iOS 14 – A Siri, HomeKit, Home App and Shortcuts Overview

iOS 14 is here, and over 30% of us have already updated. Time to update our Siri, HomeKit, Home app, and Shortcuts overview with the new iOS 14 features.

In this post, we will start with a brief overview of the Shortcuts and the Home app and where they intersect. We’ll then look into HomeKit basics and what’s new on iOS 14. We will explore the Shortcuts app and list all the Apple Gallery Shortcuts. Finally, we’ll look into some of our HomeKit and Shortcuts examples.

An Overview of the Shortcuts and Home App

Before we go into details, here’s a quick overview of the Shortcuts and the Home app, explained by Siri (one minute snippet from our Siri’s HomeKit Scenes and Shortcuts: Immersive Storytelling How-To cartoon).

You can pause the clip at around 2:34, we’ll go through the examples later in this post:

How-To Create Siri HomeKit Scenes and Shortcuts: Immersive Storytelling with Ambient Scenes & Sounds

To summarize professor Siri:

The Shortcuts app lets us use Apple’s Shortcuts examples and our frequently used actions from our apps in the Shortcuts Gallery. We can create our own Shortcuts and Personal Automations, which will run from our iPhones and iPads. But, we can also create Home Automations – just like in the Home app – which will run on our home hubs. Additionally, we can use all our home accessories and scenes within our Shortcuts.

With the Home app we can manage all our HomeKit accessories, create scenes, rooms and zones. Additionally, we can create home automations – just like in the Shortcuts app – which will run on our home hubs.

The Shortcuts and the Home App Features

What is Apple’s HomeKit?

Let’s start with the foundation of the Home app: HomeKit is Apple’s framework which lets us control our “works with Apple HomeKit” compatible smart home accessories from our iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and Apple TVs.

HomeKit makes all our home accessories available to Siri, so we can control them with our voice through all the devices mentioned above, and of course also with Siri on our HomePods and AirPods.

Apple’s Home app, which is preinstalled on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Macs, and built on top of HomeKit, shows us all our HomeKit devices and lets us configure and control them.

What’s a HomeKit Home Hub?

When we’re at home, our iPhone can talk directly to our smart home devices through Bluetooth or WiFi. To create home automations, remote control our devices, and stream our HomeKit compatible cameras, when we’re not at home, we need a home hub. This is simply a software feature, which we can enable on our HomePod, Apple TV (HD or 4K), or an iPad.

Please note, you will find many Apple how-to links under “More Information”, e.g. “How to set up your home hub”.

What’s the Apple Home App?

iOS 14 Apple’s Home App

Apple’s Home app has three sections:

  1. a “Home” screen with the main dashboard that shows us the status of the home we’ve selected, with new icons for devices that are powered on, and temperature and motion sensors around our home. Additionally, we can find here our favorite Scenes, Accessories and Cameras.
  2. A “Rooms” screen, which lets us swipe through the rooms in our home with all the accessories added to this room and scenes associated with those accessories, and
  3. An “Automation” screen, which lists all the automations we’ve created for this home.

The Structure of a HomeKit Home

The structure of a HomeKit home is straightforward: we can have multiple homes, those homes can have multiple rooms with multiple accessories assigned to them. Within a room, we can create a group of accessories to control them with one button. We can combine multiple rooms into bigger zones, e.g. downstairs and upstairs.

We can control the state of multiple accessories with scenes, which memorize the state of our accessories, e.g. “set living room relax”.

Pro-Tip: We can also add Apple TVs and HomePods to scenes, which lets us add audio to scenes and control the playback. You’ll need at least iOS 13.3 to make this work for Home Automations in the Shortcuts app.

Watch Siri creating a HomeKit scene with audio – “Hey Siri, at the beach” (one minute snippet from our Siri’s HomeKit Scenes and Shortcuts: Immersive Storytelling How-To cartoon). You can pause the clip at around 4:20, we’ll get later to the other examples:

How-To Create Siri HomeKit Scenes and Shortcuts: Immersive Storytelling with Ambient Scenes & Sounds

How to automate a HomeKit Home?

The Automation screen allows us to create automations, which will run from our home hubs, based on:

New Home Automation in the Home and Shortcuts app
  1. Location
    • when people arrive
    • when people leave
  2. Time
    • when a time of day occurs
    • sunrise/sunset
  3. Action
    • when a HomeKit accessory is controlled
    • when a HomeKit sensor detects something

How can we share a Home and configure Notifications?

In the Home settings screen, we can invite household members to control our shared home. Here’s also where we can configure to receive personal notifications for cameras, sensors, and other accessories.

Please note: in iOS 14, the settings have moved from the little house icon on the top left to the bottom of the rooms list which pops up when we tap on it. If you have many rooms you might need to scroll to find it.

What was new in HomeKit on iOS 13?

iOS 13 brought us HomeKit Secure Video and HomeKit Secured Routers. HomeKit Secure Video runs person, animal and car detection on our HomeKit home hub devices. The video clips are stored on iCloud for 10 days and require for one cam a 200GB and for up to five cams a 2TB iCloud subscription. Video data does not count toward the monthly iCloud storage. We can share camera access and configure notifications for Secure Video cameras through the Home app.

