How to take a photo with “Hey Siri”

Learn the secret of building a simple Siri Shortcut that will enable you to take a photo with "Hey Siri". Take a photo from the other side of the room!

Siri User Guide
Siri User Guide

As we’ve already discussed in our tutorial on how to take photos and videos on your iPhone using Siri, one of the most significant limitations is that it only allows you to open the Camera app. You still have to be next to your device to tap the capture button.

A quick and easy way around this is to build a simple Siri Shortcut that will take a photo of a subject with the command:

Hey Siri, take a photo

Why would this be useful? Well, there are a few situations where it could come in very handy.

  • Your iPhone is set up on a tripod, and you want to be in the photo yourself.
  • You want to take a better quality selfie than is currently available using the front-facing camera.

Before we begin, there are limits to this Shortcut. The Camera will only take a regular photo; there are no options available to choose one of the capture modes. That said, for many situations the standard settings are fine.

Building the shortcut

So let’s begin to create our Shortcut.

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone.
  2. With the My Shortcuts page open, tap on Create Shortcut.
  3. Tap on the small blue circle with three dots inside to give your Shortcut a name. Use something memorable, as this will be the command used to trigger Siri into processing the Shortcut. In this example, we’ll be imaginative and call it ‘Take a Photo’.
  4. Choose a color and glyph if you fancy getting creative.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Tap Add Action.
  7. Type ‘Photo’ in the search bar and choose Take Photo from the list of actions that appear.
  8. The default settings on this action are fine, but tap on Show Less at the bottom of the action pane and switch off Show Camera Preview.
  9. Tap the blue plus icon to add the next action.
  10. Type ‘Photo’ in the search bar and choose Save to Photo Album from the list of actions that appears.
  11. Again, the default settings are fine.
  12. Tap the blue plus icon again to add the final action.
  13. Type ‘Open App’ in the search bar and choose Open App from the list of actions that appears.

That’s it!

Siri Shortcut Actions
Shortcut Actions

Using the shortcut

To test out your new Shortcut, say:

Hey Siri, take a photo

The Shortcuts app will automatically open up, process the actions by taking a photo, save the image to your ‘Recents’ album, and then open the Photos app to view the picture.

Want to discover more about using Siri, Apple’s popular virtual assistant? We’ve written a helpful collection of tutorials full of techniques for using apps, dictation, using Siri Shortcuts, and a comprehensive beginner’s guide to activating and using Siri.