In this blog post, I will cover the iOS app called Shortcuts and how I use this application to save time. Shortcuts have the functionality to help automate and reduce steps needed when carrying out everyday tasks. Below, is a list of the five I most commonly use. Hopefully, some of these will help you to reduce time and effort working on an iOS device. I have included links to Shortcuts (where possible), so you can add them to your iOS device and try out. For others, I have provided screenshots to build yourself.
Design and Basics
I followed the Shortcuts tutorial from TecI followed the Shortcuts tutorial from TechCraft YouTube Channel. So if you want to design your Shortcuts or understand the basics, look here.
Shortcuts can be installed on the widget screen or the home screen, giving you easy access to run them.
1) Pomodoro Shortcut
I use the Pomodoro method to focus on tasks. I created a Shortcut to help me set a 25-minute timer. Over time, I have added additional steps to help me become quicker at focusing. These include the following:
- Shows my favourite Focus quote.
- Set the volume to an appropriate level
- Starts playing piano music from Apple Music
- Sets "Do Not Disturb" mode to "On" for 25 mins
After the 25 minutes, the timer will sound and do not disturb mode will turn off.
The automation of these settings saves me time to focus on my tasks.
2) Idea tracker Shortcut
Now and then, I get random ideas and thoughts that I want to capture quickly. This Shortcut captures views and tags them with appropriate classification, date and saves them as an iOS Note on my phone for later use.
For example, if I think of an idea for a new blog, I can run the Shortcut to capture that idea into a Note.
This Shortcut saves me time opening up the Notes app and filling in the dates and tags manually.
3) Pythonista Shortcut
I have been using Pythonista app on iPad to create automation scripts using data from the internet. These have included generating a custom YouTube playlist and extracting Twitter messages to a file.
Running of these shortcuts has been made easier via a Shortcut that runs my python commands, and it also let's be pass parameters using the Shortcut interface. Having a button to run them quickly saves me time.
4) Office light Shortcut
My office uses a Hue light bulb which I can switch on or off using the Hue app on my iPhone. But instead of going into the app, I can not use Shortcut as a button.
Even though Hue app compatible with Shortcut, I can still access it through Apple Home. This Shortcut means I can activate multiple smart devices, including my Sonos or smart plugs with one interface.
5) Quick Reminder Shortcut
This Shortcut allows me to dictate a reminder straight into my Fantastical app.
I can activate it through the "Hey Siri" command. I usually use this when I am wearing the AirPods, and I am out and about, so it saves me taking the app out and typing it in manually.
What this shows is that you can use different methods of capturing data and using a variety of apps that integrated with Shortcut. It also indicates that Shortcuts can run using the "Hey Siri" commands.
I hope these are a good set of examples for you to try yourself. Have a play with these and design your own.