This Siri Shortcut will automatically text your commute time to your spouse

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Siri shortcuts knows how long your bus will take to get you home.
Siri knows how long your bus will take to get you home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This Siri Shortcut will send an iMessage to a friend, spouse or other contact telling them how long it will be until you get to their location. Once set up, all you need to do is say something simple (and easy to remember) like “Home soon.”

This shortcut uses a brand-new feature in Shortcuts beta 2.0 that allows the sending of messages in the background, without having to confirm them first. It’s a small but powerful addition. Once Apple irons out the kinks, this feature could make a huge difference in how useful Siri Shortcuts will be day to day.

Why you should use iOS 12’s Do Not Disturb at Bedtime all day long

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Do Not Disturb at Bedtime all day
You could enjoy this peaceful situation all day long.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12’s best new feature may be Do Not Disturb at Bedtime. That sounds boring, but ask anyone who has been using the beta and they’ll tell you that it rocks. Apart from being active overnight, the main difference between regular Do Not Disturb and the new “at Bedtime” flavor is that all notifications are hidden from the lock screen until you deliberately swipe up on the screen to reveal them.

Regular Do Not Disturb suppresses audio and vibrating alerts, but the notifications still appear on the lock screen. You’ll see them any time you pick up your iPhone or unlock your iPad. This can make the difference between enjoying your hooky afternoon at the beach in peace or worrying the whole time because you accidentally saw that Slack message from your boss.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take the regular Do Not Disturb and make it hide your alerts all day long? The good news is that you totally can.

How to use Do Not Disturb While Driving

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This car hasn't been disturbed while driving for quite some time.
This car hasn't been disturbed while driving for quite some time.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature has the potential to make you less of a menace on the road. Introduced in iOS 11, Do Not Disturb While Driving automatically switches your iPhone into Do Not Disturb mode when you hop in your car and drive off. While in this mode, iOS suppresses all notifications so you can pay attention to keeping that ton of metal, glass and cupholders from permanently ruining — or ending — the life of a pedestrian or cyclist.

But don’t worry! If you do receive one of those text messages that you previously thought were more important than the lives of your fellow commuters, the sender will get a reply telling them that you’re driving, and that you are now a better person.

All of this is customizable, of course, so let’s see how to set up Do Not Disturb While Driving.

How to get YouTube’s incognito mode on iOS right now

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Youtube’s Incognito mode
YouTube’s incognito mode is already built into Safari.
Photo: freestocks.org/Pexels CC

Android has, or is soon to get, an incognito mode for the YouTube app, which will stop watched videos from showing up in your YouTube history. Google will still know exactly what you watch, of course. It’s just a way of keeping embarrassing movies out of your watched videos list.

iOS may or may not be getting the same feature, but that doesn’t matter. By using iOS’ (and the Mac’s) built-in tools, you can already watch YouTube videos without them showing up in your YouTube history. It even stops YouTube from tracking your history via cookies.

Check out these hidden tips and tricks for Apple’s Podcasts app

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Apple's podcasts app is deeper than you might imagine.
Apple's podcasts app is deeper than you might imagine.
Photo: Incase/Flickr CC

Apple’s Podcasts app is now the equal of any third-party podcast, or “podcatcher,” app for iOS. I recently switched to using it as my default podcasts app, and I’ve found it does pretty much everything you could want it to.

In fact, it seems like some developers inside Apple are doing the same. The app really is well-designed and now offers some surprisingly deep “pro” features. And these pro features are what we’re going to look at today.

How to add bookmarks to your iPhone home screen

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These bookmark-metaphor photos are going a bit too far.
These bookmark-metaphor photos are going a bit too far.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a website you visit frequently — and who doesn’t? — then you might like to have quicker access to that site. You might appreciate an icon on your iPhone’s home screen that you can tap to launch that site, just like you’d launch an app.

Today we’ll see how to add a bookmark to your iPhone home screen. And if you already know how to do this, check out the post anyway. There are a couple of neat extra tricks in there.

Pro Tip: Use iOS Spotlight as a keyboard app launcher

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spotlight keyboard ap launcher
A spotlight helps find things.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugDid you know that you can use Spotlight on iOS as an app launcher? It works just like Launchbar or Alfred on the Mac. You just hit a keyboard shortcut and start typing, then hit enter to launch the app. If you have a wireless (or wired) keyboard attached to your iPad, you’re going to love this tip.

How to use Type to Siri in iOS 11 (and why you’ll love it)

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type to siri prompt
Type to Siri really shines on the iPad.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11 is Apple’s most keyboard-friendly version of its mobile software yet, but that doesn’t mean you have to hook up an external keyboard to use its best new keyboard-centric features. Today we’ll look at Type to Siri, which can be used whenever you’d usually talk to your favorite digital assistant just by tapping on the usual on-screen keyboard.

How to mute iMessage threads, and spot those you accidentally silenced

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shhh mute iMessage
Shut those annoying conversations up right now.
Photo: Shawn Rossi/Flickr CC

Have you ever had your regular (important) iMessages swamped by a flurry of notifications for that inane group conversations about matcha-flavored KitKats? Or maybe you want to keep your iPad’s notifications switched on, but you want to mute iMessages from your boss until Monday, because she has no concept of boundaries?

If so, you need iMessage’s handy conversation-muting feature. It’s so easy to use that you may have turned it on by mistake. If you’re no longer getting alerts for certain messages, you may want to check this, too.