One of the main differences between iOS 12 and previous versions of the Apple mobile operating system is the availability of tools to automate routine actions.
Previously, Cupertino never paid attention to such chips and could be automated exclusively within the framework allowed for application developers. Even so, useful and interesting services for automation periodically appeared.
It should be noted such iconic applications and services in this niche:
- Launch Center Pro – performing certain actions in a couple of clicks;
- IFTTT – cross-platform service with the ability to connect social networks;
- Workflow is an application with basic automation scenarios on iOS.
Where did this app come from?
A few years ago, third-party developers presented the same Workflow automation application in the App Store . The feature of the program was the ability to independently create simple automation scripts.
In addition, the program had a large database of ready-made examples and templates that could be downloaded in one click and made edits if necessary.
A large community of fans gathered around Workflow, and Apple took notice of this. The Cupertinians purchased the app in early 2017, making it free.
After a year, they decided to integrate the program into iOS, allowing users to automate certain processes. Before Automator on MacOS, of course, still far away, but the first step in this direction has been made.
What Apple has changed in Workflow
Almost nothing. Either the application seemed to the Cupertinians as a finished product, or no one wanted to invest in the development and development of the service, but the Shortcuts application looks and works just like its predecessor, Workflow , worked .
Perhaps this is for the best, the application interface and operating principles have been preserved, Workflow users will not have to relearn, and a large ready-made database of automation scripts has not gone anywhere.
After upgrading to iOS 12, if the Workflow application was installed on the device , the Shortcuts application will arrive as an update for it
In fact, the developers made two major changes: they localized the service (finally, the Russian language appeared) and added the ability to interact with Siri .
The first innovation will significantly expand the audience of users of the service, and the second will allow you to seriously pump the voice assistant.
What is the difference between the Shortcuts app and Siri Shortcuts
Siri shortcuts (Siri Shortcuts) were available to all users of test versions of iOS 12. The section was displayed in the voice assistant settings and allowed you to set your voice command for frequent actions for some standard applications.
The problem was that the system itself chose 2-3 actions for applications that were performed most often and allowed you to set a command on them.
To add the desired action, you should repeat it many times and hope that it appears in the menu. Not so convenient.
The Commands application is a separate automation tool, one of the capabilities of which is integration with a voice assistant.
Now the Quick Commands section ( Settings – Siri and Search ) has remained in its place in the system parameters and works as before, and the application allows you to independently configure automation scripts.
How the Shortcuts app works
The application is installed from the App Store and allows you to create various automation scenarios. Customized Quick commands at the same time live their lives and do not interfere with the established program.
Do not think Shortcuts only work with Siri
If for some reason you are not using a voice assistant, you can still configure automation and start it in any convenient way.
The application has two large sections: a library for managing created or loaded scripts and a gallery for searching and adding ready-made scripts.
All scenarios are presented in the form of cards with the ability to make changes to the work.
When you click on the card, the script is triggered.
When held , editing mode is activated, in which you can move cards by swapping them (this is necessary for displaying in the widget).
Clicking on the ellipsis opens the script for editing.
The Edit button allows you to enable the selection mode to delete several cards, here it’s convenient to copy the script to create a duplicate or a similar automation script.
Where to begin
The first thing we recommend is to open the Gallery section . It has already collected several hundred ready-made and useful automation scripts.
All of them are divided into groups and have a small description.
So you can understand what this or that scenario is doing, if necessary, upload it to yourself.
When you open the script card, you will see the applications involved, and when you click the Show Actions button, the operation algorithm will be displayed.
After you find and add a couple of your favorite scripts, you can go to the Library tab to configure them or create your own.
Any added automation script can be customized for yourself, for this we click the icon with three dots.
The script looks like connected blocks with actions that fire one after another from top to bottom. Actions can be automatic or requiring user intervention.
In the first case, a certain process will occur, and in the second, the user will see a dialog box with the need to confirm or select something.
For clarity, you can run the script here and see all the steps of its execution.
When you understand the work of ready-made scripts, you can try to create your own.
Do not forget that the scripts can be renamed and change the icons for them.
To do this, open any card, go to the settings menu and set the desired name. In the Icon section, you can change the icon and background color, you can even select a photo from the gallery as an icon.
How to run added scripts
Scripts from the Library section can be launched in several ways.
1. From the application itself
The most obvious and inconvenient way. Was automation worth it to run scripts from a specific program?
2. Via the 3D-Touch menu
A strong click on the icon of the Commands application will open a menu with four scripts, clicking on which will launch them. In order for certain scenarios to appear in the menu, they should be placed at the top of the list in the application.
3. Via the widget
In the menu with widgets, you can mark the Quick Commands application for conveniently running scripts.
After that, automation can be started from the widget menu or directly from the locked screen. In the abridged version, the widget displays four scenarios, and in the advanced one, almost all the cards added.
Please note that the Configure button in Quick Commands allows you to move cards or hide them from the widget without removing the script from the application.
4. From the desktop
Any script can be added to the desktop as an icon. To do this, go to edit mode, open the script settings and select Add to the Home screen .
All that remains is to save the shortcut from the Share menu .
The icon will be displayed on the home screen, it can be placed in a folder, moved to any place or deleted altogether.
5. Using Siri
The main difference between the Shortcuts application and its predecessor is tight integration with the voice assistant.
To run any command, you can record your phrase and Siri will activate the script after pronouncing it.
You need to go to the script settings, open its parameters and select Add for Siri .
Now you need to record the phrase to activate the script.
The phrase may be completely unrelated to the action and its name.
In the future, you can manage the phrases added for commands in the Settings – Siri and Search – My Quick Commands menus .
This is how the main innovation of iOS 12 looks, which allows you to automate some actions on the iPhone or iPad.
If the automation topic seems interesting to you, I will collect the most suitable scripts from the gallery of the Shortcuts application and talk in detail about creating my own scripts.