HomeKit Secured Routers (currently supported by select models of Eero routers) add an Apple firewall between HomeKit devices and our network. We can configure our HomeKit accessories to only allow connections to the home hub, a list of approved internet services, or any internet service.

What’s new in HomeKit on iOS 14?

iOS 14 HomeKit Secure Video Settings (Netatmo Welcome)

We can now find automations suggested for every HomeKit accessory in the accessory settings. The Netatmo Welcome camera, for instance suggests: “When Entrance Occupancy Sensor Detects Occupancy, turn on the lights in entrance”, which we can enable with one tap. 

HomeKit Secure Video supports now face recognition on our home hub. We can allow photo library access to display the names from people in our Photos Library in notifications and recorded clips. 

Please note, this feature currently does not work for us and we have to tag the people manually. It also sometimes displays us with face masks, which should actually be filtered. We expect that Apple’s face recognition will learn over time, just like Netatmo’s did.

HomeKit Secure Video supports now activity zones. We can draw custom shapes to define areas that should be monitored, or by inverting zones, exclude areas from monitoring. This is a remarkable feature, especially for the Netatmo Welcome camera, as the native app does not support alert zones for the Welcome.

Please note, as the HomePod as of this writing is still not on OS 14, we had to remove it as home hub and reset our Apple TV (tvOS 14) to see this feature.

The iOS control center displays now our most used accessories and scenes for direct control. We can see all our favorites, except cams, by tapping on the home icon. 

On iOS 14 we can display our HomeKit cameras picture in picture while browsing other apps. This feature unfortunately does not work for us on iPadsOS 14 and tvOS 14.

On tvOS 14 we can press and hold the home button on the Siri Remote to open the Control Center and from there access our favorite HomeKit scenes and cameras. We can open the cameras full-screen and swipe through the camera feeds.

Upcoming features that have been announced, but are not yet available are video doorbell announcements for HomeKit Secure Video doorbells (the soon expected Netatmo Video doorbell will initially not support HomeKit Secure Video) and adaptive lighting, which will gradually adapt color temperature (a feature we already use through the Philips Hue app). 

What are Siri Shortcuts?

Just in case you have not seen our overview from iOS 12 yet, here’s Siri explaining her shortcuts:

AI-News - Episode 8 - Special: Siri Shortcuts - presented by Siri

To summarize, Shortcuts are:

  1. Siri learning in the background, what we frequently do with our Apple apps and showing us suggestions at the right time, e.g. to set an alarm for the morning, when it’s time to go to bed.
  2. Siri learning from other apps how we use them, and suggesting actions for these apps, e.g. to create a Siri Shortcut to quickly access Google Assistant.
  3. Custom Shortcuts which we can create by using the preinstalled “Shortcuts” app and create e.g. a Siri Music Quiz.

What was new in Shortcuts on iOS 13?

If you were used to Shortcuts on iOS 12, here’s a list of changes in iOS 13:

  • The Shortcuts app comes now preinstalled and contains the Siri suggestions in the gallery.
  • We don’t need to define a Siri command, as the name of our shortcut will be used.
  • We can add our Shortcuts to the home screen, widgets and Share sheets.
  • The actions have more natural names and synonyms to find them through the search bar.
  • Shortcuts can be customized to pull multiple data sources from multiple apps into one Shortcut.
  • A bunch of new activities like the Apple TV remote or Airdrop have been added.
  • “Choose from menu” and “Choose from list” allow for conversational shortcuts.
  • Personal and Home Automations have been added.

What’s new in Shortcuts on iOS 14?

  • We have now six additional Personal Automation triggers: Sleep, Email, Message, Close app, Low Power Mode, Battery Level, and Charger (please see the full list below). 
  • Following 13 Personal Automation triggers can now run automatically without user permission: Time of day, DnD, Alarm, Low Power Mode, Sleep, Open app, Workout, Close app, CarPlay, Battery Level, Airplane Mode, Charger, and NFC.
  • We can now organize our Shortcuts in folders.
  • We have a new iOS 14 widget for Shortcuts (in three sizes).
  • There is now a Shortcuts app on the Apple Watch. We can use Shortcuts as complications.

What’s the Shortcuts app?

With the Shortcuts app we can:

  1. Download and adapt pre-created shortcuts from Apple’s Shortcuts Gallery.
  2. Create Custom Shortcuts, which are a quick way to have one or multiple tasks performed through Actions (the building blocks of a Shortcut).
  3. Create Personal and Home Automations (Please note, the home automations here are the same automations you can find in your Home app).

What’s in the Shortcuts Gallery

The Shortcuts Gallery is a collection of Apple curated Shortcuts which we can use as-is or for inspiration to create our own shortcuts.

