20 Useful Shortcuts for Apple’s Shortcuts App on iOS 12

Last year, Apple acquired the popular paid automation app – Workflow. And with the launch of iOS 12 this year, they’ve brought it back under a new name – Shortcut. But it’s not just the name that has changed, Apple has also added Siri integration and new “Apple look”. Meaning, with the new Shortcut app, you can not only create complex macros, but also invoke them with your voice, or anywhere else where Siri Suggestions show up.

To get started, install the Shortcut (free) app from the App Store. By default, it’s not installed after updating to iOS 12 unless you already have the Workflow app. Once you open the app, you can either create a Shortcut yourself or import from the publically available Shortcuts in the Gallery section.

However, the really awesome Shortcuts are not available in the official Shortcuts Gallery. But you can always download a copy created by other users. Simply tap on the download links in this article (below every shortcut) from your iPhone and then tap “Get Shortcut” to add it. So, let’s check out some handy Shortcuts.

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Useful Shortcuts for Apple’s Shortcuts

1. Download Youtube Videos

If you have a Jailbreak iPhone, you can use apps like YouTube ++ to download YouTube videos. But, if you are like me, who prefer not to jailbreak or use shady third-party tools, well, now on iOS 12,  you can also use the Shortcuts app to download YouTube Videos.Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app- download youtube

To get this working – you can copy-paste the YouTube video URL in the Shortcut app and run the script to download the video. But there even a better way of doing it. While watching YouTube video in the YouTube app or in a web browser, tap on the “Share” button > next tap on “More” option > and enable “Shortcuts” from the list. This will open the Shortcuts app, next simply tap “Download YouTube” and it should start downloading the video. Once the video is extracted, it’ll be saved in your Camera Roll. Unlike other methods, this one is more reliable and should work for a long time before Apple bans it.

Install Download Youtube videos

2. Save Instagram Photos

Instagram only allows you to save the pictures within the app, which in itself is just a way to bookmark the image instead of actually downloading the file to your iPhone or iPad. This script takes the link to the post and parses the image and saves it to your phone.
To download the Instagram pictures you have to copy the image link from the app or web by tapping the options icon on the top right of the image > Run the Shortcuts app > tap on Instagram Download script. It extracts the image and saves it to your Camera Roll.

Install Instagram Downloader

3. Make QR

Google offers APIs which allows anyone to generate a QR code of a string. This script uses the same API to do that and you can just copy the link, a string or a sentence and generate a QR code for it. To get started, copy the link to your clipboard. Press the share button and select Shortcuts > If that isn’t available go to the Shortcuts app and tap Make QR. It generates the QR code and displays a preview, you can take a screenshot and share it with anyone. Pretty neat huh.QR Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app

Install Make QR

4. Convert Slow-mo

iPhone’s slow-mo feature is one of the best slow-mo in the mobile segment right now. But there’s a catch, the slow-mo videos recorded by an iPhone seem to work only on iPhones. If you send the video to your friends on WhatsApp, they just see a very short clip of you doing something barely interesting. There is a way to fix that, you can import the video to iMovie and then export the project which would take some time.convert slow-mo- Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app

Or you can just use this script. Simply go to Photos and select a slow-mo video and tap Share > tap on Shortcuts and select convert Slow-mo. It takes the video file which was recorded in slow motion and renders it in normal format retaining the slow-motion effect. If you would notice the length of this new file is considerably longer than the original. You can then share the file directly from the camera roll to your friends and they would see the slow motion regardless of their phone.

Convert Slow-mo

5. Delete Screenshots

I test a lot of apps on the iPhone and take screenshots for the articles and I often forget to delete screenshots until the storage runs out. This simple script lets me decide a number and then deletes the latest files from the screenshots folder. Let’s say I take around 20 screenshots every time I test apps, I can simply set the variable to 20 and run the script everytime I’m done with the screenshots. It really makes my life a little easier and I don’t have to sort through a mountain of screenshots and delete them manually.Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app- delete screenshots

To delete screenshots you have to tap the shortcut in the Shortcuts app. It deletes the latest screenshots and asks for your permission > allow the app to delete the files from your camera roll.

Install Delete Screenshots

6. Download Twitter and Instagram Videos

Just like every other social media platform, Twitter can be the place to get the latest content and videos are the most popular media right now. Everyday users upload the latest content in short videos and I can not get enough of those videos. With SMD you can download all the Twitter and Instagram videos with the tap of a button.

