21 ways you didnt know you could use Shortcuts on your iPhone

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We’re big fans of Apple’s Shortcuts app. It’s a
time-saving widget-maker that’s really fun to experiment with.
Think of Shortcuts as an in-phone version of If This Then
That(opens in a new tab), which gets your iPhone’s apps to work
together in a sequence to generate a useful action. There are
official Apple-created Shortcuts and user-generated ones too. Some
Shortcuts bring Siri voice control into the mix, such as the fun
“Say Cheese” Shortcut which lets you grab a hands-free photo by
saying “Siri, say cheese” to your phone.

A classic example of an official Shortcut that
you tap to activate is the “Home ETA” Shortcut. No matter where you
are, this Shortcut uses the Maps app to see where you’re at, looks
at your pre-programmed home address to see how long it will take
you to get there, then uses your Messages app to generate an SMS
with your ETA, and sends this information to a pre-selected
contact. So, once you’ve initially entered the required data in the
Shortcut sequence, all this happens by simply tapping on the
Shortcut in your Shortcuts library.

There are hundreds of other great examples in
Apple’s Shortcuts Gallery, as well as other Shortcuts that other
users have created and shared, from the ability to countdown to a
special day to being able to find the perfect GIF for any

Getting started
with Shortcuts on iPhone

Shortcuts is now pre-installed as standard on
any devices running at least iOS 13, but anyone on an older version
of the mobile operating system will have to download the app from
the App Store. It’s available for both the iPhone(opens in a new
tab) and the iPad(opens in a new tab).

If you want to add third-party Shortcuts, you’ll
have to go through an approval screen on iOS 12. iOS 13 and 14
users need to head to their Settings to manually “Allow Untrusted

First, set up Shortcuts.
Credit: screenshot / apple

There’s always a risk doing this, but as you can
view (and edit) the Shortcut steps of each Shortcut you add to your
phone, the danger is pretty minimal, as long as you know you’re
downloading a genuine Shortcuts iCloud link.

Add these
useful Shortcuts to your iOS toolbox

From locating essential services near you to
saving time creating visual content to enjoying your music
seamlessly, here is a fantastically random selection of the best
Shortcuts we recommend you check out. You can use Shortcuts to…

1. Find the perfect GIF in seconds(opens in
a new tab)

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GIFs. Always. Credit:
screenshot / giphy

Search GIPHY and
offers you a super-speedy way to find just the right
GIF for any occasion and send it via the usual channels, or to your
social media platforms. Simply tap the Shortcut, enter the word or
phrase you want to depict, select from the options, and share

2. Create a playlist of your favorite
songs(opens in a new tab)

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Make Top 25
does just that. If you want a one-touch solution
to hearing your fave music, this widget analyzes which tunes you’ve
listened to most in your Music app and automatically generates a
playlist of what is presumably your current top tracks.

3. Create a one-tap app to call your
bae(opens in a new tab)

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Speed Dial
allows you to create an app tile for your iPhone’s home screen
which, when you tap on it, calls the person in your contacts you’ve
selected. What’s even more awesome is you can select a photo (or
customized icon design) to show on the tile.

4. Fake any number of text messages(opens in
a new tab)

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has a rather silly default to automatically
send 500 notifications, but you can adjust the amount in the app to
a more believable number. If you’re looking for an excuse to leave,
stop chatting, get off the phone, look popular, or whatever,
covertly tapping on this Shortcut will instigate the text alert
audio as many times as you tell it.

5. Leave the perfect tip (opens in a new

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is great for anyone who struggles with mental
arithmetic and is worried about looking mean by leaving too little
or overspending by leaving too much. Enter the amount of the check
and this Shortcut tells you the tip amount and what the new total
will be.

6. Silence your phone in a particular
situation(opens in a new tab)

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DND Until I
offers a really quick way to turn on your iPhone’s
Do Not Disturb functionality. Rather than fuss around with your
Settings menu, one tap of this Shortcut turns on Do Not Disturb
until you physically leave your current location.

7. Make a live GIF(opens in a new tab)

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Shoot a
helps you create a down and dirty photo-based GIF
whenever you like. You can choose how many frames you want to
capture and how long you want each photo to display, then use the
front or back camera to create your slideshow and share

8. Get directions to your nearest need(opens
in a new tab)

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Walk to Coffee
instantly loads up directions to your nearest java
hub. However, you can change the type of business to anything.
Customize it to find your nearest book shop, grocery store, public
restrooms, or anything that would be useful to you that you look up

9. Create a kid-friendly music app(opens in
a new tab)

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Play an
lets you create a Shortcut to a particular record.
While this may not be an amazing tool for grownups, if you have
music on your phone your child likes to listen to, you can add a
one-tap button on your home screen so they don’t have to mess
around in your Music app to find what they are looking for.

