Download Instagram photos with this Siri shortcut

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Download Instagram
You can download any Instagram photo -- even this one.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you like a photo or video on Instagram, you can like it, or you can save it to your collection. But what about just saving it? You just can’t download Instagram photos.

This week, a friend of mine posted some awesome videos he shot on tape back in the 1980s. I don’t want to dig around in Instagram’s ever-more-convoluted app just to watch them. I want to save them to my iPhone’s Photo Library. Instagram doesn’t let you save an image. Even if you copy the Instagram link using the share feature, then open that image in iPhone Safari, you can’t get at the image.

So I made a shortcut to do it for me. Check it out.

This Siri Shortcut lets you ditch Google Maps for Apple Maps

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Apple Maps shortcut
No amount of force-touching will open this in Apple Maps.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you click a Google Maps link on your iPhone, it either opens in the Google Maps app or — if the app isn’t installed — it opens Google Maps in Safari. But what if you prefer to have that link open in Apple Maps? To good news is tat it’s an easy fix, using iOS 12’s new Shortcuts app. Let’s see this cool Apple Maps shortcut.

Use Shortcuts to share a beautiful grid of your photos

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Shortcuts created this photo grid with just a few taps.
Shortcuts created this grid with just a few taps.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Today we’re going to make a Siri Shortcut that takes a bunch of photos you took — today, or any day — and combines them into a great-looking photo grid. It then shares that grid with friends. All you have to do it tap a button or speak a Siri command.

This is a really great way to share photos of an event, a trip to a fancy restaurant, or just an overview of your day. It also shows how easy it is to build a powerful shortcut to perform a task that would take forever to do manually in Photoshop. Let’s check it out.

Add a device frame to iPhone XS screenshots with Shortcuts

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iPhone frame shortcut
Imagine your screenshot inside this beautiful frame.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Today we’re going to make an iPhone frame shortcut that takes your most-recent iPhone screenshot, and wraps it in a device beautiful frame. The frame will be the body of the iPhone, so it’ll look just like the iPhone pictures Apple uses on its site. This shortcut requires a little bit of setup (you have to copy some images into a folder in iCloud Drive), but after that it runs with a single tap.

Use Shortcuts to download YouTube Videos

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download youtube videos
Shortcuts has no problem ripping and downloading YouTube videos.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Using Apple’s amazing new Shortcuts app, you can rip a video from YouTube, download it, and store it in a folder on your iPhone — all without using a computer.

Maybe you want to watch some clips on your commute without burning through your cellular data. Or perhaps you’re a language or music teacher, and you want to keep teaching materials offline instead of relying on your pupil’s Wi-Fi?

This shortcut can be triggered in Safari, and will save the YouTube video to your Camera Roll, iCloud Drive, Dropbox or other location of your choice. Let’s get started.

How to create your first Siri Shortcut

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Using shortcuts is easy, once you know how it works.
Using Shortcuts is easy, once you know how it works.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts is the hot new feature of iOS 12. The Shortcuts app lets you automate some crazy stuff, for instance this shortcut that activates the iPhone’s camera and sends an SMS if the cops pull you over. Thanks to Apple’s terminology, Shortcuts is a little confusing. Is it an automation tool? Does it have something to do with Siri? Why would you use it?

We’ll answer these questions, and then build an awesome shortcut so you can see how the app works.

Scriptable controls your iPhone with JavaScript

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Scriptable works a lot like Siri Shortcuts, only more difficult.
Scriptable works a lot like Siri Shortcuts, only more difficult.
Photo: Scriptable

Now that you’re finally getting used to iOS 12’s new Shortcuts app, here comes Scriptable, a new automation app that runs JavaScript. It can make powerful and deep connections with your iPhone or iPad — working with the Files app, for example, or Reminders.

Why would you want such a thing? Well, maybe you know how to program JavaScript. Scriptable lets you take your code, and integrate it with iOS. You can make your own scripts and use them to automate iOS. For instance, how about creating something as simple as a custom save menu that lets you rename files as you save them?

This Siri shortcut keeps an eye on police during a traffic stop

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The smartphone has become a useful tool in shining a light on police abuse and overreach. Now, there’s a Siri shortcut that quickly readies your iPhone to record your experience with police during a traffic stop.

The shortcut was created by Reddit user Robert Petersen of Florence, Arizona, who suggests having users place their iPhone in a dash mount while driving.

How to use Apple’s new Shortcuts app

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A shortcut.
A shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts is Apple’s new automation app for iOS 12. It integrates with Siri and lets you build all kinds of amazing automated workflows, from shutting your house down when you go to sleep, to downloading videos from YouTube and saving the them to iCloud.

Shortcuts is really just the new name for Workflow, an iOS automation app that Apple bought a year or so back. Let’s take a look at what Apple has put in Shortcuts.

Shortcuts for iOS 12 adds iCloud syncing

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Sharecuts
Control your smart home devices with Siri Shortcuts.
Photo: Apple

Apple came out with a new beta for its Shortcuts app that will be released to the public as part of iOS 12 and in the latest build, you can finally take advantage of iCloud syncing.

This is the fourth beta build of Shortcuts and it contains some pretty major changes that make it even more useful for iPhone and iPad users.