While browsing the Internet, I ran across an interesting article about a Siri Shortcut. Being a former Apple software engineer, I tend to keep an eye out for news articles about Siri or HomeKit. And for the first time in a while, I see a specific Siri Shortcut in the news.
As a brief overview, Shortcuts is an App that Apple released back in 2018. It allows you to complete a group of actions on your iPhone with the click of a button or by a Siri command. With Shortcuts, you’re able to add powerful functionality to your device that you can control and customize however you’d like, and these features can be as simple or as complex as you make them.
For more information, check out the unveiling of Shortcuts via WWDC Keynote from 2018. I haven’t heard much about Shortcuts since it was first announced, so I’m excited to see cool uses for it now . In particular, news sites are talking about the Shortcut that enables the Siri command: “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over.” Let’s cover what this Shortcut does, how you can get it, and how you can even extend it.
What Does “I’m Getting Pulled Over” Do?
When you use the command “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over,” what happens? Maybe a better question is: what do you think should happen? With Shortcuts, you can do a ton of different customizable actions.
This particular Shortcut does a series of a few things, like tweak your volume and screen brightness and start a video.
Here are the detailed steps of what Siri does when given the command:
- Turns on Do Not Disturb, so you don’t get messages or notification sounds
- Set’s the volume to 0
- Dims the screen
- Sends a text message to a delegated contact with your location and a message saying you’re getting pulled over
- Starts a video with your front-facing camera
Then, when you stop the video, Siri sends the video to the same delegated contact and uploads the video to the cloud. Finally, your volume and brightness settings are reset, and Do Not Disturb is turned off.
Phew! This Shortcut does quite a bit and showcases the overall power behind Shortcuts with the ability to add many features. For instance, this Shortcut changes basic settings, like your volume, while also interacting with your camera where Siri ensures your video gets uploaded to the right place in case your phone gets taken from you.
Want to get this command working for your iPhone? The first step is with installing it.
How You Can Get This Shortcut
Here’s what you need to do to in order to get this Shortcut running on your iPhone:
- Install the Shortcuts App
- Go to the Settings App
- Tap on Shortcuts
- Enable “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts”
- If you’re uneasy with this step, keep in mind you can disable this after installing this Shortcut. You’ll also be able to review all the actions this Shortcut takes to ensure nothing funny is going on.
- Tap on this Shortcuts Link
You should see then this page on your iPhone after clicking the link:
Tap “Get Shortcut.” You’ll then be asked to add a contact (or a few contacts) that you want to send your info to when you’re getting pulled over.
This is what the Shortcut looks like after you’ve added it in the Shortcut App. Now you can use the command: “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over.” I recommend reading through the action list to get more familiar with what it does. You should also test it a few times to make sure it works like you expect.
But all of this said, what’s truly great about Shortcuts is if you think this shortcut should do more than the above steps, you can add it yourself—and easily. After you’ve installed the Shortcut, you’re free to modify it however you like.
How You Can Make This Shortcut Even Better
Here’s where things get really fun. At this point after installing the Shortcut, you can open it and change it however you see fit, like removing actions or adding new ones.
To change the shortcut, open the Shortcuts app and click the “…” on the “I’m getting pulled over shortcut”. You should see something like this, where you can see all the actions the Shortcut performs:
From here, you can now search and add new actions. Here’s a few ideas for changes:
- Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth, ensuring your battery doesn’t die while you are recording a video
- Change the video to a voice memo instead where you only pick up audio
If I search for WiFi, you see these options:
If you click on “Set Wifi,” you’ll see a new action added to the button of the shortcut. You’ll want to add this action twice to the shortcut. One to turn Wifi off, and one to turn Wifi back on at the end of the shortcut. Here’s where I put the “turn off” action:
Finally, make sure you add another “Set Wifi” action that turns Wifi back on after the Shortcut is completed.
And there you have it! We made the shortcut just a bit better. But the customization doesn’t have to stop here. The possibilities are quite endless with what you can add to this Shortcut. Feel free to play around with it. That’s really what Shortcuts are all about.
A big hat tip goes to Robert Petersen who is this Shortcut’s creator. Head on over to Reddit to see his original post on the Shortcut. Or, if you’re wanting to learn more about what Siri can do, check out my Siri Guide: Keeping Up With Siri.