Making your #iPhone, #iPad and #Mac a push-button radio using @Apple #Shortcuts

I am a self-confessed button pusher. I know I can control most things on my iPhone via Siri, but sometimes I forget it exists. I then go “pecking” on my iPhone for what I want.

Music is one such thing. I grew up in the 70s and 80s when push-button radios were a thing, that is, radios with physical or mechanical buttons landed you on the station you wanted to listen to. My current car auto system, a Kenwood, still has six buttons for pre-set radio stations.

If you’re not using Siri, finding what you want in Apple Music requires a bit of searching. You have to know what you want to get it quickly. It takes a little longer if you’re in the “what do I want to listen to today” mood.

What’s the solution? Apple Shortcuts. As the name implies, Apple Shortcuts is an automation system for your device, be it an iPhone, iPad or Mac. They do simple things – they can do complex things.

I have set up shortcuts to play particular radio stations and playlists. I have saved the icons for these shortcuts to one screen, so all of my regular audio is on one screen of my iPhone and easily accessible. 

I have three shortcut categories- radio stations, Apple playlists, and stations requiring an active mobile connection. I also have shortcuts to playlists I have downloaded to the iPhone for when I am out of mobile phone range. 

It’s relatively simple to set up a shortcut:

  • Got the Shortcuts App.
  • Hit plus (top right).
  • Hit “Play Music”.
  • Hit “Music” (Shaded box with light blue type).
  • Choose your music source (Listen Now, Browse, Radio, Library). Hit “Done”.
  • Hard/long press the shortcut.
  • Hit “Rename” and name your shortcut. Hit “Done”.
  • Hit “Details” and then “Add to Home Screen”. Choose your colour and icon and hit “Add”.

I have colour coded and used different icons for my shortcuts, making them easier to find:

  • Red with microphone – News Radio
  • Red with runner – Sports Radio
  • Yellow with a musical note – Downtempo genre streamed
  • Pink with a musical note – Jazz genre streamed
  • Blue with a musical note – Classical genre streamed
  • Green with a musical note – Alternative genre streamed
  • Purple with a musical note – Pop genre streamed
  • The musical note icon in a box links to downloaded playlists. 

You can also add Shortcuts to your Mac Menu Bar and Apple Watch. 

It doesn’t take long to set this up and then you are set!