To install a Shortcut from the Shortcuts Gallery:

  1. Tap on the Shortcut
  2. Check the description
  3. Tap on “Add Shortcut”

The Shortcut will be added to “My Shortcuts”. You can run the Shortcut by:

  • saying “Hey Siri, <shortcut name>”, or
  • tapping on the Shortcut in “My Shortcuts”, or
  • adding the Shortcut to the Home Screen, Apple Watch, Share Sheet, and activating it from there.

Here’s a full list of Apple’s Shortcuts from the Shortcut Gallery (there are some duplicates which fit into multiple categories):

Starter Shortcuts – NEW in iOS14

  • Block off an Hour (create an event at the time and date you choose)
  • Take a Break (set a new alarm and turn on Do not Disturb)
  • Airdrop Photos (Select images to Airdrop to another device)
  • New Note with Date (create a new note with the current date as title)
  • Text last image (message your most recent photo)
  • Text running late (message attendees of an upcoming meeting that you’re running late)
  • Email Running Late (email attendees of an upcoming meeting that you’re running late)
  • Email last image (email your most recent photo)
  • Shazam shortcut (use Shazam and play the song in Apple Music)
  • What’s a shortcut (an introduction to shortcuts)
  • Music Quiz (no, that’s not our smartenlight music quiz, but rather an easier multiple-choice version which Apple has now implemented)
  • Make GIF (create a GIF from Live Photo or video)
  • Show Screenshots (show the last screenshot to share it)
  • Directions to Event (get directions for an upcoming event)
  • Make QR Code (create a QR code to open a website, send a message add an event and more)

Shortcuts for Accessibility

  • Medication Counter – NEW in iOS14 (track medications)
  • In case of Emergency – NEW in iOS14  (send a message and your location to your emergency contacts and display a message on screen)
  • Share with Care team   – NEW in iOS14 (share content with your care team from the Share Sheet)
  • Toggle Voice Control – NEW in iOS14 (toggle voice control with a tap)
  • Toggle VoiceOver   – NEW in iOS14 (toggle VoiceOver with a tap)
  • Toggle Assistive Touch   – NEW in iOS14 (toggle assistive touch with a tap)
  • Toggle Closed Captions   – NEW in iOS14 (toggle closed captions with a tap)
  • Toggle Increase Contrast   – NEW in iOS14 (toggle increase contract with a tap)
  • Toggle Reduce transparency   – NEW in iOS14 (toggle reduce transparency with a tap)
  • Change the text size (on your device)
  • Speak Brush Teeth Routine 
  • Contact on Home Screen (contact someone by placing their photo on the home screen)
  • Help Message (send a message and your location to your emergency contacts)
  • Speak Meeting Someone New (speaks helpful phrases when meeting someone new, reads what you type, shares your contact card)
  • Share Contact Details (share your contact details quickly with others)
  • Mood Journal (create a note recording your thoughts and feelings)
  • QR Your Shortcuts (create and print a QR code for a shortcut)
  • QR Your Wi-Fi (convert your Wi-Fi password to a QR code)
  • Pain Report (helps to let others know the location and intensity of your pain)
  • Special Day Countdown
  • Do Not Disturb Timer (silences notifications and helps to concentrate)
  • Clipboard a GIF mood (use a GIF to share your mood – type and talk)
  • What Do I need? (choose an emoji to quickly articulate how you feel and what you need)

Great with Siri

  • Play on HomePod (handoff music from iPhone to HomePod; Note, you can do this also by holding your iPhone near your HomePod)
  • Morning Briefing (weather, travel time, podcast)
  • Dinner Time (message everyone that it’s dinner time and play a playlist)
  • Keep me on Task (activates do not disturb, starts a timer, logs what you’re working on in a note, when the time is up do not disturbed will be turned off)
  • Heading to Work (gets your ETA, the first calendar event, starts your playlist and gets directions)
  • Home ETA (shares how long it will take to get home)
  • Say Cheese (take a picture with Siri)
  • Call into meeting (calls into your next meeting in the calendar)
  • DND Until I leave (turn on do not disturb until you leave this location)
  • Where’s next? (get directions to your next event on your calendar)

Wonderful Widget Shortcuts

  • Quick Shortcuts (less taps, more done)
    • NPR News now (play NPR news update)
    • Open App on Apple TV (open a specific app on Apple TV)
    • Wake Apple TV (wake selected Apple TV)
    • Email myself (e-mail any content to yourself through from Share Sheet)
    • Search on (choose platform and search any topic)
    • Speed Dial (start phone call)
    • Share location (share Maps URL of your current location in a text message)
    • Laundry timer (set a reminder for when the laundry will be done)
    • Play Playlist (play preselected playlist immediately)
    • Directions Home (get directions home in a tap)
    • Remind me at work (set a reminder for when you arrive at work)
    • Log my weight (log your current weight into the Health app)
    • Walk to Coffee Shop (Get walking directions to a nearby coffee shop)
  • Utilize your location (get more out of your phone’s GPS)
    • Home ETA (share how long it will take you to get home)
    • Directions to next event (get directions to your next calendar event)
    • Pizza assistant (call a pizza place and create reminder to pick up)
    • Walk to coffee shop (get walking directions to a nearby coffee shop
    • Share location (share Maps URL of your current location in a text message)
  • On the web & in your widget (URL, RSS and APIs)
    • Browse top news (choose from news stories from top sources)
    • Expand URL (unshorten a link and copy it to the clipboard)
    • Speak Pocket Article (speak the contents of an article in Pocket)
  • Whistle while you widget (start and stop music, right from the widget)
    • Play entire current album (plays full album of the current track)
    • Play Playlist (play preselected playlist immediately)
    • Play One and Shuffle (play a song and shuffle the rest of your library)
    • Play an Album (play a predefined album immediately)