10. Never forget your shopping list (opens
in a new tab)

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Remind Me at
is designed to do just that — send you a Reminder
when you hit your pre-selected workplace. However, if you set your
workplace to your grocery store, and add your shopping list, you’ll
get an automatic Reminder of items you need to buy when you hit the

11. Take I.C.E. to the next level(opens in a
new tab)

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In Case of
is the next-gen interpretation of adding an
“ICE” contact. This Shortcut will send an initial message to your
chosen emergency contacts with your location, send a second message
to other key contacts if required, and display a message on your
phone screen for first responders to see.

12. Cue up your own laughter track(opens in
a new tab)

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is a total novelty, but it has its uses in comedy
situations. If you’ve always wanted your own laugh track to play as
you deliver your side-splittingly hilarious punchlines, this app is
for you. Hit the button for instant applause.

13. Turn on your Apple TV without the
remote(opens in a new tab) (opens in a new tab)

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Wake Apple
is a life-saver if you can’t find the tiny remote, or
can’t be bothered to move from the couch. If the television that
the Apple TV is connected to supports HDMI-CEC connectivity (and
most recent ones do) then this Shortcut will turn on your TV,

14. Make a quick image collage(opens in a
new tab)

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Step 1: Collect a bunch of
photos of your cats. Credit: annie colbert / mashable

Photo Grid
is a quick and simple way to turn multiple images from your
iPhone’s Camera Roll into a collage, and then share them quickly
and easily. You simply select the images you’d like to use, wait
for the preview to load, then share it.

15. Tell your honey when you’ll be
home(opens in a new tab)

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Home ETA
looks at your current location, sees how far away you are from your
pre-loaded home address, and calculates how long it will take you
to return to base. It then messages a pre-selected contact to give
them your ETA.

16. Instantly share what you’ve just
screengrabbed(opens in a new tab)

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sends the very latest screenshot you’ve grabbed
to another iDevice via AirDrop. If no devices are found, this
Shortcut brings up the standard sharing choices to give you other

17. Get Siri to snap a hands-free
photo(opens in a new tab)

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Say Cheese
is a brilliantly named Shortcut that uses the Siri integration to
grab a snap from your iPhone’s camera. For iOS 13 users, if you
“Say Cheese” to Siri it will launch the Shortcut and take a
hands-free photo. Note: This is not fully functional for all iOS 12

18. Share your current song(opens in a new

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Message This
works with your Shazam app to identify a song. It
creates a message with the artist’s name and the song title
pre-loaded, so you can share it with a friend or send it to

19. Count the sleeps until a big event(opens
in a new tab)

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An iPhone shortcut
especially helpful for impatient people. Credit: screenshot /
special day countdown

Special Day
lets you see how long it is until a “Special
Day” in your life. Whether you want to see how many days until a
birthday, or a holiday, or you just can’t wait for your next night
out with your besties, this app will reveal how long is left and
gives you the option to message this update to others.

20. Practice good hand hygiene(opens in a
new tab)

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Washing Hands
helps you (and/or your kids) with good hand-washing
hygiene. Sure, you can actually count up to 20 or sing “Happy
Birthday” twice, but tapping a widget to play a correctly timed
snippet of one of the songs from your own music library is way

21. Pick the winning lottery numbers(opens
in a new tab)

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Random Number
will take the brain-strain out of coming up with
random numbers. Obviously we’re joking about the lottery, but you
can use this simple tool to generate numbers at random for lotto
tickets, to pick competition winners, to create passwords, and


Shortcuts really shines for iOS 13 and iOS 14
users, but anyone still stuck on iOS 12 might not get the best out
of all these Shortcuts. If, when you click on an iCloud link, your
phone keeps opening the App Store instead of the Shortcuts app, try
opening the link in your iPhone’s Safari browser. That should do
the trick.

Shortcuts that
make the cut

While some of these Shortcuts don’t represent a
major time-saving, it’s pretty cool to have little widgets that can
automate app actions for you. Some of them are just for fun, others
can prove really useful in everyday life, and a few of them could
even save your life. Once you’ve explored the options we’re
highlighting, you can browse for more by searching for what you’d
like a shortcut to do in the Shortcut app’s Gallery section. To
access this, simply tap on “Gallery” at the bottom right of your
Shortcut app’s screen.

Frequently asked questions

how to make a shortcut on iphone

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