Siri Shortcuts, one of iOS 12’s standout features, is now available to select third-party developers for testing purposes.
The app, which was unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference alongside iOS 12 last month, is initially available in beta for select developers testing the iOS 12 developer preview, reads a new report from MacRumors.
Siri Shortcuts lets users create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out using a simple voice command or by tapping the screen. It is mainly designed to take on Actions on Google and Routines, which have both existed on Google Assistant for some time.
As of the first beta, Siri Shortcuts strongly resembles Workflow, an app Apple acquired last year alongside its DeskConnect development team. While the new app has adopted iOS 12‘s user interface, it preserves most of the basic features, tabs, and section headings found in Workflow, notably including brightly colored automation buttons. The beta will automatically import workflows from the old Workflow app if it’s installed on the same device.
Without using the beta app, users and developers can try basic shortcuts right now in the Siri section of the Settings app; access to deeper functionality requires the Shortcuts app. In addition to working only when the testing device is unlocked, the first beta is missing some actions, has limitations on actions, and does not sync with iCloud.
Unlike iOS 12, which is now available in the developer and public betas, developers interested in testing Siri Shortcuts need to specifically press the “Request” beta app access button in TestFlight, after logging into the Developer Center. Apple will notify developers of their approval status via email.
It hasn’t been revealed when Apple will formally bring the public release of the Siri Shortcuts app. Nevertheless, considering the public availability of iOS 12 in September, the upgraded Siri experience is likely to debut sometime around the same time.