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Make Siri More Useful with Custom Shortcuts

When Siri first appeared on the iPhone 4S, we were in awe. It sounded so natural and really understood almost everything you said.

Because, well, well, Alexa and the unnamed Google Assistant have overtaken Siri in terms of practical utility. However, thanks to iOS 12, Siri now has a very powerful set of features that allow you to customize integration with third-party apps.

It’s called Siri Shortcuts and with it you can create what is essentially a macro where a custom voice command triggers a series of actions.

Get the app

Shortcuts may not be installed on your iOS device, at least they were missing on our iPad Pro. This is a small problem that can be easily solved by looking at the App Store. This is the app you are looking for.

Once installed, open the app so we can start creating a shortcut.

Browse the gallery

When you open the app, you will notice that there are two main sections. Library and Gallery .

The library is where you will find active shortcuts that you have created or downloaded from the gallery. As you can see, a gallery is a collection of shortcuts already created for you.

It’s always a good idea to first check the gallery for a shortcut that does what you want it to do. Even a closely spaced shortcut is a good thing because it is easier to customize than to create from scratch.

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to find a shortcut in the gallery, move it to our library, and then see how it was created to learn how to create our own shortcut.

Grab a shortcut from the gallery

After opening the app, tap Gallery. You will see this set of shortcuts.

We are going to use the Read Aloud shortcut for demonstration purposes. So enter this into the search bar.

Click on the shortcut and then click on Get Shortcut

Now go to the library and click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the shortcut.

You can see the structure of the shortcut here. To do it, you drag functions from the left to the section on the right. Here we can change the shortcut to suit our needs, but we’re going to leave it as it is.

When you create a shortcut from scratch, the only difference is that the right-hand section will be empty, and it’s up to you which building blocks you want to use.

Although the shortcut is now in your library, it doesn’t work with Siri yet. To add it to Siri, you need to tap the slider icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Then you will see this screen.

Just click Add to Siri and you will be taken here.

As you can see, Siri offers a phrase to activate this shortcut, but you can say whatever you want. All that remains is to press the red record button and record the phrase. If you’re happy with that, confirm it and you’re done!

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