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This hidden iPhone feature could keep you from running out of battery — here's how

An image of an iPhone showing the no battery warning, representing an article about how to set custom battery alerts on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you're anything like me and you keep your phone on silent pretty much all the time, at some point you'll have missed those battery notifications your iPhone gives you when you reach 20%, 10% and 5% charge. This can be pretty problematic when suddenly you pick up your phone and there's only 3% charge left, and has often left me wondering whether there is a better way to be notified about your battery life when your iPhone is on silent. 

Similarly, I've often felt that even the earliest 20% warning can come a little too late if you know you'll need charge later on — if you have a long commute later in the afternoon, for example, you might find it useful to get an alert at 30% or 40%, so you make sure you charge up ahead of time. 

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly given the iPhone's standing as one of the best phones out there, it turns out Apple has thought of a simple solution to both of these issues. By using a personal automation within the Shortcuts app, you can have Siri verbally warn you when your battery hits a specific percentage, even when on your iPhone is on silent.

Here's how to set custom battery alerts using iOS Shortcuts.

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How to set custom battery alerts using iOS Shortcuts

1. Open the Shortcuts app. If you don't know where it is, swipe up from the middle of the screen to open Spotlight and then search "shortcuts". When it appears, tap the app icon

(Image credit: Future)

2. Tap Automation at the bottom of the screen. Then tap Create Personal Automation

(Image credit: Future)

3. Scroll down and tap Battery Level to start creating a new automation which will trigger based on your iPhone's battery level.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Move the slider to the battery percentage you want to be verbally notified at. This could be a low number, if you keep missing the standard alerts. Or it could be a higher number, if you want to be alerted in advance.

You can select to be notified when your battery equals the percentage, when it goes above the specific percentage (if you wanted to stop it charging, for example) or when it falls below the specific percentage. Once you've selected, hit Next.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Now tap Add Action to tell your iPhone what to carry out once it hits your chosen charge percentage. Tap the search bar that pops up.

(Image credit: Future)

6. Type "speak" into the search bar, then tap Speak Text.

(Image credit: Future)

7. Tap Text. Now enter what you want Siri to announce and tap Done.

(Image credit: Future)

8. Tap the blue chevron to see spoken options, including the rate (or speed) at which the text is spoken, the pitch of the voice and the language and voice of Siri. 

(Image credit: Future)

9. Tap the play button in the bottom right to hear the text read out. Tap Next when you're happy.

(Image credit: Future)

10. Toggle Ask Before Running to off. A pop-up warning will appear asking you to confirm your choice. Tap Don't Ask, then tap Done.

(Image credit: Future)

And you're done! Now, whenever your battery reaches the specified level, you'll be notified out loud by Siri. Careful you don't ask Siri to say anything too rude, as this automation will work regardless of being on silent mode.

If you're looking for more iPhone hints and tips, we have a range of helpful iOS-themed guides, including how to edit photos on iPhone, how to block websites on Safari, how to identify plants on iPhone, how to stop spam texts on iPhone, how to edit PDFs on iPhone and iPad and how to track flights on iPhone.

Peter is the How to Editor at Tom's Guide, based in the UK. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, obsessively detailing his car, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.