“Shortcuts” is a feature that’s exclusively available for Apple users. This app was launched in 2018, which allows users to conduct tasks on their phones. This would normally require multiple actions, but it’s handled with a single voice command of the iPhone’s artificial intelligence capability, Siri.
The feature was the subject of renewed focus recently as protests against police brutality continue across the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd during a May 25 encounter with Minneapolis PD. An iPhone user created a shortcut that prompts an iPhone to begin recording police interactions by the user simply uttering the phrase: “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over.”
Currently, the specific feature is not available for Android users. Apps with similar functions have been developed, including one called “Stop and Frisk Watch,” which is available for both Android and Apple devices. It’s designed to record incidents by “simply pushing a trigger on the phone’s frame”.
Apple’s “Shortcuts” feature allows users to “create your own shortcuts with multiple steps,” according to Apple’s website.
Upon saying “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over,” any music that may be playing is paused and the screen’s brightness is dimmed while the phone’s “do not disturb” capability is turned on. The phone then automatically sends a message to a contact the user sets up, letting that person know that the user is being stopped by police, along with providing the user’s location. The front camera is then turned on and the phone begins to record video of what is happening.
When the recording is stopped, it sends a copy of the video to a contact you specify, puts volume and brightness back to where they were, turns off Do Not Disturb, and gives you the option to send to iCloud Drive or Dropbox.
The Apple shortcut feature would allow people to have access to “the civilian equivalent” of a police body cam. It seemed to me that if you’re getting pulled over it couldn’t hurt to have a recording of the incident.
This story first appeared on the Business Insider website.