At the end of a long day of doomscrolling, you and your iPhone probably feel like screaming. If you really want to scare your friends, you can make your iPhone scream every time you plug it in (or unplug it) on iOS 14 or later. Let’s put it in place!
Step 1: Get the Custom Scream Shortcut
Before you start building an automation in the Shortcuts app, you’ll need to download our custom How-To Geek Play Scream shortcut. To do this, you must first allow downloading from untrusted shortcuts in settings. Normally this could be a security issue, but this file is exactly what plays the howling sound.
To activate it, press “Settings” and navigate to “Shortcuts”.
Activate the option “Allow untrusted shortcuts”. Once we’re done, you can come back here and turn it off again, if you want.
Then – and this is a mandatory step –visit this iCloud link on your iPhone and hit “Get Shortcut” to download our custom scream.
You will be redirected to the Shortcuts application, in which you will see an “Add Shortcut” window. This gives you a chance to rate the shortcut before adding it to your device.
Curious about how our audio shortcut works? Well, a howling sound is encoded into text using the base64 schema, which is a way of representing binary data as text characters. When you activate the hotkey, it decodes the base64 sound and routes the data into the “Play Sound” action. The sound is then played through your iPhone speaker, and that’s the full code.f
You should never install a shortcut that you don’t trust. However, this harmless three-step shortcut (except to surprise your friends) only plays a sound.
Scroll down and tap “Add untrusted shortcut”.
The “Play Scream” shortcut will then be added to your list in the Shortcuts application. To test it out, just tap its Speaker icon.
Step 2: Build Scream Automation
Next, we need to relate the “Play Scream” shortcut to the action of plugging (or unplugging) your iPhone. The option to create an automation was introduced in iOS 14.
If you’re not already in “Shortcuts”, open it, then tap “Automation” at the bottom.
If you already have an automation, tap the plus sign (+), then tap “Create personal automation.” If this is your first automation, just tap ‘Create personal automation’.
In the “New Automation” panel, scroll down and tap “Loader”.
On the “Charger” screen, you can decide which behaviors you want to trigger the scream. If you want your iPhone to scream when you plug it in, tap “Is Connected.” If you want it to scream when it’s offline (which is a lot more disturbing), tap “Is offline”.
You can also choose both if you want. When you are finished, press “Next”.
Now we are going to define the action that should take place when the charger is connected. Click on “Add action”.
Type “Run Shortcut” in the search box, then press “Run Shortcut.” This allows you to trigger any shortcut you already have on your iPhone.
When the “Run Shortcut” action appears, you will see a space where you can set the shortcut that runs when automation is triggered. Press “Shortcut”.
In the list of shortcuts, press “Play Scream”.
You will then see an overview of the entire automation program; press “Next”.
Turn off the “Ask before you run” switch. If this option is enabled, a pop-up message will appear every time an automation is triggered, spoiling the effect.
In the confirmation pop-up window, tap “Don’t ask.”
Press “Done” and your scream automation is set. The next time you plug in (or unplug) your iPhone, it should scream.
Step 3: Hide the automation notification
The only downside to this little fun is that every time you trigger an automation, a notification pops up on the screen, like the one pictured below.
As of this writing, you cannot turn off shortcut notifications in the Settings app. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future update. In the meantime, you can turn them off until the next restart of your iPhone via Screen Time.
To do this, you will first need to enable Screen Time in the settings, then run the automation (by plugging it in or unplugging it) a few times to generate notifications.
Wait a few minutes, then tap Settings> Screen time> See all activities.
Scroll down to the “Notifications” section and press “Shortcuts”.
Turn off the “Allow notifications” switch, then tap “Back.”
You can now exit “Settings”. The next time you trigger the automation, your iPhone will scream without a notification. Pretty weird!