Intro to Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad (2024)

Table of Contents

Shortcuts User Guide

  • Welcome
    • Intro to Shortcuts
    • Discover shortcuts in the Gallery
      • Run a shortcut from the app
      • Run shortcuts with Siri
      • Run suggested shortcuts
      • Run app shortcuts
      • Run shortcuts from the Home Screen widget
      • Run shortcuts from the Search screen
      • Add a shortcut to the Home Screen
      • Launch a shortcut from another app
      • Run shortcuts from Apple Watch
      • Run shortcuts by tapping the back of your iPhone
    • Adjust privacy settings
      • Intro to how shortcuts work
      • The flow of content
      • Action connections
      • Control the flow of actions
      • Shortcut completion
      • The Content Graph engine
    • Create a custom shortcut
    • Ideas for custom shortcuts
      • Navigate the action list
      • Order of actions
      • Get actions
      • Transform actions
      • Share actions
      • Test your actions
      • About actions in complicated shortcuts
    • Intro to editing shortcuts
    • Organize shortcuts in folders
    • Change the layout
    • Reorder shortcuts
    • Rename shortcuts
    • Modify shortcut icons
    • Duplicate shortcuts
    • Delete shortcuts
    • Sync shortcuts
    • Share shortcuts
    • Add import questions to shared shortcuts
    • Add a shortcut to Reminders using Siri
    • Intro to personal automation
    • Create a new personal automation
    • Enable or disable a personal automation
    • Delete a personal automation
      • Event triggers
      • Travel triggers
      • Communication triggers
      • Transaction trigger
      • Setting triggers
    • Intro to home automation
    • Create a new home automation
    • Enable or disable a home automation
    • Delete a home automation
    • Home automation triggers
      • Intro to variables
      • Variable types
      • Use variables
      • Adjust variables
    • Use list actions
    • Use the Choose from Menu action
    • Use If actions
    • Use Repeat actions
      • Intro to Find and Filter actions
      • Add filter parameters
      • Intro to using prompts
      • Use the Ask for Input action
      • Use the Ask Each Time variable
      • Use the Show Alert action
      • Use the Show Notification action
    • Input types
    • Limit the input for a shortcut
    • Receive onscreen items
    • Advanced Shortcuts settings
      • Intro to the Run JavaScript on Webpage action
      • Use the Run JavaScript on Webpage action
      • Intro to URL schemes
      • Open, create, and run a shortcut
      • Run a shortcut from a URL
      • Open or search the Gallery from a URL
      • Use x-callback-url
      • Use another app’s URL scheme
      • Intro to web APIs
        • What’s an API?
        • Request your first API
        • Intro to using JSON
        • Parsing JSON
        • Handling lists
        • Get Dictionary Value action
        • Create contacts
        • API limitations
        • Format Date timestamps
        • Dictionaries
        • About date and time formatting
        • Date and time formats
        • Dates as written language
        • Technical standards
        • Custom date formats
  • Copyright
Intro to Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad (1)

What’s a shortcut?

A shortcut provides a quick way to get things done with your apps, with just a tap or by asking Siri.

Shortcuts can automate a wide variety of things—for example, getting directions to the next event on your Calendar, moving text from one app to another, generating expense reports, and more.

Based on how you use your Apple devices—your app usage and your browser, email, and messaging history—Siri suggests simple, useful shortcuts that you can quickly tap to run. Once you create a shortcut, you can activate Siri, then say the shortcut’s name to run it.

The Shortcuts app

In addition to running the simple shortcuts suggested by Siri, you can use the Shortcuts app to add ready-made or custom shortcuts to your devices. The app lets you combine multiple steps across multiple apps to create powerful task automations.

Intro to Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad (2)

After you add shortcuts from the Gallery or create your own, you can run them from:

  • The Shortcuts app

  • The HomeScreen on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  • The Shortcuts widget on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  • Apple Watch

  • The share sheet of another app

  • Siri

What’s an action?

An action is the building block of a shortcut. Each shortcut comprises a series of actions, and each action is a single step that performs a particular function. For example, a shortcut that shares an animated GIF might contain three consecutive actions: Get Latest Photos grabs the latest photos that you took on your device, Make GIF uses those photos to build an animated GIF, and Send Message automatically sends the GIF to your recipients.

Intro to Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad (3)

Actions represent the best features of the apps on your Apple devices, broken out into smaller parts. With hundreds of actions, there are a variety of individual steps you can chain together to build shortcuts.

See Intro to how shortcuts work on iPhone and iPad and Navigate the action list in Shortcuts on iPhone or iPad.

Where are shortcuts stored?

In the Shortcuts app, shortcuts are organized in collections in the Shortcuts screen (iOS) and Shortcuts sidebar (iPadOS):

  • All Shortcuts: Contains all of your shortcuts and shortcuts available in apps.

  • My Shortcuts: Contains all of your shortcuts.

  • Share Sheet: Contains shortcuts that are available in the share sheet of another app.

  • Apple Watch: Contains shortcuts that are available on your Apple Watch.

  • App Shortcuts: Contains all of the shortcuts available in apps.

When you tap a collection name, all shortcuts in that collection are shown in a grid array. Each shortcut is represented by a rounded rectangle that has a title, an icon, and a color. Tap a shortcut once to run it, or tap Intro to Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad (4) to see the actions contained inside.

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Intro to Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad (2024)

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