Share Sheet Shortcuts

  • JavaScript Shortcuts (control web content in Safari)
    • Change Video Speed (in Safari)
    • Change Font (of a webpage)
    • Find Emails on Webpage (send an e-mail to all addresses found on a webpage)
    • Edit Webpage 
  • Designed for Safari (share button shortcuts)
    • Speak Body of Article (speaks the text of an article from a web page)
    • Make PDF (saves anything to PDF)
    • Read Later (saves an URL to a read it later service)
    • Site Search (search for other pages on the site you’re on
    • View Source (view the HTML source of a webpage)
    • Get Images from Page (get the images of the current web page)
    • Open in Chrome (open any link in Google’s browser)
    • Tweet link and Title (tweet the URL and title of a page)
    • Tweet selected Quote (tweet the selected text as a quote)
    • Wayback Machine (see older versions of a site using Wayback Machine
  • Share from other Apps (share sheet from other apps)
    • Search Link on Twitter (take URL from clipboard and search for it on Twitter)
    • Share Article to Omnifcous (save title and URL of a link as a new task in OmniFocus)
    • Share Article to Bear (save a URL as a new note in Bear)
    • Add as Bear Note (create a new note and copy a link to it in Bear)
    • Add book to wishlist (create a reminder with a book’s title and price)
    • Add to Instapaper (add clipboard URLs to Instapaper)
    • Add to Pocket (add clipboard URLs to Pocket)
    • Add to Things (add todo item to Things)
    • Add to Calendar (add an item to calendar using Fantastical)

Shortcuts for Apple Music

  • Control Playback (start, stop and shuffle)
    • Play one and shuffle (play a song and shuffle the rest of your library)
    • Shuffle A-List playlist (shuffle A-List playlist from library)
    • Play an Artist (play a predefined artist immediately)
    • Play an Album (play a predefined album immediately)
    • Play Playlist (play a preselected playlist immediately)
    • Repeat this song (play current song on repeat)
    • Play recently added (listen to the latest tracks you’ve added to your library)
  • Playlist Central (browse Apple curator pages or create your own)
    • Open Genre Playlists (browse the main genre pages in Apple Music) 
    • Open A-List Playlists (choose from A-List playlist for each genre on Apple Music)
    • Open Activities & Moods (browse Apple Music pages for activities and moods)
    • Play My Favorites Mix (shuffle your mix of favorites picked by Apple Music)
    • Play New Music Mix (shuffle new music picked by Apple Music for you)
    • Top 25 Playlist (create a playlist of your top 25 most played songs)
    • Duplicate Playlist (make a copy of a playlist)
    • Auto Playlist (shuffles 25 songs playe3d in the last 3 weeks and plays them)
  • On the Radio (shortcuts for every station)
    • Play Beats 1 Radio
    • Play Genre Radio (choose a genre and start playing that radio station)
    • Alternative & Indie Radio (choose from Alternative and Indie stations to play)
    • Christian & Gospel Radio (choose from Christian & Gospel Radio stations to play)
    • Classic Radio (choose from Classic Radio stations to play)
    • Country Radio (choose from Country Radio stations to play)
    • Dance Radio (choose from Dance Radio stations to play)
    • Electronic Radio (choose from Electronic Radio stations to play)
    • World Radio (choose from World Radio stations to play)
    • Hi-Hop/R&B (choose from Hi-Hop/R&B stations to play)
    • Hits by Decade (choose from Hits by Decade stations to play)
    • Jazz Radio (choose from Jazz Radio stations to play)
    • Kids&Family Radio (choose from Kids&Family Radio stations to play)
    • Latin Radio (choose from Latin Radio stations to play)
    • Metal Radio (choose from Metal Radio stations to play)
  • Beyond the Library (share your music online)
    • Share my week in music (create a grid of album artwork from tracks listened to this week)
    • Share most played songs (share a picture of your most played songs)
    • Copy Apple Music Link (copy a link to the current song)
    • New Favorite Album (add Shortcut to your latest jam)
  • What’s up next? (control the music queue)
    • Play next (choose from recently added songs to play next)
    • Add to Queue (choose from recently added tracks to add to the Up Next queue)
    • Play Playlist Next (choose from favorite playlists and ad it to the Up Next queue)
    • Play Full Album Next (play the full album of the current song next in Up Next queue)
    • Play Artists Top Songs Next (search iTunes for the current artist’s songs and add the first 10 to the Up Next queue)
    • Play Artists Old Albums Next (choose from current artist’s albums sorted by oldest date and add to the Up Next queue)

