Siri Shortcuts

Activate this Siri Shortcut if the cops pull you over to record what happens

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This Siri Shortcut will keep a record of police encounters.
This Siri Shortcut will keep a record of police encounters.
Photo: Mark Guim/Flickr CC

A Siri Shortcut activated by the phrase “Hey, Siri, I’m being pulled over” could prove valuable in the event of a police traffic stop. The shortcut triggers your iPhone to start recording video from its front-facing camera, pauses any music, sends your location to a trusted contact, and uploads the video to iCloud or another cloud server of your choice.

The shortcut is designed to help protect users during interactions with law enforcement.

This Siri shortcut scans and translates text on any photo, sign or menu

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translate scan shortcut
What could this possibly mean?
Photo: Jon Tyson/Unsplash

I live in Germany, and even though my German is fine, I often get beaten by notices and signs. In my native England, signs and notices are snappy. They use few words, and often annoying slogans, to get the point across. In Germany, an A4 (legal-size) sheet of paper with densely spaced type is the norm. And that’s just from neighbors complaining about people leaving their strollers on the wrong side of the entrance hall.

So, I decided to do something about it. I wrote a Siri Shortcut that scans one of these German essays using the iPhone’s camera, translates it, and shows it to you. There are apps that can do something similar, but my shortcut is way better, for several reasons.

iOS 13 and iPadOS betas are now available to everyone

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iPadOS gets a new home screen design.
They’re just not ready for everyone.
Photo: Apple

The first public beta of iOS 13 is finally available to public testers.

Apple launched iOS 13 public beta 1 and iPadOS public beta 1 this morning. The software gives everyone the opportunity to try out all the new features, like the system-wide Dark Mode that looks absolutely beautiful. However, you might not want to take the jump quite yet.

iOS 13’s NFC triggers bring Shortcuts to the real world

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With NFC shortcuts in iOS 13, this speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
This speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iOS 13 Shortcuts app brings plenty of radical changes — automatic scheduled and location-based shortcuts, for example — but one super-neat new feature will make a world of difference. Now, if you have a compatible iPhone, you can combine NFC tags with Shortcuts. That is, you can run any shortcut just by tapping your iPhone onto an NFC sticker.

Seriously. Pretty wild, right? You could tap your iPhone onto a sticker atop a speaker in your kitchen, and it would start playing the radio, for instance. Let’s check out how NFC shortcuts will work.

Beware: Shortcuts could steal your data

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Siri Shortcuts could be doing more than you think, like invading your privacy.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Malicious Siri Shortcuts are a real possibility warns one developer, so users need to start treating all of them as potential threats. He calls on Apple to fix their problems.

Shortcuts debuted last fall in iOS 12. They are small apps that can be used to automate iOS features. That apparently makes them well suited for creating malware.

You can now use Siri to check up on your Apple Store orders

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Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
"OK, Siri, where's my new iPhone?"
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You can now use Siri to check up on product availability or the whereabouts of your latest orders, courtesy of the official Apple Store app for iOS.

Version 5.2 of the app adds new Siri Shortcuts support, letting you create custom voice commands to carry out these tasks without having to open the app.

Deezer lets you discover your next favorite song using Siri

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Deezer 2
Siri will let you discover new music, via Deezer.
Photo: Deezer

Streaming music company Deezer wants to make it easier for users to play the music they want — by adding support for Siri Shortcuts. This means that you can now access your jam (as the kids say) by asking Deezer to “Play my favorite tracks.”

That puts 53 million tracks — including new releases, albums and curated playlists — at your fingertips at the tip of your tongue. And Deezer thinks it has the added secret sauce to make this extra special, too.

You can now use Siri to check up on your package deliveries

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Deliveries for iOS
Deliveries app just got even better.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Package-tracking app Deliveries has long been one of our favorite iOS apps, consolidating info on all our various package deliveries into one easy-to-use tool.

Thanks to a new update, it just got even better, too. Thanks to added support for iOS 12’s Siri Shortcuts, you can now check up on the latest status of in-transit deliveries using your voice. What could be easier?

How to translate anything with Siri shortcuts

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If only all text was so easy to translate.
If only all text was so easy to translate.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Today we’re going to make a Siri Shortcut that takes any text, converts it into English, and copies it to the clipboard. Never again will you have to struggle with a foreign menu on a web page, or a snippet of text from a non-English news site.

There are a few ways to translate text and websites on iOS, but this shortcut has two big advantages: It’s really, really fast, and it automatically copies the result to the clipboard. If you ever used the otherwise-excellent Microsoft Translate share extension, you will already be sick of having to manually select the result in a tiny window, and then use the share sheet again just to copy it.

The ‘best’ podcast listening app just got better

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Pocket Casts
Pocket Casts gets a big user experience update.
Photo: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts, the paid app with more than half a million podcasts, is retooling its listening experience. An update to the popular app adds Siri Shortcuts support, improved search and discovery features, and a browse-and-play option without having to subscribe to a show.

