How Apple is improving Siri Shortcuts in iOS, iPadOS

How Apple is improving Siri Shortcuts in iOS, iPadOS …Apple explains that the most significant advantages technology presents that can only be realized when technology converts accessible and easy to use. That’s why the company has taken giant steps to improve Siri Shortcuts in iOS 13.

Mechanization for the people

Workflow generated an Apple acquisition which itself created Siri Shortcuts, and while the original solution had passionate adherents, the opacity of the terms used in the Workflow/Shortcuts creation dialog means lots of people just didn’t use it.

This meant it just wasn’t approachable enough.

 Related: Apple’s place is in the enterprise 

That’s a problem, because (as digital transformation experts warn), if you build it they do not come unless you make sure you build it for them.

The bottom line is that people need the tools they use to be as intuitive and evident in use as a hammer or a nail.

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Now those guidelines are coming to voice.

Apple Siri

Apple in iOS 13 has made it much more comfortable and clearer to build Shortcuts than before.

Commands are now described in natural language, rather than assuming you already know what some of the phrases mean. This should make it much more comfortable and more transparent for us to build new Shortcuts.

Support for new apps

Apple has also introduced support for new apps into Siri Shortcuts. These extend to its apps and also enable more third-party apps to create Shortcuts using newly-introduced developer APIs. In other words, Shortcuts are becoming capable of handling more tasks.


Here are a few highlights:

Apple’s Home app now has a host of Automation triggers (see below). You can even create shortcuts that trigger when particular family members return or leave home. You can also configure shortcuts, so they act differently in response to the weather.

Third-party apps will introduce their shortcuts over time.

Automatic triggers

Making things happen without interaction is one of the promises of automation.

The idea is that as you travel through your day, your devices can adjust connected systems around you to meet your productivity targets and comfort needs without any kind of action from you.

To meet this need, Siri Shortcuts in iOS 13 introduce support for automatic triggers for shortcuts.

These will be invoked in the background – your lights may go on when you are parking your car in your garage, for example, or your device may enter Do Not Disturb mode once you arrive at your meeting.

Here is a list of automatic triggers (and a short description) you’ll find in iOS 13 at this time. (This is in the beta, what appears in the final version may be more or less extensive than this):

Triggers for Settings

  1. Airplane Mode – make things happen when you enable or disable this mode.
  2. Bluetooth: Perhaps you want your Apple Music to play through your Bluetooth speaker when it is paired.
  3. Do Not Disturb.
  4. Low Power Mode – other things that happen when you enable or disable this mode.
  5. NFC
  6. Open App – perhaps opening one app should set a bunch of other things off.
  7. Wi-Fi

Event-related triggers

  1. Alarm – what to do when an alert takes place.
  2. Apple Watch Workout – you could set up am automation to order you a pizza once you complete your workout, though I’m not sure that’s going to help.
  3. Time of Day – set these down to the hour.

Triggers for travelers

  1. Arrive: You can stagger these – as you drive into your garage the lights may go on, and 5 minutes later perhaps the lighting and music started in your front room, and your central heating goes on.
  2. Before I leave: Things to do before you go-go.
  3. CarPlay: What happens when you connect or disconnect.

One of the funniest ways I saw to think about using these new additions saw some wag invent a Shortcut that did this:

Arrive home, check if no one else is home and set custom lighting up in the den. The shortcut then pairs the HomePods to the Apple TV, wakes the TV and opens up your choice of singalong track, along with the lyrics. Once you’re ready, say “play music” and sing loudly along until you feel better.

I instead imagine people will come up with a few more useful ones.

These automated triggers also gain support for an extensive collection of new actions.

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