With iOS 12, it’s easier than ever to use your favorite iPhone and iPad apps. You can still open your apps to use them as before. But that’s not the only option. Today, you can use Siri to add info to your apps, automate apps with the Shortcuts app, and let Siri automatically recommend apps when it thinks you’ll use them.
The easiest way is to use the shortcuts Siri automatically suggests. You’ll see some of them come up automatically—like calendar alerts that remind you to leave early enough before a meeting to make it in time even if there’s traffic or suggested apps that come up when you open your iPhone or iPad’s search pane. The rest are inside your Settings app for you to enable if you want.
Open the iOS Settings app, select Siri & Search, and you’ll see suggested shortcuts with some of the tasks you do most frequently on your phone. Siri might suggest messages you send to friends often, notes you open regularly, or maps to locations you frequent. My iPhone shows several suggestions for 20 apps today including most of the built-in apps along with 3rd party apps like Ulysses, Halide, Things, and Spark. Check back frequently to see new suggestions—less than a sixth of the apps I have installed support Siri Shortcuts today, but more are being added all the time with updates.
Want to use a shortcut frequently? Tap the shortcut from the suggested list, and your phone will prompt you to add it to Siri. Press the red record button then say the phrase you want. Then whenever you want to use that shortcut, tell it to Siri and your phone will get those directions or open the note or anything else you usually would have to tap around your phone to do.
The shortcuts Siri finds on its own are helpful ways to automate your everyday tasks—but Siri won’t figure out everything you need to do on its own. Instead, you can use the new free Shortcuts app to build your shortcuts from a wide variety of apps, and add those custom shortcuts to Siri.
Shortcuts workflows can be as simple or complex as you’d like. They work like simple step-by-step guides through your work, with widgets to pull data from apps, run functions like math calculations and language translation, then add the finished data to other apps.
Say you want to get the current weather and text it to your friend who’s coming into town. You could add a Weather widget to get the weather, then a Messages widget where you add a message complete with the data from the Weather app. Whenever you tell Siri to run that Shortcut, it’ll grab the current weather and text it to your friend without you needing to do anything else.
Today, the Shortcuts app supports 22 built-in apps, along with 40 other popular 3rd party apps including:
Each of those apps’ Shortcuts actions are included in the Content Types menu when you add actions to Shortcuts, organized into categories like Music and Documents. Then, below that you’ll see every app on your iPhone or iPad that includes a Siri Shortcuts integration—tap those to see what actions they offer.
Today, a vast number of apps beyond those that come built-in support Siri Shortcuts—and more arrive every day as apps are updated to support iOS 12’s new features. If your favorite app doesn’t show up, be sure to check the App Store for updates, or search for the tool you need along with Siri shortcuts and odds are you’ll find a newly updated app that supports Shortcuts. Any app that supports the new Siri Shortcuts in your iPhone or iPad’s Settings also supports the stand-alone Shortcuts app where you can customize actions into complete workflows.
Tip: If you’re an app developer, you can add Siri Shortcuts support to your app with Apple’s SiriKit.
Want to add an app to your Siri Shortcuts that doesn’t support Shortcuts yet? Or need to use an app that doesn’t even have an iPhone or iPad app? App automation tool Zapier is your best option. It connects over 1,300 favorite business apps—from Airtable to Zoho and everything in between–where you can build powerful workflows to email receipts to customers, print shipping labels automatically, get customized notifications, save files and form entries, and much more.
Check Zapier’s app directory to see if your app works with Zapier—or, you can add many other apps to Zapier on your own, via email, file integrations, webhooks, and even their own API. Then make a new Zapier workflow using our Webhooks integration—and use that to connect your app to Siri Shortcuts.
It’s the best way to turn your iPhone into a business tool.
→ Learn more about Siri Shortcuts and how to build advanced workflows in our Zapier + Siri Shortcuts guide..
Have another question about your favorite apps? Ask the Zapier team
Published September 27, 2018
Written by Zapier writer Matthew Guay