Shortcuts for Sharing

  • Sharing (device to device)
    • Share location (share Maps URL of your current location in a text message)
    • Share Reminders (pick from your reminders and choose how to share with others)
    • Upload last photo (uploads your latest photo to Dropbox and copies the link)
    • Better Mail Merge (send e-mail to your contacts filling in their names)
    • Airdrop Screenshot (airdrop your latest screenshot)
    • Share Clipboard (open the clipboard in the share sheet)
    • Clipboard to CloudApp (upload your clipboard to CloudApp and copy the link)
    • Clipboard to Dropbox (upload your clipboard to Dropbox)
    • Share Podcast via Castro (link to your podcast page)
  • Social Media (create media to share)
    • Post Live Photo to Instagram (post your latest Live Photo to Instagram)
    • Instagram Grid (choose your Instagram photos to create a grid)
    • Tweet Song (tweet the currently playing song with album artwork)
    • Instagram Song (post the song you’re listening to on Instagram)
    • Share Location (share Maps URL of your current location in a text message)
  • Twitter Better (Twitter lists, search link, tweet songs and more)
    • Open Twitter lists (enter and pick from your Twitter lists)
    • Search Link on Twitter (take URL from clipboard and search for it on Twitter)
    • Open in Twitter App (take a Twitter link and open it in your preferred Twitter app)
    • Check Twitter Explore (jump directly into the top trends)
    • Open in Tweetbot (open any Twitter link directly in Tweetbot)
    • Live Photo to Twitter Video (choose a live photo and convert it to a video for Twitter)
    • Tweet latest Photo (tweet your latest photo)
    • Tweet Selected Quote (tweet selected text as a quote)
    • Tweet Link and Title (tweet the URL and title of the page)
    • Tweet Song (Advanced) (share current track details and album artwork on Twitter)
  • Just for fun (ASCII art)
    • ASCII Clipboard (quickly copy ASCII art)
    • Bunny with Sign (make an ASCII bunny)
    • Puts on Sunglasses
    • All the Single Ladies ASCII
    • Aww (see a random top post from r/aww on Reddit)
    • Shakespeare Insult Generator (create random insults with words from Shakespeare)
    • Random Bill Wurtz (play a random catchy jingle from Bill Wurtz)
    • Name That Emoji (enter an emoji and get the system name)
    • Yup. That’s me (tweet meme)
    • It’s an illusion, Michael (play The Final Countdown)

Shortcuts from your Apps

Those depend on the apps you use …

Essentials 

  • Reading Mode (focus on reading by setting for how long, turning on Do not Disturb, enabling Dark Mode, starting your favorite reading playlist, and opening your favorite reading app)
  • Set Audio Output (switch audio to AirPods, an AirPlay device, or a Bluetooth device)
  • Home ETA (share how long it will take you to get home)
  • Meet Halfway (find a restaurant halfway between your location and a friends location)
  • Make Top 25 Playlist (create a playlist of your most listened songs)
  • Silence During Meeting (set Do not Disturb and lower volume for the current calendar event)
  • Play Playlist (play a reselected playlist immediately)
  • Directions Home (get directions to your home in a tap)
  • Download File (download from the URL in your clipboard)
  • Browse Top News (choose from news stories from the top sources)
  • Directions To Next Event (get directions to your next calendar event)
  • Calculate Tip (choose the tip and get the total bill from the given amount)
  • Log Water (keep track of your daily intake by adding it to the Health app)
  • Make PDF (save anything to a PDF)
  • Remind me at home (add a reminder to go off when you arrive home)
  • Share Location (share Maps URL of your current location in a text message)
  • Scan QR Code (scan a QR code and copy the text)
  • Where was this taken (see a map of where a photo was taken)

Morning Routine

  • When do I need to leave by (tells you when you have to leave so you’re not late for work)
  • Remind me at work (set a reminder for when you arrive at work)
  • Brush Teeth Timer (make sure to get full 2 minutes of brushing)
  • Log Caffeine (record each cup of coffee or can of soda in the Health app)
  • Plan 3 main tasks (focus to make the most of your day)
  • Top Stories from Apple News (jump into the most important news of the day)
  • Log Water (keep track of your daily intake by adding it to the Health app)
  • Browse Favorite Subreddits (get the top posts from your favorite sub reddits
  • Tea Timer (choose one of your favorite teas, then set a timer)

Quick Shortcuts 

This section contains the same Quick Shortcuts from the Wonderful Widget Shortcuts section above.

