The Shortcuts app, formerly known as Workflow, is a workflow automation app. Sound Chinese? Let’s say it is an app that allows us to tell you step by step what actions we want you to perform . The utility is enormous, as we can perform a multitude of actions one after another with nothing more than pressing a single button. As always, an example is better than many explanations.
Going home, an example
Let’s start with something simple, in our daily habits when we leave work we send a message to a relative indicating that we are already on our way, we activate the mode Do not disturb to avoid the last distractions of work, we put on our brand new AirPods and listen to our favorite podcast while walking home. Well, all we’ve just done is what we call a workflow , a series of chained actions that occur one after another to perform a job and achieve a goal.
Within a workflow we find the actions , they are the individual movements that compose the flow, in the example that occupies us they are the following ones:
- Send a message.
- Activate the Do Not Disturb mode.
- Play a podcast.
By performing all the steps we have completed our workflow. And it is in completing this flow that the app Shortcuts can help us.
Our first Short Cut
The app Shortcuts allows us to add, from an available catalogue, the different actions that we want to be performed when we run a shortcut in question. Following the example we’ll create the shortcut back from work together. The steps are as follows:
- We opened the Shortcuts app on our iPhone or iPad.
- Press the “+” button on the top right.
- We click on Add Action.
- At the top we use the search engine to find the action we are interested in, now we will write “Message” and press Search.
- In the Actions section we will choose Send message. We have added our first action, now let’s enter its details.
- Click on “Message” which appears on the screen in a blue colour and grey background.
- We write something like “Hi, I’m out and I’m coming home :)” and press OK.
- Click on Recipients which also appears in a blue colour and grey background.
- Write the name of the contact to whom you want to write the message and select it from the list that appears.
- We press OK.
- Click on Show more.
- We deactivate Show at run so that the message is sent without us needing to confirm it.
- We press the big blue “+” button to add the next action.
- We’re looking for “Do Not Disturb.”
- We chose *Define “Do Not Disturb”.
- Click on Disable (blue and gray background) until you see Activate, because that’s what you want to do.
- Press the blue “+” button to add the last action.
- We’re looking for “Podcast”.
- We chose to play podcast.
- Click on Podcast (blue color and gray background).
- We chose one from our podcast list.
- We click on Next.
- We give a name to the shortcut, for example, “Go home”.
- We press OK.
CONGRATULATIONS! We’ve created our first shortcut. Before trying it out let’s see a visual summary of the steps we’ve taken.
Running a shortcut
The shortcuts we create are saved in the same app Shortcuts , in the tab . To run them we can either go to the app or ask Siri . The steps are as follows.
- We opened the Shortcuts app.
- We go to the My Shortcuts tab.
- We clicked on our shortcut to go home.
We can also say to Siri: “Hey Siri, go home” . Without having to do anything else the message will be sent, the do not disturb mode will be activated and our podcast of choice will start playing.
At AppleAll the new features that iOS 13.4 will bring at its public launch
And this, at least for now, is the Shortcuts app. With the amount of actions available in the app the possibilities are almost endless . If you’re interested in me telling you more about the app, let me know in the comments.