Apple has released Shortcuts app for iOS 12. The app, previously known as Workflow, has been updated to support Siri Shortcuts, which allow different actions to be automated and executed by voice. Actions can created or downloaded from the Gallery, and they can be used to control system settings, manage payments, create automated actions such as creating PDF file from a webpage, or setting automatic messages to contacts. The possibilities are endless. This is perhaps one of the biggest productivity related features to ever hit iOS 12, and really sets it apart from Android.
Shortcuts – previously known as Workflow
How Shortcuts differs from Workflow is primarily with the usage of Siri. You can set any phrase to invoke a Shortcut, and use it in any supported app. You don’t even have to create actions yourself, Siri is smart enough to notice things that you do regularly, and suggests creating Shortcuts for them. You can check by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Shortcuts. For users who don’t want to talk to their iOS device every time they want to invoke a workflow, the good old functionality of running Shortcuts from the share menu is still there.
Here are Apple’s complete release notes for Shortcuts:
- Run shortcuts with your voice by adding them to Siri
- New actions are now available from apps that support Siri Shortcuts
- Siri will now suggest shortcuts you use routinely on the lock screen and in Search
- Siri suggests actions to add to shortcuts based on your routines and recent app usage
- Change your system settings with new actions like Set Wi-Fi, Set Low Power Mode, and Set Do Not Disturb
- Send and request payments with Apple Pay and your favorite apps with the new payment actions
- Shortcuts replaces the Workflow app and all existing workflows will be automatically imported.
- Enjoy the updated clean design
Note that Siri Shortcuts will also work on Apple Watch and HomePod. You just have to setup yours using the iOS app, and they will sync via iCloud to your connected devices.
To get users started, Apple has created a Shortcuts User Guide where users can learn basics and advanced knowledge of how the app works.
As an avid user of Workflow app, I have been waiting to get my hands on Shortcuts on iOS 12. It was available as a private developer beta during iOS 12’s beta testing and I couldn’t sign-up in time. I’ll be doing on-going coverage of useful shortcuts, as well as third-party apps that support them.