Featured

  • Washing Hands Music (wash your hands for 20 seconds while listening to music)
  • Washing hands timer (make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds)
  • Shazam & Save (listens to the song your playing and saves it to your music library)
  • What did they say? (uses shazam to get the lyrics of the song your listening to)
  • Message this song (identifies the song you’re listening and sends it in a message)
  • Add to queue (choose from recently added tracks and add them to the Up Next queue)
  • Search Link on Twitter (search for the URL in your clipboard on Twitter)
  • Photo Grid (select some photos and turn them into a collage)
  • Open in iTunes store (share a link from Apple Music and open it on the iTunes store)
  • Make new weekly playlist (create a new playlist every Monday for the calendar week)
  • View custom DateTime formats (preview a local copy of all Custom Date format patterns)

Explore Apple Music

  • Play Entire Current Album (play the full album of the current track)
  • Play Playlist (play a preselected playlist immediately)
  • Add More from Artist (add the current artist’s top songs to your library)
  • Duplicate Playlist (make a copy of your playlists)
  • Play an Album (play a preselected album immediately)
  • Play an artist (play a preselected artist immediately) 
  • Play one and shuffle (play a preselected song a shuffle through your library)
  • Make Top 25 Playlist (create a playlist of your most listened to songs)
  • Add to playlist (add the currently playing song to a particular playlist)
  • Copy Apple Music Link (copy a link to the current song)
  • Share Most Played Songs (share a picture of your most played songs)
  • Share My Week in Music (make a grid of album artwork from tracks listened to this week)

Stay Healthy

  • Learn how to wash your hands NEW in iOS14 (opens a video from CDC)
  • Log Water (into the Health app)
  • Brush Teeth Timer (2 minutes timer)
  • Log Run (duration and distance)
  • Log my Weight (into the Health app)
  • Activity Report (average number of steps last week)
  • Log Elliptical Workout (distance and total time)
  • Total Caffeine Today (from the Health app)

Put it on the Calendar 

  • Email schedule to yourself (send yourself an email with all of today’s meeting details)
  • Estimate Meeting Travel Time (see how long it will take to get to your meetings)
  • View Meeting Agenda (get the details of your next event on your calendar with notes)
  • Running Late (let people know you’re running late to an event)
  • Where Next? (get directions to the next event on your calendar)
  • Check Remaining Meetings (get an alert with meeting times scheduled for the rest of the day)
  • Open upcoming event (pick from events in the next week and show them in the calendar app)
  • Create multiple events with Fantastical (add events by speaking)
  • Calendar to Omnifocus (add a new task related to a calendar event)

Read it later 

  • Read Later (saves URL to your favorite read it later app)
  • Open Safari Reader (take any links and open them in Safari Reader mode)
  • Open URLs (opens multiple URLs from your clipboard)
  • Open Random Instapaper Article (gets random Instapaper link and opens it in Safari)
  • Choose Instapaper Article (choose from folders and pick an article to open)
  • Kick Back and Read (open a bunch of articles from your read it later app)
  • Open in Safari (takes URL from input and opens it in Safari)
  • Clip Article to Notes (get an article’s contents and save it in Apple Notes for later)
  • Review Article Archive (export a list of articles recently archived in Instapaper)
  • Add to Pocket (add the URLs from clipboard to Pocket)
  • Open Pocket Bookmark (Open recently saved Pocket bookmark in Safari)
  • Add to Instapaper (add the URLs from clipboard to Instapaper)
  • Speak Pocket Article (speak the contents of an article in Pocket)

Do more with Omnifocus

  • Copy Omnifocus URL only (extract the deep link of an OmniFocus project)
  • Reminders to Omnifocus (choose unfinished reminders to make tasks)
  • Share Article To Omnifocus (save title and URL as a new task)
  • Paste Taspaper into Omnifocus (input TaskPaper projects into OmniFocus)
  • Copy Omnifocus URL Scheme (copy deep links to clipboard)
  • Article to Bear & Omnifocus (share an article into Bear and put link into OmniFocus)
  • Clipboard to Omnifocus task notes (enter a new task and save clipboard as its note)
  • Drafts Taskpaper into Omnifocus (paste templates into OmniFocus)

Around the House

  • Laundry Timer (set a reminder for when the laundry will be done)
  • Set Weekend Chores (choose from common chores and add them to Reminders)
  • Add Expiration Reminders (enter an item and set a reminder for when it expires)
  • Kick Back and Read (open items from Pocket or Instapaper)
  • Pizza Assistant (call a Pizza place and add a reminder to pick it up)
  • Remaining Reminders (export incomplete reminders)
  • Don’t forget with Due (set a repeating reminder in the Due app)

Photography

  • Where was this taken? (see a map of where a photo was taken)
  • Time Machine (see the photos you took one year ago)
  • Photo Grid (select some photos and create a collage)
  • Airdrop Screenshot (Airdrop your latest screenshot)
  • Clear Out Photos (choose, preview, and delete photos)
  • Clean Up Screenshots (select screenshots to delete)
  • Send Receipt (send your receipts via email)
  • Share a portrait Photo (share a portrait)
  • Share Animoji (share your Animojis from clipboard or Photos)
  • Share Apple Music Profile (send a link to your Apple Music profile)
  • Share Animated GIF (access animations folder and share a GIF)
  • Convert Burst to GIF (create an animated GIF from a Burst photo)
  • Share Long Exposure Live Photo (share Long Exposure Photos)

