Use Shortcuts to download YouTube Videos on iPhone

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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 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.

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.

How to zip and unzip files on iPhone with Shortcuts

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Broken zip shortcut metaphor.
Broken ZIP Shortcut metaphor.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts isn’t just about asking Siri to help out when a cop pulls you over, or shutting your home down for the night. Shortcuts can also be little utilities that you use on your files, adding Mac-like functions to your iPad or iPhone. Today’s example shows how to make a shortcut that unzips files, and saves them to your iCloud Drive or Dropbox. Even in iOS 12, there’s no built-in way to unzip stuff. And with this shortcut, you won’t have to buy an app to do it.

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.

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.

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.