How to use this time-saving feature Apple added to the iPhone

Do you ever find yourself completing the same couple of actions on your phone every day? It's so annoying to do the same thing over and over again. A little-used feature in iOS 12 means you don't have to be an app developer to create something useful for your phone. The new Shortcuts app can do it for you.

Siri Shortcuts is one of the best features of iOS 12. It's a feature that can help you automate tasks and reduce the steps needed for a particular action. The Shortcuts app doesn't come pre-installed. You'll have to download it from the App Store. In the app, you can add pre-made shortcuts or create your own custom commands. Here are five shortcuts that are really useful.

There's one shortcut that has gotten more attention than any other. The Police Shortcut. Created by Robert Petersen, this puts your phone in Do Not Disturb mode, sends a text message letting someone know you've been pulled over and prompts you to start filming a video. It's a great example of the power of Shortcuts.

Have you ever wanted to quickly search a product on Amazon or Target? With this shortcut, you can scan a barcode, and automatically search for the product online. Currently, it searches Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

This next Shortcut is great for iPhone users who want to use the Google Assistant. Now that the Google Assistant has support for Siri Shortcuts, you can say, "Hey Siri, Okay Google," to talk to the Google Assistant. It's not the smoothest experience, but it can come in handy if you use the Google Assistant for things like smart home control.

These next two shortcuts are great for people who use their phone for a lot of music and videos. The Play Spotify Track Shortcut allows you to ask Siri to play a song in Spotify, instead of Apple Music. Just run the shortcut, and say the name of the song, and your phone will launch Spotify.

Finally, the Background YouTube Shortcut lets you continue playing a YouTube video while you use other apps on your phone. For this to work you need the YouTube app and Google Chrome. In the YouTube app, click share, and then select Siri shortcut. Wait until after the ad plays and close Chrome. Next, go into the Control Center, and press play. Now your video will continue to play in the background. You do have to be signed into Chrome for this to work.

These are just a few of the great shortcuts that exist. You can find more in the Shortcuts App Gallery, the Shortcuts subreddit, and the Sharecuts website. Shortcuts actually has two forms. Suggestions and Shortcuts. Depending on the app, Siri Suggestions might suggest a command or function it notices you using often. Like texting a friend or setting up an alarm. These suggestions happen automatically, without you thinking about it. But the real power of Shortcuts comes from creating your own custom commands.

The Shortcuts app allows you to combine actions to complete a command. We'll create a basic Shortcut that searches for a GIF and copies it to the clipboard. In the Shortcuts app, tap Create Shortcut. Then, add the Search Giphy action. Next, add the Copy to Clipboard action. This will let you quickly search for a GIF, and copy it to the clipboard. Now we can run the shortcut to test it. You can add your custom shortcuts to Siri, or even the home screen. Siri Shortcuts is limited by your patience, creativity, and support from app developers.

With a little tinkering and some research, you can create a really powerful command. As more app developers support Shortcuts, users will be able to do even more with this powerful app.
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