Reddit user Robert Petersen has taken advantage of the new Shortcuts automation app in iOS 12 to create a Siri shortcut that’s particularly resonant in light of the continuing news around police shootings.
It’s basically a workflow that stops whatever you were doing with your iPhone and quickly gets it ready to record your interaction with the police. According to a description of the shortcut, the shortcut pauses any music that might be playing, turns down the phone’s brightness, switches on Do Not Disturb so no calls can come in to interrupt you, and it also sends a message to whatever contact you designate. A message that lets them know the police have pulled you over and provides your current location.
After that, the shortcut opens up your front camera to starting recording video of your encounter. Once you stop the recording, a copy of the video is sent to a contact that you choose, the brightness goes back up and Do Not Disturb is switched off.
In the comments of his Reddit thread explaining the shortcut, Petersen notes that he “was trying to minimize the amount of user having to press buttons on the phone since that could be dangerous if there’s a trigger happy cop.” And needless to say, that thread already has tons of comments mostly praising the shortcut, making suggestions for tweaks and the like.
Here’s where you can get the shortcut yourself. A new version of the shortcut, after taking in suggestions from other Reddit users, includes latitude and longitude as well as an option to upload the resulting video to Dropbox or iCloud Drive.
You can apparently easily edit the shortcut to use the rear camera instead. Robert said he chose the front camera since he keeps his phone mounted on the dash when driving, so it “made sense for me to have the inside of the car being recorded in that case as opposed to the outside.”
As CultofMac notes, iOS 12, which was released just last week, includes the new Shortcuts app to automate a variety of workflows, from activating features of your smart home to sending photos to friends and family. “As soon as iOS 12 was announced and available in beta earlier this year,” the site continues, “a developer launched the website Sharecuts to serve as a repository for shortcuts. (Also) a new subreddit for people to share their shortcuts already has grown a sizable following.”