How to use the Ask When Run variable for Shortcuts app

As defined in our earlier post – Show Alert action in a shortcut, an Action constitutes the building block of a shortcut. Every Shortcut you create on your iPhone/iOS 12 is a mix of one or more actions. Similar to this, there’s a feature in iOS 12 that allows you to adjust the parameters of an action at runtime. It is known as ‘Ask When Run’ variable and lets you adjust the parameters of an action at runtime.

Let us learn how to use the Ask When Run variable in Shortcuts app.

How to use Ask When Run variable for iPhone running iOS 12

What this nifty feature really does is it lets you modify/change parameters of an action at the time it’s about to run. For example, if you have configured a shortcut to remind you about running or walking at a particular time of the day then, it allows you to choose parameters like distance to be covered, just before the action is initiated.

If you do not choose this variable when the shortcut is run, the action will proceed in a normal manner and will be completed until it has ‘Ask When Run’ variable preconfigured.

If present, the shortcut pauses, prompting you to update the action’s parameters. Once you tap Done, the shortcut continues its run.

1] To add the Ask When Run variable to a parameter, tap the empty space in the action’s parameter row, then tap Ask When Run.

Create Shortcuts with Ask When Run variable

2] Now, each time the shortcut runs, you’re asked to confirm your option for that parameter. To insert an Ask When Run variable in actions with text fields, tap the text field, then tap Ask When Run (in the Variables bar that appears above the keyboard).

Ask When Run Shortcut

3] If the Shortcuts does not have access to your app, allow access and proceed further.

Ask When Run Sample Shortcut

That’s it!  Similar to the case above, using the Ask When Run variable on a parameter can be helpful for adjusting options on the fly, such as the option to Show Compose Sheet in the Send Email action.

What do you think of this dynamic option available for shortcuts? Do you think this will be useful for actions like workout or where there are multiple options needed?

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