Become an Expert With Apple Shortcuts

Recently, Tweak Box released v4.2.1 Shortcut on iOS Haven with 800+ lines of code! How did @Smiledayo_ create such a beautiful app using the Shortcut app?

Reading this tutorial will make you an expert Shortcutter. A shortcutter is the name given to experts who use iPhone’s Shortcut App to create bold ideas for sharing with friends and family.

See blog image for benefits of shortcutting to get your life back

Shortcutters are smarter than most programmers and hackers because they have an understanding of how apps connect to each other across the network. Hackers expose vulnerabilities in bytes/code while Shortcutters expose social boundaries between apps often unseen by hackers.

Shortcut Graph Theory

Shortcuts work like any other app. They have input, output, and logical flow. Like a light bulb or household appliances, you can plugin anything you want. In your house, lamps, chargers, and TVs all use cords to plug into the wall flowing with energy. In shortcuts, all apps are plug into actions flowing with text and data.

Think About Social Media

For example, the camera app can take a picture and save it to your phone. Now, we can access the image as text which can be shared with other apps. We can use Shortcuts to publish the image to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook faster & smarter, all while doing less.

See blog image for popular social media apps with Shortcut

Smart shortcutters will see that you can use any data from social media and share with ease. For example, we use Shortcuts to post a picture to Twitter then automatically share the Twitter post to Discord. You are not directly sharing the image in Discord, you are sharing a link which is another way to share messages.

The point is, with Shortcuts, every app is connected to every other app. Data flows freely between actions allowing for endless ideas and creativity. Shortcutters are only limited by what they imagine.

Understand the Available Data

Learning Apple Shortcuts is challenging because possibilities are endless. To understand the data available for actions you need to see the Shortcut Graph for reference.

You can see the graph by using the “View Content Graph” action. When we play a Shortcut a pretty picture is displayed on our iPhone screen reminding us how actions are related.

Graphs are just circles connected by lines. The circles are called “actions” and the lines are called “relationships”. We look for a Giphy action because we want to make a Shortcut for gif images. Then we follow the relational ties connected to the actions we want.

See my blog image for example of Shortcut Graph

In this case, we have a Giphy image to send to Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook. We need to find a circle containing the most useful type of action. In this scenario, “URL”, also known as a “link”, is the most useful action related to a Giphy image.

Reading the graph image will let us understand that a “URL” is directly related to a Giphy image. This means it is very easy to make a link to and from a Giphy image.

Meanwhile, making a PDF file for a Giphy image is challenging because it is a distant relative of the Giphy action. There are more lines and circles between Giphy and PDF. Although, the text and image actions are both related to PDF and Giphy actions. This tells us we have to link our Giphy image to a text or image action. Afterwards, we may use the text or image action to create a PDF action.

Tutorial: Random Giphy Tweeter

Now that you understand all the information above, we will essentially create a Shortcut Twitter helper. Our Shortcutting skills will allow us to Tweet random funny images very fast!

Create Text Message

The first thing to every important tweet is to have a perfectly crafted message. We start generic but you can put anything you want elaborating up to about 100 character to save room for our image. Remember this will be Tweeted with a Shortcut helper so pick a good message.

See my blog image to add text to your Shortcut

Tweet Multiple Giphy Images

We added the Giphy action and tapped the drop down arrow to show advanced settings. We do not want to choose an image by hand because that is slow. To do this, we turned off “Show GIF Picker” and tapped the “plus” icon 10 times.

We also asked Giphy to only pick images after searching for funny gifs. We did this by reading “Search Giphy for Hello”. Now, we know we will search Giphy for “Hello”, without showing the GIF picker, and Giphy will give us 10 images.

See my blog image to search Giphy for 10 funny gifs

Tweet a Random Giphy Image

Now that we asked for 10 images, we will choose a random image that way our Tweets are always a surprise! We did this by tapping the words for the “Get item from list” action and selecting the option named “Random Item”. We did not change anything else.

See my blog image to get a random Giphy image

Tweet Words and Giphy Image Shortcut

Now we have two separate actions and we need to make them related by drawing a line between our Text and our Giphy Image. We do this by creating a list of everything we want to be related. Our list contains exactly 2 items.

See my blog image to Tweet a list of things with the Shortcut app.
We set the type of variable to URL

Tweet List In iOS Shortcut

We cannot Tweet a list unless we combine the actions into a single Tweet action. To do this we combine words and links into a single meaningful action. We did this by using the “Combine” action in the Shortcut App. Now our Tweet message and Giphy image are combined.

See my blog image to combine a list in the Shortcut app

Tweet Everything Combined

Now, we are ready to tweet everything in the tutorial. We combined all of our knowledge to Tweet a random Giphy Image and a Text message. Now it is time to Tweet your about your combined knowledge. We did this by selecting the “Tweet” action and selecting “Combined Text” from our variables.

Finally, we pressed play and watched our knowledge unfold on Twitter and other social media. This example shortcut seems simple but reread it a few times and perhaps you will learn something else.

See my blog image to Tweet everything automatically.

Wait that did not work!

If you followed along, but your images are not showing up– know this. We had to go back and change our combined list. By default we combined our text action without telling our Shortcut helper that our Giphy action should be Tweeted as a link. We fixed this by going back and selecting “URL” for the type of variable.

See my blog image to fix any problems you have.

Share With Friends and Family

You can share with friends and family by clicking the share icon at the bottom of your shortcut. We provide a more detailed tutorial for sharing on a previous blog post. Click here to learn.


Now that we are an Expert Shortcutter we can make any Shortcut we want and share it with our friends and family. In this tutorial we learned how to Tweet random Giphy images. We encourage everyone to reread this Shortcut helper to take business to another level.

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