How to use Apple Shortcuts to simplify your life



Reimagine your home screen through using Apple Shortcuts!

By now, you have likely heard of the new iOS trend: utilizing the Apple Shortcuts app, creating custom home screens and widgets. If you haven’t, you will now! Today, we will be diving into the ins-and-outs of the Shortcuts app.

Before discussing anything else, make sure your Apple device is on iOS 12 or later. Unfortunately, older versions of iOS are not compatible with Shortcuts.

Using the Shortcuts app, users have the ability to make custom app covers. This is not a new feature, however, it has become more popular since the recent update, iOS 14, which allows users to remove the original app from their home screen without deleting it altogether.

Here is a video on how to create an app shortcut:

As you can see, this shortcut uses the scripting feature, which opens the selected app. The shortcut can then be renamed, and you can select a photo from your Apple Photos app to be the cover when you add the shortcut to your home screen.

Additionally, the update brought Apple users a new feature: widgets. Apple has their own widgets, however many apps have their own, which can be useful when you edit your home screen. The best widget app I have used for my phone is called Widgetsmith – they have many options for creating custom widgets, covering everything from clocks, calendars, reminders to photos.

Here are a few examples of custom home screens using widgets and app covers.

But that’s not all! Apple provides many pre-existing shortcuts, some of which are targeted towards productivity, accessibility, music and more. There are also shortcuts made by other creators on Reddit, of which I’ve included my personal favorites below:

1. Make GIF: this shortcut turns any video or live photo into a GIF, which then saves to your Photos app. Simply go to the Shortcuts app, add the shortcut, allow permissions, then click on the new shortcut – your device will prompt you to select the photo or video of your choice, and watch as the magic happens!

2. Take a Break: with this shortcut, it allows you to take a screen break by turning Do Not Disturb on for a set period of time. It’s super helpful especially during a time when we are constantly staring at our phones. After setting it up, say “Hey Siri, take a break” or run the shortcut manually in the app.

3. Intelligent Power: If you only have 1 percent battery left but still need to use it to call just in case, this is the shortcut for you! Created by Reddit user wexford001, this shortcut works to save any remaining battery in extreme scenarios. All you have to do is click on this link, and allow your app to ‘Add Untrusted Shortcut.’ Then, when you need it, ask Siri to run “Intelligent Power,” and it will automatically enable additional features to keep your phone alive for as long as possible.

4. I’m getting pulled over: If you ever find yourself in need to quickly record a situation and send someone your location, this shortcut by Reddit user RobertAPatterson allows you to do just that. In light of police brutality and the responses to Black Lives Matter protests, this can unfortunately come in handy. It doesn’t just have to be for getting pulled over, you can choose to rename it and repurpose the shortcut for your needs. Like “Intelligent Power,” you need to make sure your app can allow third-party additions. Fill in the rest of the information and allow permission to the corresponding apps, and you’re all ready to go.

5. Shakespeare Insult Generator: “Thou infectious beef-witted pignut!” This one is random, I know. But Apple’s shortcut gallery has a shortcut that immediately generates a Shakespeare-inspired insult and copies it to your clipboard. Just like all the others, tell Siri to run “Shakespeare Insult Generator” or run the shortcut yourself. Do what you will with that information.

Hopefully, this was insightful and maybe triggered some ideas on personalizing your Apple products even more. The bottom line is… just have fun with it!