How to create and use automations in Shortcuts on iPhone and iPad

Cupertino, October 16, 2019

The automations are a new addition to the range of shortcuts with iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. The automations are essentially shortcuts with only one specific trigger. If a standard shortcut can be enabled with Siri, by pressing its button in the application or via the widget, an automation has an activation method.

Automation can be triggered by something like the time of day, the arrival or departure of a place, the activation of low power mode, etc. Once the condition is met, the automation runs or displays a notification to allow you to start running it. If you have a lot of recurring tasks or habits (you may be playing the same Apple Music playlist when you get in the car), the automations may be particularly useful.

Here's what you need to know about automations and how to use them.

Automation triggers

Automation triggers are divided into three categories: Events, Travel, and Settings. Each trigger is also what I call "active" or "passive" in nature. An active trigger is the result of a deliberate action by a user, for example, you plug your iPhone into your CarPlay compatible vehicle or you tap on an NFC tag. At one point, you deliberately did something to or with your iPhone to start your automation.

A passive trigger, such as the time of day or the arrival or the exit of a place, is a trigger for which you are not actively doing something on or with your phone. For example, you can leave a slot with your iPhone in your pocket, but your phone is passive at that time. Paradoxically, these automatisms with this type of trigger ultimately require your active consent. When their trigger is activated, you receive a notification. Tap this notification to display a "Run" button. Press it and your automation will run.

Here's how the different categories of automation triggers break down.


  • Time of day: A passive trigger that activates at a certain time of day, possibly a day or particular days of the week.
  • Alarm: An active trigger that starts when you stop a designated alarm (or any other) on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Apple Watch Workout: An active trigger that launches automation when you start a workout on your Apple Watch.


  • Arrive: a passive trigger to arrive at a place.
  • Exit: a passive trigger to leave a place.
  • Before I Commute: A passive trigger that can be configured to activate before or during your usual commute time to your home or workplace.
  • CarPlay: An active trigger that starts your automation when you successfully connect to CarPlay.


  • Airplane Mode: An active trigger that starts your automation when you turn airplane mode on or off.
  • Wi-Fi: A passive trigger that activates when you join a particular Wi-Fi network, such as your home network.
  • Bluetooth: A passive trigger that activates when you connect to a specific Bluetooth accessory such as AirPods.
  • Do not disturb: An active trigger that starts when you enable or disable Do Not Disturb.
  • Low Power Mode: An active trigger that starts when you enable or disable low power mode.
  • NFC: An active trigger that starts your automation when you press a NFC tag or sticker.
  • Open application: An active trigger that starts your automation when you open an application.

How to create a shortcut automation

If you have already created your own shortcuts, building an automation is not so different. With the exception of the beginning, when you choose your trigger, creating an automation is the same as creating a shortcut, and an automation can do anything that a standard shortcut can make.

How to create a shortcut

For example, we will build a simple automation that works with an NFC tag. An NFC tag or sticker is usually a small object or sticker with an integrated digital signature that your iPhone recognizes when you bring it near a tag. In the case of automating shortcuts, your iPhone reads the information identifying the sticker or tag in question, then performs an action based on the tag you read. In short, you configure your automation by analyzing a particular NFC tag, and then when you tap your iPhone for that tag, your automation runs.

You can buy NFC labels and stickers on Amazon and they are often packaged at affordable prices. For use with shortcuts, all NFC stickers will do the trick. I use them.

NFC works with the iPhone X or later.

Since we use NFC, the beginning of the instructions will be specific enough for that, but the configuration of any trigger is pretty self-explanatory once you've started.

  1. Open shortcuts on your iPhone.
  2. Press the Automating tongue.
  3. If you already have other automations, press the button + button.

  4. Tap Create a personal automation.
  5. Press the trigger you want to use. In this example, we will press NFC.
  6. Tap Analysis sure NFC Tag.

    Tap Create personal automation

  7. Scan your NFC tag with your iPhone.
  8. Name your NFC tag.
  9. Tap D & # 39; agreement. After that, the instructions generally apply to all automations.

    Scan tag, name tag, press OK

  10. Tap Next.
  11. Tap Add an action.
  12. Tap one of the The options presented to you, such as apps, favorites, location, suggestion, or search for the action you want to use.

    Tap Next, tap Add Action, tap options

  13. Press the action you want to add to your automation.
  14. Tap on a blue parameter to change it.
  15. Select a option for your parameter.

    Tap action, tap parameter, tap option

  16. Tap Show more if it is available.
  17. Tap on settings or buttons to change them.
  18. Press the + if you want to continue adding actions to your shortcut.

    Tap View more, tap settings, tap +

  19. Tap Next when you finish adding actions.
  20. Press the switch for Ask before running (if available) on the gray "off" position if you want this automation to run without further input once you have triggered it.

    Press Next, press switch

  21. Tap Do not ask if you tapped on to turn off.
  22. Tap Completed.

    Tap Do not ask, tap Done

Once you have created your automation, its use is simply to wait until its trigger is activated. Whether you use an NFC tag, connect your iPhone to a CarPlay unit, or wait for a specific time, once the trigger condition is complete, your automation will start or send you a notification asking for your approval.

How to create a HomeKit automation

In addition to shortcut automations, the Shortcuts app also allows you to configure HomeKit-specific automations from within the application. This feature is identical to the one you find in the Home application and works in exactly the same way. In the application of shortcuts, instead of touching Create a personal automation, instead, press Create a home automation.

How to configure home automation on iOS and iPadOS


If you have questions about setting up automation in Shortcuts, ask for it in the comments.

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