At WWDC 2018, Apple announced great new improvements to Siri. Although, it’s still no match for Google Assistant’s crazy AI abilities called Google Duplex. Siri is at-least catching up (and improving at) with some of the stuff Google Assistant could do for a while now.

Apple introduced new Shortcuts feature for Siri which lets users give a short command to Siri to perform a rather long list of actions. For example, you can program a Siri shortcut called “Order my groceries” which results in Siri doing a series of activities such as going through your usual Grocery list, order it online, and then finally give you a notification about the finished job.

Siri Shortcuts automates app actions for you. And it’s a handy feature. If you’re already running iOS 12 on your iPhone or iPad and are looking forward to using Siri Shortcuts, below is how you can begin using the feature.

At the keynote, Apple mentioned a new Shortcuts app for creating shortcuts for Siri. The app isn’t available to download yet on the App Store, and it doesn’t come bundled with the iOS 12 developer beta. But you can create and add Siri Shortcuts from the Settings app on your iOS device.

How to add Shortcuts to Siri

  1. Go to Settings » Siri & Search.
  2. Under Shortcuts section your recent activities on the device will be listed.
  3. Tap More Shortcuts to see the full list of your activities that can be converted into a Siri Shortcuts.
  4. Select an activity for which you’d like to create a shortcut.
    └ For this example, I’ll select the WhatsApp shortcut to send a WhatsApp message to my Wife (Dimple).

  5. On the next screen, tap on the record button and speak your personalized command for the Shortcut.
  6. Verify your Shortcut voice command on the next screen, and tap Done on the top-right corner.

Once your shortcut is created. Call Siri, and give it your shortcut voice command, followed by a context. It’ll immediately complete the task you set it up for.

How to use Siri Shortcuts

  1. Press and hold the Home button or Side button (on iPhone X) to bring up Siri.
  2. Give it your shortcut voice command, followed by a context for the activity.
    • For example, I added a WhatsApp shortcut to send a WhatsApp Message to Dimple. So I’ll call Siri and say “Message Dimple, I’ll be late for dinner tonight”.
    • For the above command, Siri will send a WhatsApp message to Dimple with the context “I’ll be late for dinner tonight”.

How Siri shortcuts helped here is in a way that now I can use WhatsApp as my default messaging app for sending messages to my Wife while using Siri. Without the WhatsApp shortcut, I’d have to say “Send a WhatsApp message to Dimple…”. Now with the Shortcuts, I can sound more natural and tell Siri to “Message Dimple…”, as it’ll select WhatsApp as the default app for sending the message.

This is probably a very minor use of Siri Shortcuts we demonstrated in this example, but you can do a lot more with it.

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