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How to Create a Shortcut on iPhone (Step-by-Step)

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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At last year’s Worldwide Developer Conference, iOS 12 introduced one of the most important updates to iOS devices: Siri Shortcuts.

This app has completely changed how iPhone users use their devices from a productivity standpoint.

Now, they’ll be able to get things done easier and faster. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what Siri Shortcuts is and how to create your first Shortcuts on your iPhone.

What Are Shortcuts on iPhone?

What is Siri Shortcuts
Siri Shortcuts Page. Credit: Apple

Shortcuts, previously called Workflow before it was acquired by Apple back in 2017, is an automation platform that controls processes within iOS and apps.

It allows iOS and iPadOS device users to quickly complete complicated tasks with their apps with just a tap or by asking Siri. You can either create your own Shortcuts or use pre-made ones by Apple in the Gallery that best suit your needs.

Each simple task that the app performs is an “action” such as setting up a timer or the calendar. Shortcuts’ real power lies in configuring multiple actions to run in sequence to perform advanced and complicated tasks.

However, average users may not appreciate the value of app-based automation because they can do almost everything on their phone in just one or a few taps.

At first, some people may even find it too cumbersome and complicated to create a custom shortcut, therefore would prefer not to use it altogether. It’s much simpler and easier to use once you get the hang of it.

How to Use Shortcuts on iPhone

Despite Apple’s effort to make Siri more useful and competitive against other popular digital assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, you don’t necessarily have to talk to Siri to run any Shortcut.

But the main point was to use it with Siri; it’s even called Siri Shortcuts. Here are a few ways to use them.

  • You can access your Shortcuts from Siri app suggestions. Enter the name of your Shortcut or start typing, and it will show up there. Just tap on it to run it.
  • If you’ve enabled the automation app in Widgets via the Settings app, it will appear there along with other apps. If you don’t see all your shortcuts, you can press the “Show More” button.
  • You can also use them from the Share Sheet; if it’s not there, you’ll have to enable it. Swipe to the left until you find the “More” button, tap on it, then look for Shortcuts from the list and activate it.
  • Obviously, you can run your Shortcuts inside of the Shortcuts app where they live.
  • You can also add your favorite Shortcut to the Home screen for better accessibility.

Now that you have a better understanding of Shortcuts and how to run them let’s create our first one.

How to Create a Shortcut on iPhone

For this guide, we will create a simple Shortcut that you could use to check how many days are left before a special event such as your birthday or a holiday. How about Thanksgiving? That sounds like a plan. Let’s get into it.

Step 1—Open the Siri Shortcuts app and go to the Library tab. Press Create Shortcut at the bottom or press the “+” sign at the top right corner of the screen.

Creating a Siri Shortcut

Step 2 – Scroll down to add your first action. From the search bar, search for “Date” and make sure to select “Current Date.”

Then, we are going to format the date to make it easy to read. Feel free to set it to your liking, but we will pick a short date and time format for now.

Add action to a Siri Shortcut

Step 3—After that, we need to set this date as a variable so we can assign its value to the input of this action. We’ll call it “Today,” but you can name it whatever you want.

Set variable to a Siri Shortcut

Step 4 – Now, we’ll add the date that we want to know how many days are left until the date.

From the search bar, look for Date. This time, we’ll select “Specified Date,” which is Thursday, November 28, 2019. Again, we’ll set the date to a short format.

Set a date to a Siri Shortcut

Step 5 – Let’s call our variable “Thanksgiving.”

Setting a name a Siri Shortcut

Step 6—Now, we want to know how much time is between these two dates. From the Calendar category, on the bottom half of the screen, select “Get Time Between Dates” and set it to “Days.”

Setting the time between two dates in  Siri Shortcut

Step 7 – The last thing we need to do is to set up an alert when we run the Shortcut. Search for Alert and select “Show Alert.” From there, you can set the title to Countdown to Thanksgiving.

Our alert will say something like: There are “Time Between Dates” days until Thanksgiving. You can uncheck the “Show Cancel Button at the bottom”, it’s unnecessary.

Before you hit done, give it a name to make it easy to identify if you have multiple Shortcuts in your Library.

Now that you’ve created your first Shortcut, go ahead and create your own. In the meantime, enjoy this helpful Shortcut we’ve created to help manage iPhone battery life more efficiently.

Smart Battery Manager

There’s nothing more terrifying than your iPhone running out of battery, and it’s even worse if you don’t have a portable battery charger.

With this “Smart Battery Manager” Shortcut, you can efficiently save iPhone battery life while continuing to use your phone. This Shortcut uses various tips from our iPhone battery tips guide; make sure to check it out for full coverage.

Final Thoughts on Creating a Shortcut on iPhone

And there you have it. Our step-by-step guide to creating your first Shortcut on your iPhone. We hope you take advantage of this new automation system that you now have at your fingertips.

If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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