iPhone users have created shortcuts that allow Apple’s flagship product to automatically record video, text a location to an emergency contact, and even stop police from entering the phone—just in case the iPhone owner has an interaction with a law enforcement officer.
Apple recently introduced “Shortcuts” to iOS 12, an app that allows iPhone owners to design their own automated commands for their phone. Although the concept isn’t new (this writer used a forerunner, If This Then That) its inclusion as a default app prompted users to design a litany of useful voice-activated workflow creations, including calendar reminders, email notifications and even ways to calculate a tip.
According to Mic, Reddit user Robert Peterson created a trick using the virtual assistant, Siri, that lowers the phone’s brightness, turns on Do Not Disturb, texts the iPhone owner’s location to an emergency contact and lets them know you have been pulled over by police. The shortcut will also automatically start recording video and, when finished, the phone will send the video to the contact or save it to a cloud service.
The shortcut is available here, while another user created a workflow that automatically reboots the phone, rendering the fingerprint or face ID feature useless until a person enters a passcode. The Washington Post reports that police can’t legally compel a suspect to give up the passcode, although they can force a phone owner to use fingerprint ID or a face scan.
“I noticed in news articles and reports on TV that in many cases, police say one thing happened and the citizen pulled over says something else,” Peterson told Mic. “Sometimes police have body cameras, sometimes not. When they do, the video is not always released in a timely manner. I wanted a way for the person being pulled over to have a record for themselves.”
I have already downloaded the shortcut, but I have been unable to find one that stops bullets or convicts a police officer.
There’s no app for that.