iOS Shortcuts sound awesome, but I am underwhelmed
March 12, 2019 11:00 AM   Subscribe

Are there iOS shortcuts that actually save steps or time? I have a hard time finding examples or use cases.

I have read a lot of lists of Shortcuts and most of them don't seem very short to me. An example is posting a photo to a social media app. So, you select the shortcut, then you select the photo and then you enter the optional text and hashtags and hit post. That seems like the same number of steps/taps you would use inside the actual app or if you are sharing from the Photos app. I use IFTTT and Zapier and have found lots of recipes that make sense to automate in those places (rain alerts, emails from rss, photo posting based on a dropbox folder). I don't do much home automation or time tracking, so maybe my use cases just don't overlap.
posted by soelo to Technology (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think that there's two main benefits to shortcuts:

1- Multiple step actions (not just taking a picture and posting it to social media, but maybe taking a picture and posting to many places at once, as well as backing it up somewhere, etc)
2- 'add to Siri' - for instance, I have a 'Play this entire album' phrase I can say to Siri when in the car, which'll stop whatever shuffle madness is happening and play the entire album of the song I'm listening to, from the start.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:23 AM on March 12

I added "Accessibility Shortcuts" to my "Control Center" so I can toggle between B&W / Color (I try to keep it in B&W but sometimes want to look at my pictures in color, and the setting is otherwise buried in like seven layers of settings.)
posted by gauche at 11:53 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]

I have a handful I use:
- 'drive' triggers Overcast to start playing the last podcast I was listening to, then fires up Waze, with an appropriate destination based on where I am and what time of day it is. I've toyed with also sending my spouse an ETA if I'm headed home.
- good morning triggers my closet light to go on at 10%, gives me a slot to manually record my weight which then gets saved into health, opens a bunch of apps that need to sync data and then drops me into a mood tracker.
- good night drops me into an app to assess my day and then another round of mood tracking
- ingress map: opens the Ingress (real-world location based game) Intel map to a useful zoom level at work, home, a important in-game location, or my current location
posted by neilbert at 11:56 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]

One of the things I use Shortcuts for is, essentially, creating little utility apps so I can do certain tasks without needing to install an actual app for it. One I use every day is a Shortcut I created that logs my weight, calculates my BMI, and saves both to the HealthKit database. I have another shortcut that finds all the screenshots in my Photo Library and lets me delete them in bulk. Another shortcut I use takes clipboard text (or selected text via the Share action) and sets it to Title Case.

I also like to use Shortcuts for linking together stuff I do in multiple apps. When it's time to leave for work, or leave for home, I have a Shortcut that starts the playlist in my podcast player, sets my commute timer for tracking, and launches my transit app so I can see how long it'll take me to get to my next destination.
posted by SansPoint at 11:57 AM on March 12

Oh, and I have one that cleans out any un-hearted screenshots from my photo album - I tend to accumulate lots of them from gameplay during Ingress or Pokemon Go.
posted by neilbert at 11:58 AM on March 12

Check out Matthew Cassinelli's YouTube channel. He is a "Siri Shortcuts expert after working at Workflow before Apple acquired the team. He wrote the original documentation and built many of the Shortcuts in the Gallery today."
posted by terrapin at 12:35 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]

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