Tools for making Music

  • Guitar Chord Finder (enter a guitar chord and see how to play it)
  • Save Song to Learn (add the current song to a playlist to practice later)
  • Practice Song on Guitar (choose a track from your “songs to learn” playlist and play it on repeat)
  • Practice Random Song (play a random song from your “songs to learn” playlist and play it on repeat)
  • Change the Volume (set the volume to specific levels)
  • Music Controller (start and stop your music or play the current song on repeat)
  • Save Music Memo (save a track from Music Memos as MP3)

On the Interweb

  • Download File (download from the URL in your clipboard)
  • Speak Body of Article (speaks the text of an article)
  • Shorten URL (shorten a link with is.gd and copy it to clipboard)
  • Expand URL (unshorten a link and copy it to the clipboard)
  • Search List on Google (split text by line in web searches and open in Safari)
  • Open with Opener (open URL from the clipboard in your app of choice)

News Junkies

  • Browse Top News (choose from news stories from top sources)
  • Check Twitter Explore (open Twitter trends)
  • Browse Medium Editor’s Picks (read today’s Editor’s picks from Medium)  
  • Choose from Medium Editor’s Picks (choose from the best stories featured on Medium)
  • Open Product Hunt (see the top hunts of the day)
  • Open Nuzzel Feed (see trending stories your friends share)

Learn Something New

  • Word of the Day (get Merriam-Webster’s word of the day)
  • Image of the Day (show the NASA Image of the day)
  • Translate Selection (select text, share and translate it)
  • Watch Vsauce on Youtube (learn something new about our amazing world)

Collaborate Better

  • Share Availability (enter a date, get your free time from the calendar and share it)
  • Daily Standup (plan today’s tasks and keep tabs on upcoming meetings)
  • Combine Screenshots and Share (stitch a few recent screenshots side-by-side in one image)
  • Zip and Email (compress files into a zip file and email it)
  • Upload last Photo (uploads your latest photo to Dropbox and copies the link)
  • Send Receipt (sends your receipts via email)
  • Running Late (let people know you’re running late to an event)
  • Share File Nearby (share a file via AirDrop)

Use your clipboard

  • Clean up clipboard (edit the current clipboard, then copy contents)
  • Copy across devices (take advantage of the Universal Clipboard across devices) 
  • Dictate to Clipboard (capture your words and copy them to the Universal Clipboard)
  • Adjust Clipboard (edit the current clipboard, then copy contents)
  • Open clipboard URL (open copied link in Safari)
  • Copy Apple Music link (Copy a link to the current song)
  • Copy Locally (keep your clipboard only on the current device)
  • Copy Instagram Hashtags (choose your favorite hashtags and copy to the clipboard)
  • Self-destructing clipboard (clipboard self-destructs in 6 minutes)
  • Clear All Clipboards (clear the contents of the Universal Clipboard)

Writer’s Toolbox

  • Attach Note to Ulysses Sheet (add text as a note attached to a sheet)
  • Translate Text (type some text and translate to the language of your choosing)
  • Translate Selected Text (translate the selected part of a web page)
  • Clipboard Markdown to Notes (convert markdown copied to the clipboard into rich text in Notes)
  • Clip Article to Notes (get articles contents and save it in Apple Notes for later)
  • Append to Ulysses Sheet (place clipboard at the end of a sheet)
  • Look Up Word in Terminology (open the direct result of a word in Terminology)
  • Share Article to Bear (save URL as a new note in Bear)
  • Dictate to Bear (dictate body and title to a new note in Bear)
  • Add as Bear Note (create a new note from input and copy a link to it in Bear)
  • Dictate and Share (dictate what you’d like to share and send it)
  • Define Word (get the dictionary definition from the input or clipboard)
  • Check Spelling (take the text from input and check the spelling)

ALL THE GIFs!

  • Convert Photos to GIF (pick your photos and turn them into a GIF)
  • Pronounce GIF (GIF or JIF, let Siri decide)
  • Shoot a GIF (create an animated GIF by shooting photos)
  • Video to GIF (make an animated GIF from a video)
  • Search GIPHY and Share (search the top GIF site)

Evernote

  • Quick Save Link (store a link in Evernote)
  • Quick Save Clipboard (save the clipboard contents to Evernote)
  • Add New Note From Watch (Dictate a note using Apple Watch and save it in Evernote) 
  • Clipboard to Evernote (creates a new note in Evernote with the contents of your clipboard)
  • Share Article to Evernote (extracts an article from the clipboard and saves it to Evernote)
  • Recording to Evernote (make a new recording and store it in Evernote)
  • Resize Screenshot for Evernote (shrink a screenshot by 25%, 50%, or 75% and prepend it to a note in Evernote)
  • Prepend to Note (choose notebook and note and add information to the beginning of the note)
  • Append to Note (choose notebook and note and add information to the end of the note)
  • Save A Location (find a venue and save its information to Evernote)
  • Share Evernote Link (get a link to one of your Evernote notes and copy it to the clipboard)
  • Explore Evernote Items (view the Shortcuts Content graph of a note)
  • Save Nearby Location (take the information from a nearby venue and save it to Evernote

What are Shortcuts Actions?

