How to Add a VoiceOver Gesture to a shortcut in iOS

The ability to create custom shortcuts with various actions has been available on iOS since 2018, when apple first demonstrated this feature at the World Wide Developers Conference.

Prior to life as Shortcuts, this was formerly an app called Workflow and, as Shortcuts does now, it allows you to create a series of events, (or, actions, as they are known), into a “Shortcut” to save time and accomplish a task.

I recently was inspired to create a shortcut and add a VoiceOver gesture to it. In a quick search, I found this wasn’t documented, so wanted to create a small write-up of the process.

Shortcut Creation

This is a simple shortcut with only one action. Should you wish to create a more complex Shortcut, Here is a Great Article on how to accomplish this. When you have finished creating your Shortcut, the process of assigning a VoiceOver gesture to it is the same.

This post provides instructions for doing this using the VoiceOver screen reader on iOS.

To begin, open the Shortcuts app and choose the “Create shortcut” button.

Next, choose the “Add Action” button. In this case, choose the “Skip Forward” action, so you can easily skip to the next song/track/audio increment  in any  application.

You can peruse the Action Library, or you can search for a specific action. Navigate to the “Action Library” which is a text field to search for actions. Enter: “Skip Forward” without the quotation marks.

Activate the “Search” item which is found in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The search returns a result of “Skip Forward” which is a button. Press enter to activate it. If you swipe right, you will find a description which says: “Skips to the next song in the current music queue”.

Next, find the “Add to Shortcut” button and activate it.

As this is the only action you will have in this Shortcut, navigate to the “Done” button which can be found on the top-right corner of the screen.

Add a VoiceOver Gesture to Activate the Shortcut

Now that you created a single action Shortcut, you can exit the app. The next step is to access the Settings menu of iOS, and add a VoiceOver gesture. To do this:

Access Settings>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Commands>All Commands>shortcuts.

Find the “Skip Forward” shortcut, (or, if you named it something different, locate it by that name), and activate it.

Choose the “Add Gesture” button and activate it. Here, you will be presented with a list of all available VoiceOver gestures you can assign to this Shortcut.

Choose the one you want to use, and activate it. Chances are, the gesture you choose will already be assigned to another action. If you are sure you wish to proceed assigning it to your newly created shortcut, navigate to the “Assign” button. If the gesture you chose is not already in use, then when you activate it, you will be returned to the previous screen with your Shortcut.

After you assign a gesture to a Shortcut, you will be taken back to the Shortcut screen where you can add a gesture. You can also assign a keyboard shortcut for quick activation.


Shortcuts have been a staple on iOS for a number of years. Once set up, they provide time-saving measures to simplify complex tasks. The gesture you created for this Shortcut allows you to be anywhere in iOS, and if music or another audio item is playing, you are able to skip forward. In Voice Dream Reader, for instance, depending on what your navigation unit is set to, you can skip forward by that increment. There is also a “Skip Back” action you can create a Shortcut for, and assign a gesture to use to invoke that option.

Shortcuts are immensely powerful, and having the ability to access them with a gesture, a keyboard shortcut, or by Siri means that you can operate your iOS device using the method that works best for you!

3 thoughts on “How to Add a VoiceOver Gesture to a shortcut in iOS”

  1. I’m guessing that to avoid gesture conflicts that it just may be possible to assign a back tap gesture, but I haven’t tested that yet.


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