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IPhone shortcuts: how does the coolest iOS 12 app work?

iOS 12 was released a few days ago and is full of new features, as we have already seen. But one of these novelties does not reveal its full potential at first sight: the possibility of creating shortcuts thanks to Siri, and therefore of having access to new possibilities thanks to the voice assistant. But if the function integrated into the mobile system is quite limited, it takes its full potential when you install the Shortcuts application, distributed free by Apple on the App Store. Much more complete, it allows in particular to create much more complex shortcuts, by integrating for example several actions in succession for the same command. Unfortunately, Shortcuts is far from intuitive and deserves some advice to be used better. Here are some explanations on how it works and the possibilities it offers you.

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>>> Read also: iOS 12: 15 essential tips and tricks

Create and manage your own shortcuts

The principle of shortcuts in iOS 12 is simple in theory: create a series of actions that will be performed on a simple voice command or at the press of a button. Once the application “Shortcuts” installed, you will arrive on a library which will be logically empty for your first use. This is an opportunity to remind you that if you have already created shortcuts via the function integrated natively into iOS 12, these will not automatically appear in this interface, and you will have to recreate them one by one.

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You will therefore have to create your first shortcut by clicking on the appropriate button, which will transport you to a page in which you can define the actions to be performed. However, creating a shortcut requires understanding the logic of the application. You can select actions to perform via the search field at your disposal, or by selecting from the types of content available below. In our example, we are going to create a shortcut that opens the Music application, opens a playlist that we have chosen in advance and plays it, all on a simple command given to Siri. To do this, we can type “Playlist” in the dedicated field, or simply go to the “Music” content type to find the action that interests us. In this case, it is the “Get Playlist” function. We add it to our shortcut, then we select the playlist that interests us. Then, it is a question of finding the function which will make it possible to launch the reading of this playlist, and this one is called simply “Play the music”, always in the Music section. Be careful to integrate this function after that dedicated to the selection of the playlist you want to listen to, because Shortcuts perform the tasks in the exact order in which they are found in each of the shortcuts that you create. Order is therefore essential.

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Once this shortcut is created, you can assign it a name and a personalized voice command. Here, we just call it “Launch my music”, Siri will then recognize this sentence as the shortcut here. You can now test it immediately by activating Siri and speaking the phrase you previously recorded to see the voice assistant automatically perform the defined actions.

Your shortcut is therefore created and accessible either in Siri or from your shortcut library in the application, but that’s not all. It is possible to create a button dedicated to your shortcut, which you can integrate into different places in the system. You can for example add it on the iPhone home screen by going to the shortcut settings and choosing “On the home screen”. This will open a page in Safari, from which you will only have to follow the instructions. Your shortcut will then appear as an application. A widget can also be added in the dedicated page (on the far left of the home screen), also allowing you to access it more quickly.

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Download ready-made shortcuts

We have seen how to create a simple shortcut, which has only two steps, but you will of course understand that it is possible to combine actions and applications in several ways, leaving only your imagination and application compatibility as limits. third parties with this service. Thus, you could for example create a voice command “Good night” which would have the effect of turning off the lights (via Homekit), activating the Do Not Disturb mode and programming an alarm clock for the next morning.

But if you don’t have ideas for shortcuts to create, why not trust the creations of other users of the service? Communities have spontaneously sprung up all over the Net around Siri shortcuts, but you won’t have to look far to find suggestions that might interest you, since the application itself already offers shortcuts already ready to install.

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From the Shortcuts home page, click on “Gallery” to discover these suggestions. By clicking on a function that interests you, you will be able to see a description of it, and add it to your phone with a click. Once you’ve finished shopping, head back to your library to browse your newly added shortcuts. Know that you can customize these shortcuts by modifying themt. Click on the three small dots at the top of the shortcut to arrive on the same menu as for its creation, and you will be able to change its name, add or delete actions, change the voice command, etc.

Beyond the Apple application, which offers shortcuts selected by the brand, the communities on the Net are mainly English-speaking, which will therefore involve making a certain number of changes if you download shortcuts there. If sites like Sharecuts (link to open from your iPhone) also offer to download ready-made links, there are also communities dedicated to creating new shortcuts, especially on Reddit. Here, too, you will have to speak English, in the absence of a sufficiently active and visible French community at present, but the place can be useful for obtaining resources and ideas for your own shortcuts.

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