Also read: 3 Ways to Download Twitter Videos on iPhone

Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app - smd

In the twitter app tap the share button > tap ‘Share file via’ > tap on Shortcuts and select SMD 3.5. The script extracts the video from the webpage and saves it to your Camera Roll.

Install SMD 3.5

7. Battery Percentage

Apple Watch has so many great features and you can achieve so much with the apps built for Apple Watch. I always wondered if I can check my phone’s battery status through the Apple Watch, turns out I can’t and either I install an app for that is going to sit there with one function or I can use my existing shortcuts app to create a script which tells me the exact percentage on the Apple Watch. Just install the script on your Phone and run it on your Apple Watch and it shows the current battery percentage on your Phone.

Install Battery Percentage

8. Low Battery SOS

I’ll explain the use case of this script with a personal experience. I was in a meeting at a library and I noticed my phone’s battery was about to die and I had no way to charge the phone. It would have been very rude if I had just excused myself to text in the middle of the meeting to my friend telling him to come to pick me up while explaining the whole ordeal. This script is for situations like that.Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app- low battery sos

You can create a shortcut on the home screen or create a Siri Phrase and ask Siri to invoke this script for you. Go to Shortcuts and tap on Low Battery SOS> tap on options button in the top right corner> tap the share icon> Add to home screen.

If my battery levels drop below a certain percentage, I can just tap the shortcut of the script and it automatically takes my GPS position and includes it in a text and asks for a recipient and sends. This can be modified to the point that I just have to tap one icon on the home screen and it takes care of the rest. Literally a lifesaver.

Install Low Battery SoS

9. Whatsapp Non-Contact

I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked to WhatsApp photos, videos, important reminders to people I barely know and have never saved their contact numbers. It’s always a hassle to first save the contact in the phone book and then wait for it to sync and then initiate the conversation. Since I started using shortcuts I have always been on the lookout for scripts that eliminate these unnecessary steps.Whatsapp Non Contact- Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app

With this script, I can just do it with the tap of a button. Open the Shortcuts app and run the script > it prompts you to enter the number > Make sure to enter the number with the country code or it won’t recognize the number > tap OK and it starts the thread and viola you can now send texts without saving them to your contacts first.

Install Whatsapp Non Contact

10. Directions Home

I always use Google Maps daily while commuting, Apple Maps hasn’t quite caught up to the level of Google Maps yet. I always have to manually open the google maps app and enter my home address to start a commute. Even though I can save the route on Google Maps but that just covers one scenario. If I’m in a new place and I need directions home I need to repeat the process again. With this shortcut, I just have to feed my address once and it would always generate a route to my home from my current location. 

To feed your Address tap on the options button on the top right, enter your Address and press Done.

Every time you need directions home run the shortcut from the app or with Siri > It generates a route from your current location on Google Maps.

Install Directions Home

11. ASCII Clipboard

Reddit has its own obsession with emojis, no not the mainstream ones with hues and colors but ASCII emojis. These are considered weird in their own sense but are quite hilarious. I have a whole notepad filled with different emojis but I don’t use them anymore partly because I’m not 14 anymore and partly because its too much work copying from notepad to the browser. Well ASCII clipboard reduces the process to two steps.Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app- ASCII

I just have to install this workflow on the phone and whenever I need to use one of the emojis I can just run the shortcut > it shows me a list of emojis available > tap any one of the emojis to copy it to the clipboard. Yup, its that simple, plus I can even add more emojis to the list by editing the script itself.

Install ASCII Clipboard

12. Shakespearean Insult Generator

Okay, I’ll admit I’m addicted to workflow scripts and I can’t stop looking up goofy ones. These scripts are so fun and amazing I can’t help but add them to the list. This, for example, is an insult generator but it creates in Shakespearean English. Most people don’t even understand that I’m insulting them. It is so much fun. I just keep it on my home screen and introduce these phrases in general conversations. Even better it has a collection of quite a few phrases and never gets old. I got curious and checked how it generated these ‘thoughtful insults’, turns out it generates a random phrase based on a list of words which is interesting.shakespearean Insult- Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app

Install Shakespearean Insult Generator

13. Save Page to iBooks

Sure Google allows you to add web pages to a reading list which you can save for later but what if there was a way to save the entire webpage on your iBooks as a PDF file, This script parses the page and extracts the data and saves it in a PDF file. Although it might not retain all the formatting it does keep all the text. It’s great for saving text-based websites.Useful shortcuts for apple's shortcut app- save page to iBooks

You just have to copy the link of the webpage > tap share and select Shortcuts > Select Save Page to iBooks > it saves the file to your iBooks app.

