Program Notes iOS Shortcuts

Shortcuts app

Shortcuts in iOS 12 lets you automate actions on your iPhone and iPad. First, download the Shortcut app from the AppStore. The user guide from Apple support is very good with a table of contents that can be expanded to get more information.

You can trigger your Shortcuts with Siri. You can use a single action to get the weather or multiple actions to do more actions at the same time.

New Shortcuts

To find new Shortcuts in Apple’s Gallery, do this:

  • Launch the Shortcuts app on your device.
  • Tap Gallery
  • Look through the lists, or search for what you’re trying to accomplish. There may already be a Shortcut for you.

Make A Shortcut

Here is how to make your first shortcut.

  • Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad
  • Tap Siri & Search
  • If you see a suggestion you want to automate, tap it. If not, tap All Shortcuts to see a much longer list.



If you see a shortcut you want to install do the following:

  • Select the Shortcut you want to use.
  • Tap the red Record button to teach Siri what to listen for when you want the action to happen.
  • Tap Done to finish up your Siri Shortcut.


Gallery of Shortcuts

The Gallery will offer you categories of premade Shortcuts to try. Tap on the Shortcut to view it and tap Show Actions to see how it is built. This is a great way to see what types of actions are available.

For many more examples of Shortcuts, there is a website with a Gallery of Shortcuts.

Shortcuts in Third-Party Apps

You have many applications that can use Shortcuts. Here is a list of apps that support Shortcuts. Many of your favorite apps will offer support. Many more will be added as developers add that feature to their apps.

Adding Third-Party Apps to Shortcuts

You must enable the Shortcuts button in the Share sheet of another app to allow shortcuts to run. Open the app and find the Share icon.

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 7.27.25 PM.png

When the Share screen opens, look in the second row of options and find More. If you don’t see it right away, swipe left until it appears.


In the list that appears, turn on Shortcuts and tap Done. A Shortcut button will now appear in the bottom row of the share sheet.

If you are a visual learner try watching a video.  Here is one that may be helpful to understand Shortcuts.


Program Notes iOS 12

There are many new features that make the iOS 12 upgrade worthwhile. iOS has a new upgrade to 12.0.1. Here are some links to get more information about the new features.

Explore the multiple of videos on YouTube and find a voice you like to listen to to learn more about your device.

Apple offers a GiveBack program for older Apple products. I used it to trade in my older iPad mini and received an Apple Gift card in return. Check it out.

Apple also has a new privacy website that allows you to download data that Apple has been collecting on you. After logging in to the site with you Apple ID and password, you will see information on how you can download a copy of your data from Apple apps and services.

The new Animoji that works on iPhone X and later is fun. Here is my version of myself made with the Animoji feature in Messages.

There is an app called Bitmoji that allows you to make your own personal emoji that can be included in your Messages. It is not animated but you can use lots of customization with different text to send your greetings. Bitmoji has to be added as a keyboard.

Bitmoji image

Tech Talk America Program Notes

David A. Cox, the founder of Tech Talk America, was the speaker via FaceTime at the May 17 meeting. The streaming worked flawlessly. He brought a wealth of information as we scrambled to write down his tips and suggestions.

Here are some of his suggestions

Emergency Call: If you need to call 911 and you cannot access your phone with your hands, use the command Hey Siri, Call 911 on speakerphone. You do need to have Hey Siri activated under General>Siri & Search and hands-free activated. This command may have saved the life of the teen trapped by the seat in his van.

Medical ID: Create an emergency contact using the Health App and use it on the passcode screen if EMTs need to access your emergency contacts. Here is a How-To article.

Passwords: Always use a separate password for your email account. Cox detailed how hackers may get information from many accounts through easy to crack passwords. users are viewed as high risk since hackers know many seniors use AOL. He recommends 1Password and the video tutorial from his YouTube channel.

VPN (Virtual Private Networks): He thinks they are all scams because they do log your information and sell it even if they say they don’t.

Malwarebytes: He recommends the free Malwarebytes for removing adware and malware. The paid version will prevent adware. Stay away from MacKeeper which can create more problems. This is for MacOS computers.

