App of the Month: Shortcut

  • App of the Month
  • Technology
Written by: Connor Mackey '19


Siri is a powerful tool that we have all been using for a while. It made its debut back in October of 2011 along with the iPhone 4s and since has become a staple of modern Apple devices. But while it has been great at accomplishing simple tasks, Siri has lacked the ability to execute complex commands…until now.

Alongside iOS 12, Apple also released a new app called Shortcuts, which can be found in the App Store. Apple describes Shortcuts as providing a, “much faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri.” Essentially, Shortcuts compiles multi-step actions into a single tap. So, for example, you can create a shortcut to do something like turn up the thermostat at home using the Nest app, text your roommate that you're on the way with Messages, and open up directions to home in the Maps app, all by saying, “Hey Siri. I’m going home.”

Apple already provides a multitude of pre-made shortcuts that you can easily add by browsing the app. You can also create your own shortcuts. If you choose to do this, you’ll have full control over a shortcut’s “actions,” which are the steps necessary to perform a shortcut. Additionally, users have the ability to control some of a shortcut’s more specific features, such as design, name, and more. It’s a great way to fully customize the shortcuts you create, which you can also share with others.

Apple is really pushing Siri as a big part of the Shortcuts app, but you don’t need to use the assistant to take advantage of the new service. However, speaking directly to Siri is the quickest way to put things in motion, so your relationship with Apple’s AI could be about to change.