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- Siri’s Shortcuts feature makes it easier for the virtual assistant to streamline tasks on your phone.
- Apple launched Shortcuts in the fall, and now a handful of new apps have announced support for the feature.
Siri has existed since the iPhone 4s debuted in 2011, but Apple’s voice-enabled virtual assistant has become much more useful in recent years.
That’s because Siri is more than just a question-and-answer machine; it learns about your iPhone usage habits and puts those observations to use proactively.
For example, Apple launched a new feature called Siri Shortcuts with its iOS 12 software this past fall, which makes it possible for Siri to make suggestions based on your usage habits and streamline tasks. A handful of companies like American Airlines, food delivery startup Caviar, and glucose monitoring system maker Dexcom recently added shortcuts to their apps, joining the thousands that Apple says already support the feature.
Shortcuts is one of several enhancements Apple has made to Siri in recent years as companies like Google and Amazon have aggressively expanded the capabilities of their own respective virtual assistants.
See below for a few useful Shortcuts and other clever ways Siri can help you save time.
Dig up old photos.
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If you’re anything like me, you have thousands upon thousands of old photos stored on your iPhone. Thankfully, Siri can help you pull up that photo from five years ago in a pinch. Just say something like: "Show me photos taken in Connecticut from 2013" to pull up photos from years ago without having to scroll, swipe, or tap.
Check your food delivery status (with certain apps).
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Thanks to Siri Shortcuts, Apple’s virtual assistant now works more closely with certain third-party apps, making it a much more worthy rival to Amazon’s Alexa. That includes the food delivery app Caviar, which now offers an option to record a phrase of your choice to check up on your order status-hands free. After placing an order, you can choose to say something like, "Where’s my food" to get an update. You can also use Siri to re-order dishes you’ve purchased through Caviar in the past.
Launch the camera.
It’s not always convenient to stop what you’re doing, navigate back to the home screen, and tap the camera icon. Instead, you can just say, "Hey Siri, take a picture," to jump right into the camera app. If you’re using an iPhone 6 or older, your phone will need to be plugged into a power source in order to use Siri hands-free — meaning you’ll have to hold the home button down until Siri activates.
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