Automate your morning routine with iOS 13

automate-your-morning-routine

Probably some of the most impressive human technological advances were generated by a person being lazy (and a bit nerdy). Since my morning routine touches the very limit of an OCD1, I had the pleasant surprise to discover that I can automate most of my iOS morning habits via iOS 13.

In previous versions of iOS, you have been able to create automations in the Home application. They enabled you to, for instance, have lights turn on when you arrive home. iOS 13.1 now brings this sort of automation to your iOS devices via Personal Automations. Personal automations let you do things like start playing a particular play-list whenever you open a certain application, dim the screen brightness when Low Power Mode turns on, or turn off your cellular data connection when you connect to your home Wi-Fi network.

To find out for yourself what you can do with personal automations, open the Shortcuts application (now built into iOS 13) and tap the Automation tab.

The routine

This simple routine – triggered automatically when I stop the morning alarm – consist in the following: gather and speak the relevant information for me (current date, current weather, time to drive to work, phone battery level, next calendar events, etc), turn on the living room lamps and start playing my favourite internet radio station.

For the simplicity sake I have separated this routine in two Shortcuts: “Rise & Shine” (to cover the first part of the routine) and “Play My Favourite Radio”.

siri-shortcuts
My 2 Shortcuts

Here is the full message when there are some events in my calendar for the current day:

Good morning MyName! Today is Today. The weather now is Weather Conditions (Condition) with a high of Weather Conditions (High) and a low of Weather Conditions (Low). It will take you Travel Time to drive to work. Phone battery is at Battery Level%. Your next events are: MyEvents. Have a wonderful day!

And here is the message when I’m free for the day (untested so far):

Good morning MyName! Today is Today. The weather now is Weather Conditions (Condition) with a high of Weather Conditions (High) and a low of Weather Conditions (Low). It will take you Travel Time to drive to work. Phone battery is at Battery Level%. Your have no events today. Have a wonderful day!

Shortcut - Rise & Shine

Let’s begin with Good morning MyName!. As an experiment (and for narcissistic psychological reasons), I have decided to get my own nickname from the Contacts list and add it to the MyName variable. Like this, if in the future I decide that a more appropriate name will be, I don’t know, perhaps All Mighty, I will just update my own contact card and the Shortcut will compliment me accordingly. Of course, you can skip this part and simply use something like Good morning Master!, but where is the fun in that?

my-nickname
Nickname as a variable

Next phrase is Today is Today. This was a little bit tricky. Since I wanted first the day of the week and then the current date – without the time – I had to use a custom format for the Current Date and add first the day of the week to the Today variable and then the rest of the date.

day-of-week
Day of the Week
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Full date

All of this, will get me the following phrase: Today is Saturday, 19th of October, 2019. Neat!

Getting the current weather is pretty straight forward via the Weather application (see below). Then is just a matter of extracting various information from the current weather and put them in a meaningful sentence like: The weather now is Weather Conditions (Condition) with a high of Weather Conditions (High) and a low of Weather Conditions (Low).

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Current Weather

Next, to get the travel time to work, first I add a Street Address using the Maps application to the variable Work Address and then I can get the travel time from the Current Location to the work address via the same application.

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Travel Time to Work

Getting the phone battery level is also just a simple step and the related text even simpler: Phone battery is at Battery Level%. Genius, I’m telling you, genius!

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Phone battery level

Your next events are: MyEvents is a little bit complex. I used a simple IF scripting condition and an iteration (!). Bear with me, it sounds more complicated than it is. First, I get the next 3 calendar events that are scheduled in the next 8 hours.

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The next 3 calendar events

Then, if the number of events is greater than 0, I iterate each event (the Repeat part), extract the start date-time, the name of the event and it’s location into a Text and add it to the My Events variable.

iterate-calendar-events
Iterating the calendar events

Next, since I finished collecting all the data, I build the final text that will be played by Siri in case there are some events for the day

If there are no events today (the Otherwise part), I just need to build the final text that will be played by Siri in a no-events day scenario.

Last, since I have covered both cases (events or not so eventful day) I instruct Siri to play the entire resulting text.

final-text
Building & playing

As an optional part, I turn on the living room lamps so the motivation to wake up (and swear) will increase.

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Let there be light!

Shortcut - Play My Favourite Radio

This is the simple one: the URL of the on-line radio station (you know, Binili învinge) is passed to the Safari Web Browser. That’s it.

play-my-favourite-radio-shortcut
Play My Favourite Radio

Automation - Putting it all together

To put these two Shortcuts to work, I create a personal automation that will be triggered when the morning alarm is stopped (don’t worry, you still can snooze it).

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The Personal Automation

Open Shortcuts application, go to Automation tab, tap on the + sign, select Create Personal Automation, under Events select Alarm, then select Is Stopped and the desired alarm.

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Triggered on the Wake Up Alarm

Tap on Next and add two times the Run Shortcut action, one for Rise & Shine shortcut and one for the Play My Favourite Radio.

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Automation Actions

That will be all folks. Next morning, when I will stop the alarm, Siri will tell me, in a nice voice, the daily summary, will turn on the lights and play my favourite radio, no reason to snooze and a higher motivation to wake up and make other people rich.


  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviours (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.