How did you get into Siri Shortcuts?

I get what it does, but I just can’t put the building blocks into any sort of procedure that would genuinely and intuitively do anything useful for me?

What sort of ideas and procedures were you able to come up with that made Siri Shortcuts save your day / make your life easier?


Well, one that helps a lot is going to sound very, very strange. But it does show some things you can do with Shortcuts.

Saturday night is Pizza Night. There are six different pizza places we use (including Imo’s; hey, STL!), so how do we keep track of which week it is? (I have no memory for such things).

Well, I created a shortcut. It displays the six most recent entries in a Bear note that has the pizza name and date. It then displays the different pizza places as a menu. When one is selected it updates the Bear note and opens the appropriate pizza app.

Could I just look at a list? Sure. Could I just put a little effort into remembering things? Sure. But this was more fun. My son was actually impressed and nerdy things tend not to.

Anyone want to start thick v. thin pizza wars? :smile:

It probably depends on what your background is? Do you have experience building automations for yourself outside of Siri Shortcuts (iOS or otherwise)? Because then it’s more about what automation can do for making your day/life easier.

For shortcuts specifically:

For a while I lived in Boston and very near to a subway stop. So it always felt repetitive going in to Citymapper or and having them calculate the best route (especially for a commute). So, I wrote a shortcut routine which hits the MBTA api and just returns the next 5 ETAs.

I’m not an advanced user but I have a few that I use all day every day.

  • Create my daily page template in day one; populated with the calendar entry for the day, spaces for top three tasks of the day, spaces for notes etc in the format I like
  • Show me a list of apple notes for currently open projects (I have a note for each and jot down updates throughout the day)
  • Show me all my lists in apple notes; books to read, cooking ideas, desired purchases etc
  • Log a weight workout in health, play my weights playlist and open the app I use to follow my programme (I have one for my runs and HIIT workouts, all with different playlists and associated apps. It’s nice pressing one button and being ready to start)
  • I have a Start the Day! Shortcut and Close the day shortcut; which is just a list of shortcuts I move through to create the habit i.e open calendar, open mail to empty inbox etc.

Nothing fancy but saves me tonnes of time and adds structure

So far only small steps into shortcuts, I’m terrible for forgetting if I’ve taken a tablet or what time I took it at. I’ve created a few short shortcuts to grab a timestamp and append the medicine type to a note.
The key advantage is that it can be triggered by voice so I just have to grab the phone and say “antihistamine” or “inhaler” and I have a record.

The only other shortcut I’ve tried to create so far has been a fail, I wanted a shortcut to turn off lights at intervals as I went to bed. Unfortunately the shortcut stops executing as soon as the phone locks itself so it’s not the fire-and-forget solution I was looking for. Hopefully that’ll be addressed in future releases.

For me, the key thing to “getting into” shortcuts was having a requirement that it could solve.

For me, it was the need to come up with a solution to a) manage the simultaneous creation of 10-15 reminders per participant for a study we conduct at university and b) to figure out a way to send pre-populated emails to different people.

This was just a month after Apple announced Shortcuts (and I had no experience with Workflow before that), so it was a challenge but since I had a clear goal in mind (and a great Field Guide by @MacSparky to help with the details), I was able to learn a lot about Shortcuts and it has saved me lots and lots of time ever since. Just a quick example: What took me about 50-60 minutes each day, I can now do in about 5-10 minutes. And since I have been doing this 4-5 days a week for about 1.5 years now, the investment of time has clearly payed off.