Top 10 shortcuts for iPhone and iPad that you might actually use

Getting Started with Shortcuts
Getting Started with Shortcuts (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

The Shortcuts app not only contains shortcuts and automations that you've created or downloaded from other users, but provides a gallery full of useful actions that you can add to your own library. With the update to Shortcuts in iOS 13, Apple and the Shortcuts team didn't just provide some token examples. The shortcuts available in the gallery range from simple actions to powerful productivity enhancers.

Here are 10 of the most useful shortcuts available in the Shortcuts app gallery.

Open App on Apple TV

Shortcuts now has the ability to interact with the Apple TV directly, from waking it up and putting it to sleep to opening specific apps. With this shortcut, you can open the specified app on a particular Apple TV when you tap the button or use Siri to invoke the shortcut. Set it for apps like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, or Disney+.

When you add the shortcut to your library, you'll go through a setup process to identify which Apple TV (if you have more than one) and which app you want to open when you run the shortcut. Both of these things can be changed later if you choose.

Set Audio Output

This lets you direct the audio output of your device upon activation. Run the shortcut to start outputting your current device's audio through your chosen source, either an AirPlay 2 speaker or active Bluetooth device.

During setup for this shortcut, you'll be asked to designate a particular audio output. After you've added the shortcut, you can edit it to choose a different device, though you can also select the Ask Each Time option if you want to be able to choose a different output source whenever you run this shortcut.

Search On

An excellent shortcut for the widget, particularly on iPadOS, this one lets you search multitude of services and search engines for your chosen term. Look something up on Google. Search for a product on Amazon. Check an Instagram hashtag. You just enter your search term, then select the service you want to use for that particular search and you'll be taken to the result in Safari.

You don't need to make any modifications to this shortcut when you add it to your library.

Create Meeting Notes

This shortcut combines Calendar, Notes, and scripting to create notes for your next meeting. When run, the shortcut will look up the next meeting on your calendar and check if you already have a note created for it. If not, it'll create a new note specifically for that meeting, complete with the meeting name and date.

You can adjust which calendar this shortcut pulls from, as well as how far in the future the shortcut should search for meetings. If it finds multiple meetings in your specified time period, multiple notes will be created.

When Do I Need To Leave By?

Use this one to estimate your travel time between two locations. Plug in two addresses that you travel between often, say your home and your office, and your shortcut's setup. When you run the shortcut, you'll be given a message with how long it should take to reach your destination, as well as the time you need to leave by in order to get there on time.

You can modify this one if you want, but it's going to be a lot of work.

Add More from Artist

A great one to use with Apple Music, this shortcut will find more from the artist behind the song you're currently listening to and add their top 10 songs to your music library.

By tapping the Show More button in the second action, you can actually change this action up quite a bit. You could search the iTunes Store by artist, album, composer, or other variable. You could change the region you search in. You could also change the number of items to be added, maybe go with the top five items instead of 10.

Open Genre Playlists

Another Apple Music shortcut, this one opens the page for a particular genre. Run the shortcut, tap your desired genre, and Music will open and take you directly to that genre's landing page in the service. From there, you'll be able to check out artists, new albums, playlists, and everything else to do with that music genre.

This shortcut utilizes deep links to Apple Music that are already present in the shortcut, so no modifications are necessary.

Share My Week In Music

This shortcut will analyze what you've listened to in the last week on Apple Music. It will then put together a collage of album art based on your listening history. After you view the collage it's put together, you can share it on Twitter, Facebook, Messages, or another service.

There aren't a lot of modifications I'd suggest for this one, but you should probably focus any you want to make to the first action, finding your music. You can add a filter, for instance to the find music parameter, choose a new sorting method instead of Random, get rid of the item limit, or choose a new item limit.

Self-Destructing Clipboard

This one is great if you don't want anyone looking through your device's clipboard on the off chance that you're away from your device. Run the shortcut and a few minutes later, your clipboard will be cleared.

With this one, the best thing to modify would be the time in between activation of the shortcut and the erasure of your clipboard. By default, the shortcut is set to clear the clipboard after six minutes, but you can easily set it to something less forgiving or more generous.

Speak Body of Article

This shortcut is great to use with the share button in Safari. Tap the share button, tap this shortcut in the menu, then get the body of the page read to you by one of the included voices in iOS and iPadOS. Because of how it's set up, this shortcut will skip reading things like title, author, and publish date when it's reading your input.

You can modify a number of aspects about how things are read back to you with this shortcut. You can change the speech rate, pitch, and language. You can also choose which voice you want the shortcut to use from a selection of five voice.

Your favorites

Do you have any favorite shortcuts from the gallery that you use regularly? Let us know in the comments.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.