Automations are undoubtedly fun to have on your phone. Having your phone run actions for you on its own, who wouldn’t love that? And now, with iOS 14, automation can be truly automated and run seamlessly without having to ask the user for an action.

You can have automation based on time, location, when you receive an email, or a message, open an app, connect your phone to the charger, and much more. But if you’ve never used automation before, it can seem a bit daunting. We can assure you they are not daunting and rather easy to use once you get the hang of it. Here’s a basic rundown of how to use and set up a personal automation on your iPhone.

Using Automation in iOS 14

To use automation, open the Shortcuts app, and tap on the ‘Automation’ tab on the navigation menu at the bottom of the screen.

Then, tap on the ‘Create Personal Automation’ button to create an automation for your iPhone.

Then, on the next screen, select the type of automation you want to create. You can create automation for:

  • A particular time of day
  • When you snooze or stop your alarm
  • When you arrive or leave a place (based on location alone, or a combination of location and time)
  • Before you commute
  • When your phone connects or disconnects to CarPlay
  • When you receive an email or a message
  • Your iPhone connects to a certain network or a Bluetooth device
  • When you open or close an app
  • The Airplane, Sleep, Low Power or Do Not Disturb Mode is turned on or off
  • When Battery Level equals, rises, or falls below a certain number
  • Or, when your iPhone connects or disconnects to power

Tap on the one you want. For the sake of this guide, let’s take the example of the automation where you want to journal at a particular time every single day. You can automate your phone to open the journaling app you use. Tap on ‘Time of Day’ to create the automation.

Now, configure the automation, i.e., details regarding when it should run. You can either select pre-defined times like Sunrise and Sunset or specify the time yourself. Also, select the frequency of the automation. You can select from options like ‘Daily’, ‘Weekly’, or ‘Monthly’. Here, we’ve configured the automation to run daily at 11:00 PM. Then, tap ‘Next’.

Now, specify what you would like the automation to do when it runs. Tap on ‘Add Action’.

Then, enter ‘Open App’ in the search box and select the option with the colorful boxes as the icon.

The Scripting action for Opening an app would be added. Tap on ‘Choose’ to select the journaling app you’d like it to open.

Then, search for the app and add it. I like to use the native Notes app for all my journaling needs, so I’ve chosen that. You can select any App Store app you wish. Finally, tap on ‘Next’.

Now, if you want the automation to run on its own, turn off the toggle for ‘Ask Before Running’. This step is essential for any automation you wish should run truly automatically on your phone. But if you do want the choice to be able to select every day whether or not you want to run it, then keep the toggle on.

Finally, tap ‘Done’ on the upper right corner of the screen to save the automation.

You’ve successfully created your first automation that’ll run exactly when you want it to run. Now, the actions are basically what you used while creating shortcuts. So, if you’re familiar with them, you can just as easily create any automation for certain actions on your phone.

Although beware, don’t run any automation like opening an app as soon as it closes. You’ll be stuck in a vicious loop. Other than that, use them wisely and you’ll be fine. Apart from personal automation (the ones that run on your device), you can also have automations for your Home if you have a Home kit.