How to customize pre-made Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad

Launched in the fall of 2018 alongside iOS 12, Apple's Shortcuts app allows users to build multi-step actions that can be triggered with the tap of a button or a custom Siri command. Shortcuts can be built using functions of iOS itself, or those donated by third-party apps.

But you can also download pre-made Shortcuts, including those created by the Shortcuts team that reside in the app's Gallery section, or those built and shared by other Shortcuts users, which can be downloaded from the web. But if you find that these pre-made Shortcuts need either a tweak or a major addition to suit your needs, it's easy enough to modify them for your purposes.

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Here's what you need to know about modifying existing Shortcuts on your iPhone or iPad.

How to add a pre-made Shortcut to your library on iPhone and iPad

Shortcuts can be added from the Shortcuts app Gallery (the right-hand tab in the Shortcuts app, as well as from links in Safari or in other apps. Our example will come from the Shortcuts Gallery.

  1. Tap on a Shortcut that you want to add from the Gallery.
  2. Optionally, tap Show Actions to view the individual actions that the Shortcut will take.
  3. Tap Get Shortcut to add the Shortcut to your library.

    Tap on desired Shortcut, tap Show Actions tap Get Shortcut

Note: to add a Shortcut from a link on the web, the only extra step here is that you'll tap the link for the Shortcut and automatically be taken to the gallery. All other steps are the same.

How to customize pre-made Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad

  1. Open Shortcuts on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the ... icon in the top-right corner of the Shortcut you want to customize.
  3. Change parameters in the existing elements of the Shortcut as you need to.

    Open Shortcuts, tap ..., Change parameters

  4. Swipe up on the Search bar to see a list of suggested elements that you can add to your Shortcut.
  5. Tap on an element from the list that you want to add.
  6. Tap the Search bar to view the list of Content Types and Apps that can add new elements to your Shortcut.

    Swipe up on search bar, tap element, tap Search bar

  7. Tap on a content type such as Calendar, Location, or Music if you want to add one of those to your Shortcut.
  8. Tap on an app if you want to bring in a particular app's capabilities to your Shortcut.
  9. Tap the Settings button on the upper-right side of the screen (looks like two switches and sits just under Done).

    Tap content type, tap app, tap Settings

  10. Tap Name to enter a new name for the Shortcut
  11. Tap Icon to select or create a new icon for your Shortcut.
  12. Tap Add to Siri to create a custom Siri phrase for activation of your Shortcut.

    Tap Name, tap Icon, tap Add to Siri

  13. Tap Done.
  14. Tap Done when you've modified your Shortcut to fit your needs.

    Tap Done, tap Done

If you want more information about adding a custom Siri command, check out Matthew Cassinelli's excellent write up on the subject.

The Add to Siri button

Questions

If you have any questions about customizing Shortcuts, let us know in the comments.

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