Siri Shortcuts is a great way to do some things quickly with a click or just by asking Siri. Shortcuts app was first introduced in iOS for iPhone and iPad two years ago and has been widely accepted by a lot of users. Shortcuts used to be called Workflow for a long time before Apple took a step to redesign and make it better to integrate with apps and also run custom scripts.
Using the Shortcuts app, either you could run your own automations or download a lot of shortcuts from Gallery. A couple of things you could do using Shortcuts app in iOS by one click or by are:
- Navigate to home, send ETA to loved one, and start listening to music by one tap or command.
- Turn off lights, open garage door, and send notification by one tap or command.
- Create PDF files from Safari using Share window.
- Take a screenshot
You can create shortcuts using built actions. There are more than 300 built-in actions like Contacts, Music, Photo, Reminders, Safari, Health and so many.
Shortcuts now available in macOS
Apple announced the macOS Monterey as part of the WWDC Keynote in June 2021. One of the major updates as part of macOS Monterey is the Shortcuts app which is now available for mac. It's the first iteration so that we cannot expect a lot of features but it's definitely coming in the future.
iOS & macOS Synchronization
I'm going to make an educated guess that you are here because you already have used Shortcuts in the iOS. So, the major update is that all of your shortcuts are automatically synchronized between iOS and macOS like everything else in the Apple ecosystem.
Adding Untrusted Shortcuts
Apple lets use untrusted shortcuts in the macOS Monterey Shortcut app. Apple has been a big proponent of avoiding untrusted sources for apps, shortcuts but it's okay to try something wild in the Shortcuts apps. The great thing is about the moment you open the platform to everyone, you get amazing creative shortcuts by independent creators and unlock great potential.
Also, please check if the source of the shortcut is authentic and read up on reviews whether any one has faced any issues while doing that.
How to use Shortcuts from Gallery
A gallery is a place where predefined shortcuts will be there which you could directly add to your profile and use without having to go to the trouble of creating it yourself.
- Click on Gallery on the sidebar. It would show you the most used and recommended shortcuts which you could use yourself.
- If you happen to like any Shortcut from the Gallery window, you can tap on the + icon at the top right corner of each shortcut. This would directly add it to your profile and you can start using it from there. For example, I have chosen Log My Weight here in the image below.
- In case if you want to know more about the shortcut then you can click on the Shortcut instead of the + icon. This would take you to the description page similar to the App description page in App Store. More information like what the shortcut does and how you can use it will be on the Shortcut Description page.
- If you want this Shortcut, you could click on the Add Shortcut button below the Shortcut name and it would be added to your profile immediately.
Steps to Create Shortcuts in macOS Monterey
- First things first, you have to have macOS Monterey because Shortcuts is introduced only in macOS Monterey. As of June 2021, it's available as a Developer beta. So, if you are reading this in the future, I'm sure macOS Monterey is available for the public. To confirm whether you have macOS Monterey or not, click on the Apple icon-> About This Mac and you will see something like this. If not, you are on the older version of the macOS.
- Now that you have macOS Monterey, Open Shortcuts app. Either via Spotlight or from the App Drawer like in the image below.
- Once you are in the Shortcuts app, it would look something like this. As you can see it has similarities to the iOS Shortcuts app (if you are familiar with it). Since I have been using Shortcuts in the iOS app, its synchronized my iOS shortcuts and showing them here. Like I said earlier, you could run those shortcuts directly from the macOS as well.
- To create a new shortcut, click on the + icon at the top right near the Search bar.
- In the new shortcuts window, Enter a name first which you need to call while accessing it via Siri.
- Once you have given a name to it, select the type of action you need in the right bar. As you can see there are two types of actions, either Categories or Apps. Say if you want to open an app using Shortcuts, you could choose the Apps tab and select the App accordingly.
- For the purpose of this tutorial, I'm creating a simple Shortcut that recognizes a song using Shazam and sends me a notification.
- In the search bar, type in Shazam and Drag and Drop into the Shortcut area.
- After that, I have added a notification that says "This is the song". This is just a two-step Shortcut that is not that useful. Imagine the possibilities for this automation app. You could literally have so much automation that could help you reduce redundant steps in daily life.
- Once you have added the steps, the Shortcut is saved automatically. You could go back to the Shortcuts main page and you will see the current shortcut as "What is this music"
- You can run it either by clicking on it or telling Siri, "Hey Siri, What is this music".
This is just a simple example of how to create a shortcut using Siri Shortcuts in macOS. You could literally have thousands of steps to automate almost anything. As macOS Monterey goes to the public, developers will bring in complex steps that will be part of their third party application as well. As of now, the apps are limited because its just been announced. IN another three months, by the time the new iPhone comes, the Shortcuts app will have so many possibilities.
This is just a glimpse of what we can do at the moment. More to come.