There are 76.45% of Android users vs 22.22% of iOS users in Malaysia (1). Most Malaysians are probably more familiar with Google Assistant and may lack exposure to the strength of Siri.
When I transitioned from Android to iOS, I had to relearn the ways I am utilizing my phone’s virtual assistant. My personal finding is that Siri has more privilege to execute commands, while Google Assistant is great for natural human-like responses from search results.
Recently I explored the Shortcuts app and I realised that this app is a powerful enhancement to Siri. Shortcuts app can be used to extend Siri’s capability because Siri will execute your shortcuts by saying the shortcut’s name.
Imagine that you would routinely change your phone’s settings before bedtime. Maybe you would reduce screen brightness, silent your phone and turn off Bluetooth. All these steps can be condensed into a single call to Siri, “Hey Siri, I’m going to bed”.
You can also use Shortcuts to perform actions that were not readily available in apps, like sending Whatsapp messages to someone that is not part of your contact list. The possibilities go on and on…
Scripting allows your shortcuts to work dynamically, providing you with input boxes or list options for different conditions.
One of the best ways to learn Shortcuts scripting would be to explore ready-made Shortcuts under the Gallery section. Find some relevant Shortcuts, add them to your device and edit them to your liking!
Shortcuts created on your iOS device are synchronised across your other Apple devices, including Apple Watch.
For the latest iOS 14 update, you’ll be able to add a widget on your home screen. Keep in mind that this is only available for iPhones on iOS 14, which means if you’re on older iOS versions or have an iPad, this will not work. The shortcuts app can function as an alternative for you to build widgets if your iOS does not have the widget extension built in. To know how to make your own widgets on Shortcuts, follow these steps:
On your iOS or iPadOS device, touch and hold the background of the Home Screen until the apps begin to jiggle. Then, tap on “+” at the top right corner.
Next, scroll down and tap Siri Suggestions.
Swipe to choose Shortcut Suggestions. Keep swiping to choose one, two, or four suggested shortcuts based on your usage patterns.
Tap Add Widget, then tap Done. Your Shortcuts widget will appear on your Home Screen!
If you ever doubted Siri’s prowess, do try the Shortcuts app. It may even impress long-term Google Assistant users, just like how Siri now impresses me.
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