Since its humble beginnings on the iPhone 4 S Siri has come a long way. While each iOS iteration includes new features for the iPhone Assistant, iOS 12 offers users some of the best advances in Siri we've seen in a long time, not least the support for shortcuts, Apple's replacement for the workflow app.
But in Sirius iOS 12, there are more than just custom shortcuts that can be activated with a verbal command, as impressive as that. Siri now has a number of new features that can help you from retrieving passwords to translating words or phrases on the fly. Whether you're a heavy or casual Siri user, this new update has something for you.
In addition to impressive performance improvements, Siri Shortcuts may be the coolest new feature for iOS 12. These shortcuts allow you to use Siri to automate your iPhone experience in the way that suits you best.
Siri can now suggest shortcuts – appropriately called "Siri Suggestions" – for you, based on the apps you use and how often you use them. You will see these options on the lock screen and when you view the search page on the home screen. Just tap one when you see it to do the action. (Note that the iPhone 5 S 6 and 6 Plus will not get this.)
When it comes to creating shortcuts, you have a few methods. Under Settings you will find the shortcuts options for some apps. In Settings, tap "Siri & Search" and then "All Shortcuts" to see the recommended ones.
You can also tap the app name in Settings, tap Siri & Search, and then choose Shortcuts. Here is a list of all available shortcuts that you can add to the app of your choice. Some may have several options, others only one, while some may have a zero because they have not yet added support.
Some apps do not bring you into settings to customize their shortcuts. They offer support for Siri Shortcuts directly in the app. This support may change depending on the app.
For example, in the BuzzFeed app you'll see "Add to Siri" if you want to add a shortcut. Contrast that with Carrot Weather, which allows you to see all 17 available shortcuts at the same time in the "Siri Shortcuts" section of their settings.
. 4 Custom Siri Shortcut Keys in App Key Combination
If you're looking for complex keyboard shortcuts, the Shortcuts app is the only place for you. Here, workflows, um, shortcuts should be designed as Apple implements tools that are not found in other parts of iOS and that allow shortcuts to be created.
Here you can create shortcut chains and rearrange actions. These chains enable, disable or customize certain aspects of an action and more. It really is a sandbox for users to create chains that make their lives easier. Really, you do not have to integrate Siri into any of these shortcuts, but most will benefit if you add an associated Siri phrase.
That said, creating shortcuts can sometimes be a bit daunting considering all the options available. Apple makes sure you include steps in the Shortcuts app to help you on your way. However, if you get stuck, read our guide to using the App Shortcuts in iOS 12.
It's not all about shortcuts in iOS 12. Siri's knowledge pool is deeper than ever and offers users a keen insight in motor sports and celebrities. If you want to know who runs NASCAR today or how old your favorite actor is, Siri will present the facts to you. While Siri had previously been able to answer questions about celebrities, it was relying heavily on Wikipedia rather than gathering information from various sources, and you could not really interact with the results to find what you were asking for.
Want to know more about your food? Ask Siri! Siri now has access to USDA databases in iOS 12, so their answers are more accurate and meaningful. From the calorie, fat, sodium and vitamin content Siri has the answers for you and your diet. You'll know if your answer comes from the USDA by checking the bottom of the answer. There you should see "More about USDA", what you can do by tapping this box.
. 7 iCloud Keychain Passwords
Your iCloud Keychain will surely contain your strong password collection and was previously only accessible to you. Now Siri has access and can retrieve any password from you on request. And do not worry – you still need to authenticate using Touch ID, Face ID or Passcode, so Snoop Siri can not ask for all your passwords.
. 8 More tools for viewing specific photos from the Photos app
Looking for a particular photo? In iOS 12, you can group multiple searches into one Siri request. If you're trying to find the Ferris wheel that was shot at Chicago Carnival in 2012, just say that to Siri. The wizard will merge all requests and browse photos to get relevant results. If no hits come back, try refining your search or tap Open Photos to just dive into it.
Siri could be your new best friend when you travel abroad. The wizard can now translate to more than 50 different language pairs in multiple languages. Whether you want to know how to say "Taxi" in Russian or if you need to order a beer in Japan, Siri has your back.
You can also translate between these languages. Ask for the translation of the Portuguese, Spanish or French word for "bread" into Arabic, Norwegian or Korean. However, you must first enable the language you want to translate in Siris Language Settings. Do you know that this will cause you to lose access to "Hey Siri" if you do not manually activate it for the language of your choice.
The iPhone X, as well as newer model iPhones, benefit from a flashlight directly on the lock screen. Every other iPhone has to pull up the control center to turn on the flashlight, and to turn it off, do the same or the camera kick. But now there is a better way to do it that does not require knocking or wiping or tricks at all. Just tell Hey Siri to do it for you.
. 11 Find my iPhone
If you have more Apple devices besides your iPhone, you can also use Siri to ping the device, either an iPad, iPod touch, AirPods or another iPhone. Just say "Find my iPad", "Where is my iPad?" Or something similar, and Siri will automatically use "Find My iPhone" to ping the device and trigger a loud distress alert.