LOS ANGELES - A feature exclusively available for Apple users called “Shortcuts,” which was launched in 2018, allows users to conduct tasks on their phones that would normally require multiple actions with a single voice command of the iPhone’s artificial intelligence capability, Siri.
The feature has been 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 police. One 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.”
Twitter user Robert Petersen posted a link to the shortcut and an explanation of what it does.
While Petersen said he hopes the tool will be useful for some, 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 and is designed to record incidents by “simply pushing a trigger on the phone’s frame," according to the developer’s website.
Apple’s “Shortcuts” feature allows users to “create your own shortcuts with multiple steps,” according to the company’s website.
“For example, build a ‘Surf Time’ shortcut that grabs the surf report, gives an estimated arrival time to the beach, and launches your surf music playlist,“ according to Apple’s support page.
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.
“Once you stop the recording 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,” according to a Reddit post by Petersen.
Another user on Twitter posted a step-by-step video on how to install the shortcut to an iPhone.
Petersen told Business Insider that the new shortcut would allow people to have access to "the civilian equivalent" 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," Petersen told the news outlet. "The police these days in many places have body cams, so this could be the civilian equivalent.“
Speaking with Fox News via direct message, Petersen said he did not create the shortcut based off of any personal experiences, but added that various news stories influenced him. "[It] just seemed a good idea to empower the individual citizen to have a record over what happens during a stop to remove any 'he said/she said' scenarios," Petersen said. "I honestly didn’t think the idea would prove as popular as it has, the response has been extreme[ly] positive and more than a bit overwhelming!"
Fox News contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.