Apple8217;s virtual assistant Siri is about to get a lot more useful with the release of iOS 12. Called Siri Shortcuts, the feature will help you assign custom voice phrases to apps so you can quickly get to the things you need.
Siri will also suggest an action at just the time you need it, called Siri Suggestions. Late for a restaurant booking? Siri will suggest you call the restaurant. Have a coffee from Starbucks every morning at the same time? Siri will offer to order it for you.
Siri Shortcuts is a new feature within iOS 12 that lets you call upon Apple8217;s smart assistant to make it quicker and easier to access information within apps using a custom phrase. Siri will also make suggestions for you based on things you normally do, calendar appointments you have or apps that require action.
Siri Shortcuts that use third-party apps require developers to have implemented them in their apps using the new Shortcuts API. Apple demonstrated the technology at its WWDC 2018 developer event so now that iOS 12 is about to launch many developers will have implemented them.
All of the intelligence is worked out locally on your device rather than being sent to Apple server.
Apple used Tile as an example during the first demo of Siri Shortcuts. When you open the Tile app, you get a button that says 8220;Add to Siri8221;. Click this and then record a custom phrase, such as 8220;I lost my keys8221; and you8217;re done. Now, when you activate Siri, you just have to speak your phrase and Siri will automatically begin ringing the Tile connected to your keys.
Because Siri is baked into iOS, it knows your calendar events, including any meetings you have at work. Siri can also know that you8217;re running late for work, based on your location and what time your meeting starts. If it detects something like this, it will now automatically suggest you send a message to the organiser of the meeting telling them you8217;ll be late, or if possible, will suggest you call into the meeting.
Siri already learns your habits and will offer navigation directions based on places it knows you regularly visit. That capability is improved with Shortcuts and iOS 12. For example, it can learn that you visit the same coffee shop every morning on the way to work and, if the shop supports it, you can pre-order your drink before you arrive. Siri will learn this and automatically suggest you order your usual before you leave the house.
- What are Animoji? How to create and use Apple8217;s animated emoji
Apple also announced a new Shortcuts app, that enables you to create your own shortcuts. If you know about IFTT (If This Then That) you know that it enables you to create mini programs 8211; an output based on an input called a recipe. For example, you want to receive a reminder about something when you get to work. So in this instance, your phone will know when you get to work based on location.
The Shortcuts app lets you create recipes for various apps, based on different scenarios. If you8217;re going home from work, you can tell Siri 8220;Heading Home8221; 8211; again, this is a custom phrase 8211; and it will then activate the shortcut you created.
This can include getting navigation directions to home based on your current location, sending a message to your mum or roommate telling them you8217;re on your way and it can even adjust the temperature of a HomeKit-enabled thermostat so your home will be nice and toasty when you get in.
The Shortcuts app comes with over 300 suggestions to get started in the Gallery, while there8217;s an Editor to add or modify your Shortcut. You can also combine several Siri Shortcuts into a single 8220;multistep workflow8221; as Apple calls them.
Siri Shortcuts will also appear in the Siri watch face on the Apple Watch, based on what time of day it is and which Shortcuts it thinks you need at the time.