Email Handling: can be used to tame your inbox by bundling emails and allowing you to unsubscribe. Caveat: was selling data to Uber last summer. Here is an article which explains the issue.

Apps and Websites to Consider:

  • Tunity (listen to audio on TV through headphones or Bluetooth speaker).
  • Gethuman (also get phone numbers for major companies that seem to bury the phone number.
  • TinyScanner
  • OneNote
  • – coupons for many major retailers and online stores.
  • B& – buy Apple products without sales tax to save a few dollars.


Questions: Are there other apps like photoshop?

Answer:  Pixalmator may be easier to use than Photoshop. Affinity also be easier to use than Photoshop

Spotify is his music streaming app of choice.

Question: What would be a good monitor to purchase?

Answer:  Samsung, Sony and LG are good. Check product recommendations on

David’s Projects

Thanks David for bringing your expertise to our Apple User Group.

Q & A Topics

The User Group covered a lot of ground during the last meeting. A key topic was understanding the difference between various passwords.

  • Passcode – to get into the iPhone or iPad
  • Apple ID – username and password needed to download APPS from the APP store
  • Email – separate username and password to access email

Password managers were suggested such as 1Password and Dashlane.


February Program Notes

The informal sessions are very popular with many questions and hopefully, new learning takes place. We had discussion about tips for low vision users after the leader showed how to have the iPad speak the screen selection including the Kindle app.

Here are links to some of the topics.

iPad/iPhone Speak Selection

Low Visison on the iPad

iOS Apps Developed Specifically for Blind or Low Vision Users

YouTube search Low Vision on iPad 

Keyboard and Gestures on iOS

Marie Skane brought her teaching skills to the January meeting demonstrating gestures and the keyboard for iPads and iPhones. She shared her notes for the website.

Control keyboard settings: Click:  Settings, General, keyboard Turn on/off options such as spell-check, predictive text, etc.

Access an onscreen keyboard: single click in any search box, or “reply” in mail, or “message” and a keyboard will appear.

Keyboard Touches:

  1. Single tap: use to enter the primary symbol on the key
  2. Double tap: use on the up-arrow key to get “caps lock”
  3. Touch and hold, slide up: use to access accented letters or alternate characters. This is available for most of the vowel keys and some others, such as the zero key or the period key. Experiment to find out what’s there.
  4. Touch and flick down: use to enter numbers, punctuation, or symbols.

Other keyboards:

Tap the Number key 123 located on the bottom left to access a keyboard of numbers and punctuation.  To return to the alphabet, tap the ABC key on the bottom left.

Tap the Symbol key #+= located on the bottom  left to access other symbols.

Tap the keyboard key, located on the bottom right, to hide the onscreen keyboard. To move or split the keyboard, touch and hold the keyboard key, the slide up to choose your option.

Emoji: Tap the emoji key located on the bottom left. Once the emojis appear, swipe left or right to see more pages of emojis.

Shortcuts:  At the end of a sentence, you can double tap the space bar to enter a period and space. (Instead of typing the period followed by the space)

Program Notes October 19

iOS 11

Since the new iOS 11 has so many new features, we spent more time looking at the operating system for the iPhone and iPad. This month, a YouTube video helped demonstrate several features.

YouTube offers a range of videos exploring new products and operating systems.

Mac High Sierra

The Mac OS High Sierra was covered in the second hour. TechTalk America does a good job explaining the changes. Here is a video to get you started.

We discussed the need to make you have a backup of your hard drive as well as the need to wait until the second or third update to upgrade. The upgrade is free from the App Store. Check the list of new features to see if you want to upgrade right away.

New Meeting Schedule

There is a real need for ongoing help for beginner and new iPad and iPhone users. We will offer a Question and Answer session every other month instead of a formal program. The November 16 meeting will be a Q & A session. If you have been reluctant to attend meetings because the content seems over your head, the Q & A will be just right for you. We are a User Group so that means we help each other.

There will be no meeting in December.