iOS 12's Siri Shortcuts app goes live for developers only

Posted:
in iOS
Developers can now request access to an early version of Apple's Shortcuts app, which lets iOS 12 owners create custom automations triggered through Siri.

iOS 12 Shortcuts


Access is restricted to developers only, and people accepted for testing must install the app through TestFlight. In release notes, Apple cautions that "limited actions" are currently available, and won't sync via iCloud.

In fact the Shortcuts beta has several known issues, others being that some actions won't appear when running custom shortcuts in Siri, and it can't yet open apps when a device is locked. Apple also notes that shortcuts provided to the INVoiceShortcutCenter suggested shortcuts API are not available when viewing an app's actions in Shortcuts.

Apple issued a second public beta of iOS 12 earlier on Thursday.

The promise of Shortcuts is the expansion of automation beyond HomeKit to every aspect of iOS, so long as developers enable hooks in their own titles. During Apple's WWDC keynote in June, the company used the example of a custom "I'm heading home" phrase for Siri, which automatically texted a contact with a preset message, adjusted a HomeKit thermostat, turned on a fan, presented estimated travel time, and started playing NPR. In iOS 11, this would require several separate commands.

The concept is similar to the skills and routines baked into Amazon's Alexa. To develop its own equivalent Apple bought out Workflow, which allows automations akin to Shortcuts but more limited.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    Really did not like Workflow and deleted it very shortly after installing. Wonder if Shortcuts will be the magic bullet people have been looking for, or if it's basically wallpaper to cover Siri's flaws.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 2 of 14
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 400member
    It's question to find usable workflows and ability to change habit hos you use phone and do things. 
    Inwiking complicated or simple command with Surinis big bonus. Sometimes doing things with workflow was not faster than doing it old way. And you have to remember you can do it new way. 
    It tooks me time before I found workflows that realy saved me time. 
    Like one that trigger google reverse image search right from photos or pic preview or I made simple workflow containing share action that allows me to share pic from Viber directly to pics on iCloud. Something that is not possible directly from this chat app. Expect it can do similar to other apps. 

    Shorcuts will be as useful as we made them ourselves. 
  • Reply 3 of 14
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,823member
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    cornchippatchythepirate
  • Reply 4 of 14
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 602member
    Really did not like Workflow and deleted it very shortly after installing. Wonder if Shortcuts will be the magic bullet people have been looking for, or if it's basically wallpaper to cover Siri's flaws.
    Don’t like it either, because it just doesn’t work for me. The app will hang, or crash, the widget would t work etc...

    I hope Shortcuts will work much better. 
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 5 of 14
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 602member
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    It has library so anyone can share & import someone else Shortcuts. That’s supposedly how it works. You don’t have to create one yourself. 

    How well all this will work? Who knows. And it looks like sharing isn’t working in this beta. 
  • Reply 6 of 14
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,214member
    matrix077 said:
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    It has library so anyone can share & import someone else Shortcuts. That’s supposedly how it works. You don’t have to create one yourself. 

    How well all this will work? Who knows. And it looks like sharing isn’t working in this beta. 

    Essentially, this should be akin to the Alexa Skills, right?
  • Reply 7 of 14
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 602member
    matrix077 said:
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    It has library so anyone can share & import someone else Shortcuts. That’s supposedly how it works. You don’t have to create one yourself. 

    How well all this will work? Who knows. And it looks like sharing isn’t working in this beta. 

    Essentially, this should be akin to the Alexa Skills, right?
    Yep, that you can share. 
  • Reply 8 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    matrix077 said:
    matrix077 said:
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    It has library so anyone can share & import someone else Shortcuts. That’s supposedly how it works. You don’t have to create one yourself. 

    How well all this will work? Who knows. And it looks like sharing isn’t working in this beta. 

    Essentially, this should be akin to the Alexa Skills, right?
    Yep, that you can share. 
    I can imagine all sorts of terrible things happening from lazy people sharing shortcuts with each other. Complex shortcuts could be more effective than a well-written virus.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 9 of 14
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 602member
    matrix077 said:
    matrix077 said:
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    It has library so anyone can share & import someone else Shortcuts. That’s supposedly how it works. You don’t have to create one yourself. 

    How well all this will work? Who knows. And it looks like sharing isn’t working in this beta. 

    Essentially, this should be akin to the Alexa Skills, right?
    Yep, that you can share. 
    I can imagine all sorts of terrible things happening from lazy people sharing shortcuts with each other. Complex shortcuts could be more effective than a well-written virus.
    I’d only use Shortcuts from a well trusted sources, not some dude on Twitter. 
    edited July 2018 SpamSandwichStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 14
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,019member
    matrix077 said:
    Federico Viticci is going nuts over this on social media. But then he is a heavy workflow/scripting user. I can’t see how the average iOS user is going to understand or want to spend the time creating workflows. Developers seem to be all over this but part of me wonders is this Apple just outsourcing making Siri better to users? Of course no one is forced to use it but if no one other than tech nerds who listen to ATP or Connected podcast use it what good will it be? Hopefully Apple will have a bunch of pre-built workflows that can be easily customized. Or at some point there is a workflow store similar to the Amazon skill store.





    It has library so anyone can share & import someone else Shortcuts. That’s supposedly how it works. You don’t have to create one yourself. 

    How well all this will work? Who knows. And it looks like sharing isn’t working in this beta. 

    Essentially, this should be akin to the Alexa Skills, right?

    I think this is superior to Alexa Skills. For one, since this is from Apple you have access to everything on your device (third party Apps don't have this kind of access). That makes it far more useful than Alexa could ever be on your device. Secondly, Apple is allowing developers to use this. That means all those Apps in The App Store could now have their functionality incorporated into shortcuts. The sheer scope of this goes way beyond what Alexa can do.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 11 of 14
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 307member
    SpamSandwich said:

    I can imagine all sorts of terrible things happening from lazy people sharing shortcuts with each other. Complex shortcuts could be more effective than a well-written virus.
    That will depend on what sort of functionality and permission levels are available.

    Will it be like visual basic in Windows Office with the ability to delete files and reformat your drive? Probably not.

    EDIT: Hang on! I zoomed in on that "Sexy Times" workflow screenshot. The playlist "Family"? Well, I guess that's how you get one!
    edited July 2018 cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    mknelson said:
    SpamSandwich said:

    I can imagine all sorts of terrible things happening from lazy people sharing shortcuts with each other. Complex shortcuts could be more effective than a well-written virus.
    That will depend on what sort of functionality and permission levels are available.

    Will it be like visual basic in Windows Office with the ability to delete files and reformat your drive? Probably not.

    EDIT: Hang on! I zoomed in on that "Sexy Times" workflow screenshot. The playlist "Family"? Well, I guess that's how you get one!
    There are an almost unlimited number of vectors which could be exploited by a malicious shortcut.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,241member
    I consider myself to be moderately tech capable. I tried to figure out workflows & eventually became frustrated. Maybe I’ll give it another shot when this kicks in in September.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,027member
    Really did not like Workflow and deleted it very shortly after installing. Wonder if Shortcuts will be the magic bullet people have been looking for, or if it's basically wallpaper to cover Siri's flaws.
    I actually think this is maybe the best decision they've made for a while.

    While Siri is full of flaws, I think they are primarily related to Apple's lack of knowledge in search technology. AI is going to soon be found wanting, but with something like this, Siri could actually deliver on usefulness.

    If given the choice between telling Siri to do something you have confidence will actually succeed, vs depending on AI 'smoke and mirrors' with some other device, which will you choose?
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