Install Save Page to Books

14. Tip calculator

Whenever I go out for dinner It always is a struggle to calculate the tip for the meal. Sometimes I have to sneakily open my calculator on my phone and enter the amount and calculate the tip. Thanks to this shortcut I can just enter the amount and it prompts me to select a percentage and quickly shows the tip and the total bill.

To calculate the tip just run the shortcut and enter the bill amount > Select Percentage tip > It displays the tip with the final amount.

Install Tip Calculator

15. Spotify Search

I use Spotify as my goto music player and use it while going for a jog, writing, or commuting to work. I use Siri to play tracks while driving but Siri isn’t always reliable. The shortcut uses Siri’s API to listen to my commands and converts it to a string and searches it on Spotify’s library. The whole ordeal takes less than 5 seconds and the track starts playing. It’s not perfect and sometimes it doesn’t find the track but the overall it works great and it is slowly becoming my main method of changing tracks while listening to music. 

To play a track, run the shortcut or invoke it with Siri > Say out your track loud> It searches for the track on Spotify and plays instantly.

Install Spotify Search

16. Got Pulled Over

This is literally a lifesaver when you think about it. Even though most Police Officers wear bodycams for a visual evidence, there’s nothing stopping you from creating a video for yourself. It turns the brightness to a minimum and activates the Do Not Disturb mode. It then sends a message to an emergency contact and starts recording a video. Once you stop the recording, it saves the video and sends it to the emergency contact. Very intuitive. 

To Activate the shortcut you can either run it through the Shortcuts App or by calling Siri to do it for you>It proceeds to capture a video and send it to your emergency contact.

Install Got Pulled Over

17. Goodreads

Goodreads is a popular website for readers and has a huge collection of Titles from every category and Genre. How many times have you come across a book which you wanted to read but couldn’t? Well, this shortcut scans the bar code behind the book and searches the Goodreads catalog and takes you to its product page and you can place an order for the book there.

To scan a book run the script> point the camera towards the barcode of the book and wait for it to detect the barcode> It reads it and displays the product page of the book in the web browser.

Install GoodReads

18. Search Amazon

This Shortcut is meant for Amazon customers and it basically scans the UPC (unique product code) of an item and searches the Amazon database and takes you to its product page. Let’s say you received a package from Amazon but you don’t have the time to sort through menus again to find the item. you can just scan the barcode and go to its product page directly.

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Run the script> point the camera towards the Bar/QR code> wait for it to process> It displays the results in the Amazon App.

Install Search

19. I just got in a Wreck

This shortcut is a lifesaver, literally. Just like the other shortcut listed in the list (I got Pulled Over) it does a series of actions to notify your emergency contact that you need their help. You can invoke the shortcut with Siri or with a home screen icon and it would get your current location, your battery level and check if it’s greater than 70 and turn the torch on if true. Otherwise, it sets the brightness to minimum and sets the phone to low power mode, it compiles the message and you just have to press the Send button to send it to your emergency contact.

It also shows a notification with your medical information on the lock screen and gives you an option to call 911 or an emergency contact. It is a really thoughtful shortcut and can offer much more than just assistance to the medical personnel and notify your relatives. Everyone should have this shortcut.

Install I just got in a wreck shortcut

20. Add a Map Thumbnail to a Photo

A Reddit user –u/atomicsiren made a shortcut that places a thumbnail of the map location in a corner of your image. It is a great shortcut and I always wanted to take pictures and send them to people without having to explain where it was taken. The shortcut prompts you to select a picture and choose the position and size of the thumbnail. It then proceeds to add a timestamp and a title if you allow it and saves the image to your Camera Roll.

Install Photo Map Thumbnail

Useful Shortcuts for Apple’s Shortcuts app

I compiled a list of 13 scripts which are popular and essential for anyone who uses Shortcuts app. From finding your way home to download Twitter Videos, Shortcuts has made our life easier at some point. You can browse the gallery and discover amazing shortcuts like these. You can create one for yourself and share it with us in the comments down below.

About Kaushal

Human. Writes about Tech. Dreams about Space.