Once, we start to create a Shortcut, we see a big “Add Action” button. Shortcuts actions are the building blocks of Shortcuts.

There are two ways to find an action:

  1. We can browse the different action groups, which is great for beginners.
  2. Or, once we know the action names, we can type them into the search bar and pick them from the results.

Pro-Tip: Rather than tapping on the action to append it to the end of your shortcut, it might be more convenient to tap and hold the action and place it where you need it in the shortcut.

Let’s have a look at the different groups of actions:

  • Apps: Apple and third-party apps, which support Shortcuts. When you tap on an app, you’ll see the actions which it has donated to Siri. Tapping on the action adds it to your Shortcut.
  • Favorites: Your favorite actions will appear here.
  • Scripting: Many important Shortcut actions which help us to open apps, control the flow of our shortcut, memorize data in dictionaries and variables, and run Shortcuts:
    • Open App
    • Control the Flow of our Shortcut: Menu options, If/Then, Repeat, Wait.
    • Device actions: Battery level, device details, appearance, Bluetooth, brightness, Do not Disturb, flashlight, low power mode, playback destination and volume
    • Dictionaries, Variables
    • Files, Items, Lists
    • Math, Numbers, Measurements
    • Network, Notifications
    • Shortcuts
  • Media: Includes actions to access all the media on your devices:
    • Camera, Audio
    • Image Editing, GIFs
    • iTunes Store, App Store
    • Music, Playback, Playlists, Podcasts, Up Next
    • Video, Photos, Images
  • Location: Contains actions related to locations and weather
    • GPS, Addresses, Maps, Ride, Routing
    • Weather
  • Documents: Offers Actions for text, files, and more:
    • Archive, Books
    • Notes, Editing, Previewing
    • Files, FileStorage, Printing
    • QR Codes
    • Text, Rich Text, Text Editing
    • Translation
    • Control other apps: Bear, Drafts, Evernote, GoodReader, and Ulysses
  • Sharing: contains actions to share your content in different ways:
    • System, Clipboard
    • Messaging, Photos, Notes
    • Social Media
  • Web: Offers actions for web resources:
    • Articles, RSS, URLs
    • Web Requests, Safari
    • Giphy, Instapaper, Overcast, Pinboard & Pocket

Pro-Tip: Once you get used to the action names, it’s much faster to find them through the search bar.

What are Personal Automations?

Personal Automations

When creating an Automation in the Shortcuts app, we have two choices. Home Automation will create an HomeKit automation, like in the Home app, which will run from our home hub. A personal automation will run from our iOS device.

Personal Automations can be activated through Events:

  • By the time of day, sunrise or sunset,
  • When an alarm is snoozed or stopped,
  • Sleep-related, e.g. when the wind down starts (new in iOS 14)
  • When someone sends us an email (new in iOS 14)
  • When someone sends us a message (new in iOS 14)
  • and when an Apple Watch workout starts or stops.

Or, when we Travel:

  • When we arrive/leave a location,
  • Before we commute,
  • When we connect or disconnect to CarPlay.

But also based on our System Settings, when:

Personal Automations 2/2
  • Connecting to a specific Wi-Fi,
  • Connecting to a specific Bluetooth device (e.g. AirPods),
  • Holding our iPhone close to a NFC tag (from iPhone Xs on),
  • Opening an app,
  • Closing an app (new in iOS 14)
  • Turning Airplane Mode on/off,
  • Turning Do Not Disturb on/off,
  • Low Power Mode is turned on/off,
  • the battery level rises above or falls below a certain percentage (new in iOS 14)
  • dis/connecting the iPhone from the charger (new in iOS 14)

How to create a Shortcut

There’s a bunch of Shortcuts examples throughout our Siri posts, and here they are, sorted by difficulty:

How-To Create Siri HomeKit Scenes and Shortcuts: Immersive Storytelling with Ambient Scenes & Sounds
How-To: "Hey Siri, start my Music Quiz!" - How to create your own music game with Shortcuts

Conclusion

It’s easy to overlook the powerful features of the preinstalled Apple Shortcuts app on our iPhones and iPads. Together with the Home app it opens up amazing possibilities to automate and personalize our Siri experience.

iOS 14 has brought us quite some new features in HomeKit and the Shortcuts app, with local face recognition for HomeKit Secure Video and Shortcuts on Apple Watch being our favorites.

We hope this overview was a helpful orientation and inspires you to explore the Apple Shortcuts Gallery and create your own Shortcuts. 

Happy HomeKit & Shortcuts!

P.S. You can find more Siri posts here: Apple Siri
P.P.S You can find helpful Apple resources below. 

More Information from Apple

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1 COMMENT

  1. BIG UPDATE: iOS 14 and what’s new in the Home and Shortcuts app, plus the full list of all Apple Gallery Shortcuts!
    Updated post date.

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