts? I have always wondered what that app was and never really knew why until I decided to learn more about it. I will say that Shortcuts is one of the most powerful features of your iPhone and one that most iPhone users are not aware of.

The purpose of this post is to explore and bring awareness to this powerful Shortcuts app that you can use to automate tasks on your iPhone through a tap, asking Siri, or launch by an event.

Examples of shortcuts are seeing the current weather of where you are, you can set a timer to take a break, you can text the last image you took and many more. The Gallery gives you a library of Shortcuts that you can search for and use yourself.

You tap on the Shortcuts app to launch it on your iPhone. The icon looks like the icon below.


What is an iPhone Shortcut?

So, what is a Shortcut? A Shortcut is a way to help automate one or more tasks that you do repetitively on your iPhone. A task is broken down into one or more actions that you can use to communicate with different apps or the Internet on your iPhone.

How does an iPhone Shortcut work?

A Shortcut is a way for you to do one or more tasks on your iPhone. Each task is made up of one or more actions. There is a lot of things you can do with your actions including accessing the information on other apps or the Internet to automate a task that you do over and over again. Typically you tap or ask Siri to run a shortcut.

You tap the Shortcut See Radar to see the local radar. You can also ask Siri to run See Radar to launch the Shortcut.


What are the ways to launch a Shortcut?

There are several ways that you can launch Shortcuts on your iPhone. The different ways are as follows:

  • Manually with a tap of your finger
    • You can just tap on the Shortcut and the iPhone will run the Shortcut for you.
  • Siri by asking Siri to run a Shortcut
    • You can say \”Siri, run See radar\” and Siri will run the Shortcut for you.
  • Event-driven automation by setting an event that will automatically launch a shortcut.
    • You can create a Shortcut that launches when a certain time or an event on a calendar. There are many ways you can create events to automatically run a Shortcut for you when you want them to.

Where are the collection of curated Shortcuts in the app?

Apple provides a curated list of Shortcuts in the Gallery. You can search for commonly used Shortcuts and use them yourself. There are hundreds of examples of Shortcuts that you can search for and use.


How to create a iPhone Shortcut?

In the Shortcuts app, you have different ways you can create Shortcuts. One way is to just create a simple Shortcut. Tap on the + in the top right corner.

I am using a smaller iPhone so I find it difficult to take a simple screenshot on my iPhone. So, I am going to create a Take Screenshot shortcut to make it easier for me to take screenshots of my phone screen. It will be a Shortcut I will use a lot in my work.

To create a Shortcut, tap on the +.


Once you tap the +, the next screen appears. On this screen, you can add an action or actions to your Shortcut. Tap on Add Action to add the Take Screenshot action.


After you tap Add Action, tap on Search for apps and actions.


After you tap apps and actions, type Screenshot. Then, tap Take Screenshot.


After you tapped Take Screenshot, tap the X to close the creation of the Shortcut. At this point, Shortcuts will put the app on your main screen of the Shortcuts app.


Now, your new shortcut will appear in your list. Now, you can tap the Take Screenshot and say \”Siri, run Take Screenshot\” and you will take a screenshot of the main screen on your iPhone. That is it.


If for some reason, you want to delete a Shortcut place your finger over the icon and you will see a menu appear. Just tap the Delete menu option to remove the Shortcut.

We just barely scratched the surface of using the Shortcuts app. There is so much more to creating Shortcuts that we will save for another post. You can be as simple and as sophisticated as you want with your Shortcuts. Remember, shortcuts can be one or more actions using your apps on your phone or on the Internet.  In this simple example, we added one action of Taking a Screenshot as your Shortcut.


In this post, we explore some of the basics of the iPhone\’s Shortcuts app. Shortcuts are a way for users to automate tasks that you do repetitively on your iPhone. You can launch Shortcuts by tapping, by asking Siri to run the Shortcut, or you can create an automation based on an event. An event can be anything that you need to be able to do based on some event such as a time of day, a date, and many others. I consider the Shortcuts app one of the most powerful apps on your iPhone to do tasks and automation for you. You can use Shortcuts to make your life easier. I wish I knew about this app sooner myself.

For more information about the Shortcuts app, please visit Apple\’s Shortcuts User Guide. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below. I look forward to your comments and suggestions. If you have a request for an article, please also post that. I want to make the articles I am writing relevant to your needs. Good luck with using and creating Shortcuts on your iPhone.

Dr. M

Dr. M

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