5 Useful Siri ShortcutsWouter Janson · 20 October 2018
It has been a while since Siri Shortcuts were announced on WWDC 2018. After a few months of using iOS 12, I can easily say that the shortcuts app (former Workflow) is my favourite new feature in iOS 12.
Shortcuts looks at first sight like a feature that doesn’t fit Apple at all, because it is very technical and gives you endless possibilities for customization. That is most likely why the shortcuts app does not come with the OS by default but needs to be downloaded separately from the Appstore.
The separate Shortcuts app is meant for people like me, people who enjoy working with new technology and who like to tinker. That doesn’t mean that the app is only meant for those people, because there is also a gallery available within the app where you can easily find new shortcuts to try out.
In addition, apps can also ‘donate’ frequently used actions within their app to Siri so that users can add a voice command to these actions, making it easy for anyone to add functionality to Siri that adds value for them.
Personally, I’ve been busier tinkering with the shortcuts app and I’ll share my favourite shortcuts below.
1. Safely share your photos
Let’s start with one of the simplest shortcuts. This shortcut is called from the share-sheet and removes all meta-data from a photo and then open the share-sheet again so you can safely share the photo. Normally I use imgclean.io (shameless self-promotion), but a shortcut makes it many times easier.
2. Base64 encoding & decoding
As a developer, I frequently encounter some text that is encoded in Base64, by adding these two shortcuts to the shortcuts widget I can quickly decode or encode the text in my clipboard.
3. Add frames around your screenshots
You have seen this shortcut in action several times already. This shortcut makes it possible to add the frame of an iPhone Xs to a screenshot at the push of a button.
4. Let Siri tell dad jokes
Okay, this shortcut may be a bit less useful, but all the more fun. One of my favourite subreddits is r/dadjokes together with the Dutch equivalent r/papgrappen. This shortcut calls the API of icanhazdadjoke.com, so Siri can now also tell dad jokes. And who doesn’t like a cheesy joke every now and then?
5. Check-in a movie on Trakt.tv
I frequently watch a movie and I use trakt.tv to keep track of all the movies I watched and what I thought of them. I spent a long time looking for a decent app in which I could quickly report that I was going to watch a movie, but I didn’t like any of them.
That’s why I wrote a shortcut that I can call in different ways, all I have to do is enter the title of the movie and the shortcut will do the rest via the trakt.tv API. The ‘code’ of the shortcut could have been a bit better, but it works!
The shortcut only works when you provide it with the correct API credentials (API Key/Client ID and authoization token) and this can be a bit tricky. Luckily Reddit user u/clempat has written a shortcut to retrieve an authorization token automatically.