How to use the Siri Shortcuts app in iOS 13 to easily recall important information

Reminding yourself of important information just got a lot easier thanks to Siri Shortcuts. Siri can now read aloud information through your AirPods, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, or HomePod.

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Image: Apple, Inc.

Accessing important things like PINs, addresses, or other bits of information while walking, driving, or doing other activities can be cumbersome and annoying if that information is stored in Apple's Notes app or somewhere else on your phone.

Fortunately, you can ask Siri for information using the Siri Shortcuts app on your iPhone using iOS 13. You can then prompt Siri to read that information to you through your AirPods, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, or HomePod without needing to unlock your iPhone.

In this tutorial, I'll show how to build this Siri Shortcut and how to use it to read back information.

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The first step is to open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone. If you don't have it enabled, you can enable it by searching for Siri Shortcuts on the App Store and installing it again.

I'll be creating a new shortcut in the My Shortcuts tab and performing the following steps. 

  1. Tap the + to create a new shortcut.

  2. Tap Add Action. 

  3. Search for Text, and add it. 

  4. In the text field, place the text you wish Siri to speak to you.

  5. Tap Add Action again.

  6. Search for Speak, and add it (Figure A).

  7. Tap Next.

  8. Enter a Shortcut Name (I'll use Important Information).

  9. Tap Done.

Figure A

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If you enter the correct actions into the shortcut action workflow, it looks like this. Add the text you wish Siri to read into the Text field.

Image: Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

If you have Siri read numbers, add spaces between them to have them read one digit at a time; otherwise, Siri will read them as whole numbers. For example, 1234 is read as "one-thousand two-hundred and thirty four."

The name you specify as the shortcut name is the name that you use to activate this shortcut with Siri.

To have this information read aloud to you, follow these steps.

  1. On your iPhone, tap and hold the side button (iPhone X or newer) or the Touch ID button (iPhone 8 or older) to activate Siri.
  2. Say "Important Information" (or whatever the shortcut is named).

When you do this, Siri reads aloud whatever text was entered into the shortcut's Text field (Figure B). Siri Shortcuts should not be used to store passwords or other extremely sensitive information because anyone who activates Siri can get the information. Storing numbers, and items that cannot be traced back to how they are used is perfectly fine though and will be synced between your devices using iCloud.

Figure B

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Siri can read this text back to you on AirPods, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, or HomePod connected to the same iCloud account.

Image: Cory Bohon / TechRepublic

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