There’s no substitute for a letter from Hogwarts, but in lieu of actual magic, Harry Potter fans can pretend to be witches and wizards wielding their iPhones as wands. Apple’s Siri has three spells built in and a handful more that you can set up using Shortcuts.
First, make sure “Hey Siri” is enabled on your phone. Go to Settings > Siri & Search and toggle “Listen for ‘Hey Siri’” on. Turn on “Allow Siri When Locked” to use spell commands from your lock screen.
(“Accio” activates with a regular side-button press, but “Lumos” and “Nox” do not, so you have to have “Hey Siri” turned on. Spells set up using Shortcuts should work either way.)
How to use built-in Hey Siri spells on your iPhone
There are three Harry Potter spells you can start casting via Hey Siri right away, and they’re actually somewhat useful:
- “Lumos”: This spell turns on your iPhone flashlight.
- “Nox”: Pronounced “knocks,” this spell turns off your iPhone flashlight.
- “Accio”: This spell opens apps on your iPhone. Say “Accio [app name]” to launch your desired app — you’ll have to use Face ID or enter your passcode if you start from the lock screen.
Google Assistant also has “Lumos” and “Nox” built in, so you can turn your Android flashlight or Nest-connected smart bulbs in your home off and on via spell as well.
How to set up custom Hey Siri spells using Shortcuts
While Siri automatically recognises the three default spells, you have a whole host of options for pairing other charms to certain actions with your phone using the Shortcuts function. Gadget Hacks has a handy guide, including the following:
- “Lumos Maxima”: turning your flashlight or smart lights to maximum brightness
- “Silencio”: turning on Do Not Disturb
- “Muffliato”: turning down your iPhone volume while turning up Background Sounds
- “Sonorus”: turning up maximum volume
- “Quietus”: turning down your volume
To set up these up, open your Shortcuts app and tap the “plus” symbol in the upper-right corner. Tap Add Action and search for the function you want — for example, typing “flashlight” into the search bar pulls up the option to Set Flashlight, and then you can select specific action and the brightness. Type the command you want Siri to listen for in the top toolbar.
Note that you could also do this with your smart speaker, using custom commands to open apps or control your smart home devices.