Smartphones are changing our lives in new ways we don’t often realize. They are serving social purposes as well by allowing us to quickly post anything we want the authorities to focus on. Now a new Siri shortcut from Apple could prove handy in tackling abuse of power and rampant police corruption in countries like India.
How this Siri shortcut works
The new Siri shortcut quickly prepares your phone to record your experiences with police. The shortcut even sends an SOS to a friend by activating a simple voice command. Reddit user Robert Petersen of Florence, Ariz. created the shortcut.
To use the new Apple Siri shortcut, iPhone users must place their handset (which must be running on iOS 12) in a dash mount while driving. Whenever a police officer pulls you over, all you need to say is, “Hey, Siri, I’m getting pulled over.” This command will automatically pause the music playing on the iPhone, dim the screen and switch the phone to “Do not Disturb” mode so no calls can interrupt the recording.
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The iPhone will also send a text to a contact you choose. The message will indicate that a police officer has stopped you and capture a video recording from the front-facing camera to record the interaction with the officer. After the video recording is stopped, either by you or anyone else, a copy of the video is automatically sent to the selected contact.
After sending the video, the iPhone returns to its previous mode; “Do Not Disturb” mode is switched off and the screen brightness increases. The Siri shortcut helps you get video evidence which could help later. More importantly, it alerts your friend or family that you may need their help.
Customizing the Siri shortcut
Petersen is asking users to send feedback to help him further improve the Siri shortcut. In a Reddit thread explaining the shortcut, Petersen said he “was trying to minimize the amount of user [sic] having to press buttons on the phone since that could be dangerous if there’s a trigger happy [sic] cop.”
As can be expected, the Reddit thread is filled with comments, mostly applauding the idea of such a shortcut, and some even made suggestions for improvements. Petersen has updated the Siri shortcut with many of those suggestions. The newest version includes latitude and longitude and gives users the option to upload videos to Dropbox or iCloud Drive.
Users also have the option to use the phone’s rear camera instead. According to Petersen, he chose the front camera because he keeps his iPhone mounted on the dash while driving. It “made sense for me to have the inside of the car being recorded in that case as opposed to the outside,” he says.
You can download this Siri shortcut from this link.
Shortcuts app is a useful addition
Apple’s iOS 12 came with a new Shortcuts app which helps users automate tasks like sending photos to friends and family, activating smart home features, converting songs and videos to MP3s, turning a live photo into a GIF, taking, editing, and saving a screenshot, downloading YouTube videos to a preferred location, and more.
“Siri can now intelligently pair users’ daily routines with your apps to suggest convenient shortcuts right when they’re needed,” Apple said.
The Shortcuts app was called Workflow until Apple acquired it, changed its name and integrated it into iOS. After it was learned that iOS 12 was bringing the app, a developer created the website Sharecuts, which serves as a repository for shortcuts. There is also a popular Subreddit where people can share their shortcuts.
“Users can make personalized shortcuts that combine multiple steps, including shortcuts provided by your app, into a single tap or using their voice with Siri,” Apple said about the Shortcuts app.
With the Shortcuts app, Apple aims to make Siri more useful, which it has been criticized for in the past. Rival voice assistants Google Assistant and Amazon Echo are way ahead of Siri when it comes to usefulness and accuracy. However, with the Shortcuts app, Apple should at least narrow that gap.