Apple showed off iOS 12 Shortcuts during its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote in early June, and the first beta is now available for developers. It’s currently feature-limited, so in this case beta really means beta.
Shortcuts is a feature and app that lets you string together actions from services and apps as a sort of script you can invoke from your iPhone, iPad, or Siri. You can, for example, create an action where you say, “Hey Siri, I’m going home,” and your living room lights turn on, a message goes out to your special someone, and your driving home music mix starts playing.
Since Shortcuts is build on the Workflow app Apple bought last year, so developers have been able to experiment a little with shortcuts already. With the beta of the app available now, they can start working with the real thing.
For now, Shortcuts is fairly limited. iCloud syncing for, for example, isn’t available yet. Not all actions are available, Shortcuts can’t open apps when invoked from Siri if the device is locked, shortcuts from the INVoiceShortcutCenter suggested shortcuts API don’t show up in the app’s actions list, and there are probably other issues, too.
Developers need to request the beta from Apple’s developer website. It’ll show up after that in the TestFlight app.
iOS 12 will be a free upgrade for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch this fall.