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How to Make Your iPhone Scream When You Plug It In

A picture of a woman screaming on an iPhone.
Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

At the end of a long day of doomscrolling, both you and your iPhone probably feel like screaming. If you really want to freak out your friends, you can make your iPhone scream whenever you plug it in (or unplug it) on iOS 14 or later. Let’s get it set up!

Step 1: Get the Custom Scream Shortcut

Before we dig into creating an automation in the Shortcuts app, you’ll need to download our custom How-To Geek Play Scream shortcut. To do that, you’ll first need to allow downloading from untrusted shortcuts in Settings. Normally, this could be a security issue, but this file is just what plays the screaming sound.

To enable it, tap “Settings” and navigate to “Shortcuts.”

Tap

Toggle-On the “Allow Untrusted Shortcuts” option. After we’re done, you can come back here and disable it again, if you like.

Toggle-On

Next—and this is a required step—visit this iCloud link on your iPhone and tap “Get Shortcut” to download our custom scream.

You’ll be taken to the Shortcuts app, in which you’ll see an “Add Shortcut” window. This gives you a chance to evaluate the shortcut before you add it to your device.

Curious how our sound shortcut works? Well, a screaming sound is encoded in text using the base64 scheme, which is a way of representing binary data as text characters. When you activate the shortcut, it decodes the base64 sound and funnels the data into the “Play Sound” action. The sound then plays through your iPhone’s speaker, and that’s the complete code.

A guide showing the steps of the

You should never install a shortcut you don’t trust. However, this harmless (except for startling your friends) three-step shortcut just plays a sound.

Scroll down and tap “Add Untrusted Shortcut.”

Tap

The “Play Scream” shortcut will then be added to your list in the Shortcuts app. To test it out, just tap its Speaker icon.

Step 2: Build the Scream Automation

Next, we need to link up the “Play Scream” shortcut with the action of plugging (or unplugging) your iPhone. The option to create an automation was introduced in iOS 14.

If you’re not already in “Shortcuts,” open it, and then tap “Automation” at the bottom.

Tap

If you already have an automation, tap the plus sign (+), and then tap “Create Personal Automation.” If this is your first automation, just tap “Create Personal Automation.”

Tap

In the “New Automation” panel, scroll down and tap “Charger.”

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On the “Charger” screen, you can decide which behaviors you want to trigger the scream. If you want your iPhone to scream when you plug it in, tap “Is Connected.” If you want it to scream when it’s disconnected (which is much more disturbing), tap “Is Disconnected.”

You can also choose both if you want. When you’re done, tap “Next.”

Tap

Now, we’ll define the action that should take place when the charger is connected. Tap “Add Action.”

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Type “Run Shortcut” in the Search box, and then tap “Run Shortcut.” This allows you to trigger any shortcut you already have on your iPhone.

Type

When the “Run Shortcut” action appears, you’ll see a space where you can define the shortcut that runs when the automation is triggered. Tap “Shortcut.”

Tap

In the list of shortcuts, tap “Play Scream.”

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You’ll then see an overview of the entire automation program; tap “Next.”

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Toggle-Off the “Ask Before Running” switch. If this is enabled, a pop-up message will appear every time an automation is triggered, which spoils the effect.

Toggle-Off

In the confirmation pop-up, tap “Don’t Ask.”

Tap

Tap “Done” and your scream automation is set. The next time you plug (or unplug) your iPhone, it should scream.

Step 3: Hiding the Automation Notification

The only drawback to this bit of fun is every time you trigger an automation, a notification appears on-screen, like the one shown below.

An automation notification in iOS 14.

At this writing, it’s impossible to turn off Shortcuts notifications in the Settings app. Hopefully, this will be corrected in a future update. In the meantime, however, you can turn them off until the next time you restart your iPhone via Screen Time.

To do so, you’ll first have to activate Screen Time in Settings, and then run the automation (by plugging it in or unplugging it) a few times to generate some notifications.

Wait a few minutes, and then tap Settings > Screen Time > See All Activity.

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Scroll down to the “Notifications” section and tap “Shortcuts.”

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Toggle-Off the “Allow Notifications” switch, and then tap “Back.”

Toggle-Off

You can now exit “Settings.” The next time you trigger the automation, your iPhone will scream without a notification. Pretty freaky!

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