Enable this great Shoot Mode with Siri Shortcuts to take pictures in peace

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The iPhone XS is a serious camera, so give it the attention it deserves.
The iPhone XS is a serious camera, so give it the attention it deserves.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Were you ever in the middle of trying to get that perfect photo, framing it just-so, and tweaking the exposure and focus for the perfect shot, when your mother called to remind you of your own child’s birthday? It could totally happen. And for pro photographers using the iPhone as their preferred camera (which is a great idea, BTW), the risk of interruptions is even greater.

That’s why noted iPhone photographer Austin Mann came up with a great way to shut up your iPhone while you’re busy shooting. It’s called Shoot Mode, and it’s yet another example of how useful Siri Shortcuts can be — even in tiny doses.

Shortcuts 2.1 adds new weather and timer actions

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Set a timer with the new Shortcuts v2.1.
Set a timer with the new Shortcuts v2.1.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amidst the flurry of iPad and Mac news yesterday, Apple also released the latest version of Shortcuts, the super-cool iOS automation app. The big news is the addition of seven new actions for checking the weather, setting timers and measurement conversions. Let’s take a look at Shortcuts 2.1.

Make an awesome power nap timer with Siri Shortcuts

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Set a power nap timer --and more -- with your voice
Set a power nap timer --and more -- with your voice
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Here’s a great little shortcut that uses the new Set Reminder action in the newest v2.1 of Apple’s Shortcuts app. Tell Siri that you want to take a nap, and it will ask you for how long. It’ll then set a timer, and schedule Do Not Disturb for the duration. Get ready to clock some serious ZZZs with our power nap shortcut.

Siri Shortcuts make their way into popular apps

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
The Shortcuts app lets you create your own voice commands, but increasing numbers of third-party apps have Siri Shortcuts built in.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A highlight of iOS 12 is Siri shortcuts, a way to activate frequently-used tasks with voice commands. Software developers can do this too, and today Apple highlighted some popular applications that have embraced Siri.

Increasing numbers of apps have Shortcuts built in, giving users access to special functions with the voice commands of their choice.

How to buy iPhone XR on iPhone Upgrade Program if you own iPhone X

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iphone xs upgrade
An iPhone with mmWave 5G could be more than a year away.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone Upgrade Program is Apple’s equivalent of a carrier’s monthly contract. You can upgrade your iPhone every year, and pay a monthly fee instead of buying the handset outright. Usually, the upgrade path is simple — there’s a new iPhone every year, and you can upgrade every year. But the iPhone X came out on November 3, 2017, so iPhone Upgrade Program participants still have at least a couple of weeks left to run on their contracts.

So how do you get the colorful iPhone XR you’re craving on launch day?

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.

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.

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.

These apps just got an iOS 12 and Siri Shortcuts overhaul

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Not every shortcut is worth taking.
Not every shortcut is worth taking.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 launches today, and there are a whole bunch of updates to apps that take advantage of the new features available in iOS 12. If you visit the App Store’s updates page, you’ll see that many apps are adding support for Siri Shortcuts. Shortcuts in iOS 12 can refer to several related new things, but in this case, Siri Shortcuts lets you interact with, and control apps just by talking.

For instance, say “Hey Siri, check my commute” to get a report of the disruptions, departures, and your ETA at work from Citymapper, or say “Show today,” and see a list of today’s tasks in Things app.

Handy Shortcuts app launches alongside iOS 12

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Apple's new Shortcuts automation app has to be downloaded separately from iOS 12.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The full version of iOS 12 is now available for everyone. One of its cool new features is Siri Shortcuts, but those who want to automate functions on their iPhone also need to download a separate application from the App Store.

The new utility lets people create scripts that collect several actions together, then launch them with a voice command. The idea is to let you automate actions that you perform regularly.

Download iOS 12 now to make your iPhone and iPad faster

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iOS 12
iOS 12 launched on September 17.
Photo: Apple

The biggest iOS update of 2018 is finally here.

After months of beta testing, Apple finally released iOS 12 to the public, making it available as an over-the-air update. The new iPhone and iPad operating system comes with tons of new features and performance improvements that will make even older devices faster than ever. Best of all, if you have a device that can run iOS 11, iOS 12 will work on it — no problem.

Here’s how to download it.

Apple drops yet another batch of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas

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Photos app
The new and improved Photos app on iOS 12.
Photo: Apple

iOS and macOS developers received a fresh batch of new beta updates from Apple this morning as the company prepares to launch its new software this fall. And the general public got a new iOS beta too.

macOS Mojave beta 9 and iOS 12 beta 11 can be downloaded from the Apple developer center immediately. The updates bringing a host of bug fixes and performance improvements to the iPhone and Mac.