Shortcuts for iOS bring the ability to complete an array of tasks with a single tap. Here’s everything you need to know about it and take a quick look at the best Shortcuts for iOS available right now.
You could be a total Apple fanboy or someone who wouldn’t pick up an iPhone even if your life depended on it. But there’s one fact that most cannot deny, and that’s the elevated user experience that Apple has handcrafted for iOS. Sure, Android provides you all the freedom in the world in contrast to the restrictiveness of iOS, but iPhone makes up for it with native software features that compel you to use them into your daily routine. One such feature, introduced with the iOS 12 update, was the Shortcuts app.
Automation is the name of the game, and while Android has enjoyed third-party apps such as Tasker that allow it, it isn’t offered natively. Apple doesn’t actively market the Siri Shortcuts, but that doesn’t mean the feature doesn’t deserve your attention. As a power user, you can direct Siri to perform certain tasks such as switching to Do Not Disturb mode or start playing your favorite music playlist by uttering a single catchphrase. There are plenty of productivity-based shortcuts as well, which allow you to perform actions such as send out a scheduled text, download social media content, manage network tools, and more.
How to Enable Shortcuts on iOS
Although Shortcuts are enabled by default in iOS, you will not be able to use any third-party shortcuts without enabling the option first. Similar to how Android requires user permission before manually installing apps, Apple blocks “untrusted” Shortcuts by default. To install Shortcuts outside of the Apple Gallery app, you will need to configure the settings first.
- On your iPhone, head to the Settings app.
- Scroll down to the Shortcuts tab and open it.
- Enable the toggle switch next to Allow Untrusted Shortcuts and continue.
The unofficial Shortcuts are where all the fun is at, and you will now be able to install all of those third-party shortcuts to the iPhone.
Note: If you are running iOS 12 or older, you will need to install the Shortcuts app from App Store first.
Best iOS Shortcuts of 2020
Before we get started on the journey to find the coolest Shortcuts for iPhone, hear a word of caution. While the majority of iOS Shortcuts are safe to use, some third-party Shortcuts might go against the Terms of Service stated by Apple. We recommend that you either stick to the official Shortcuts Gallery or pick the ones from this list, which are verifiably safe to use.
1. Save YouTube Videos
There are plenty of third-party services on Android that allow you to download YouTube videos to the phone’s Gallery, and now iOS does too! The Download YouTube Shortcut does just as the name implies, allowing you to easily save your favorite YouTube content to the Videos app. Just fetch the URL of the YouTube video, tap on the Download YouTube Shortcut, and voila! The video will begin downloading and you’ll be able to view and share it freely.
2. Set a DND Timer
iOS comes with a nifty Do Not Disturb feature that helps you relax and unwind for some personal time, but forgetting to turn it off can become a nuisance. This particular Shortcut allows you to put a timer on the Do Not Disturb mode, so it does not stay on indefinitely. Going out for a date? Set the DND Timer from 8 – 12 and it will automatically turn off after.
3. Make Tipping Easier
Eating out had become a nostalgic feeling during the pandemic, but with restaurants opening up, you’d want to keep your tip calculator handy. You no longer have to be a math whiz to find out how much 15% of a bill could be. The Calculate Tip Shortcut allows you to quickly punch in the amount, and the percentage you want to tip, based on the service, of course.
4. Conserve Power Smartly
In all honestly, the Low Power Mode that is baked into iOS does a decent job of preserving the juice. However, for pro users who want this battery-saving feature, but in a tweaked format, this shortcut gives you a more hands-on approach to it. You have complete control over when the Low Power and Super Low Power modes are enabled, based on the battery percentage left.
5. Smarter Shopping
Being a smart shopper isn’t a crime, and Item Lookup serves the very purpose of helping you find the best price for the product you want to pick up. All you need to do is find the barcode on the item, launch Item Lookup, and use the camera to scan the barcode. The service will automatically display the same product listing across Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others.
6. Set Persistent Alarms
If you’re not particularly a morning person who keeps hitting the snooze button, the Alarms w/ Intervals is the Shortcut for you. Enable the Shortcut, pick the time, and set up the number of alarms you want, with a default interval of 5 minutes. At the risk of slinging your phone to the wall to make it stop, this Shortcut will wake you up no matter what.
7. Create a Custom News Feed
For the knowledge-hungry users out there who wish to stay in the loop of the latest world and political affairs, the RSS Reader can be the right fit. You can easily add the URLs of news channel RSS Feeds you prefer, customize the feed based on author and categories. The end result is a list of your new websites, which then include a host of breaking news headlines for you to read.
8. Manage Zip Files
You no longer need to download a standalone app to unzip downloaded files, since a single tap can help you extract and save them. The Unzip and Save Shortcut justifies its name by allowing you to easily view the contents of a ZIP file, edit the files and share them, without a hiccup.
9. Fetch Social Media Content
Beating Android OS at its game, this single iOS Shortcut allows you to easily save content from all the popular social media platforms in an instant. The support for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Dailymotion, and others, allows you to automatically store the downloaded social media content to the Photos app.
10. Set Everyday Tasks
Created by one of the former members of WorkFlow, which is the brain behind Apple’s Shortcuts feature, this golden nugget will make you a productivity powerhouse. The Daily Agenda Shortcut helps you set up the day-to-day tasks, create reminders for each of them, add comments for the tasks involved – all in a simplified view.
The closest Apple has ever come to competing with Android is by allowing developers to create their very own iOS Shortcuts. The fact that you can control your music playlists, create a darn-good workflow, and even find out the commuting times between locations with just a tap, makes Shortcuts a crowned jewel of iOS. Using the Shortcuts we have handpicked and listed above, you will be able to enjoy the fastest way to entertainment, utility, navigation and so much more with just a tap.
While you’re here, you might also want to check out our list of the top iOS 14 features that you should know about.
Which of these handy Shortcuts for iOS will find a permanent spot on the Widgets screen of your iPhone or iPad? Is there another great Shortcut that we’ve missed out but should absolutely be on this list? Do reach out to us in the comments section below.