Instructions: Open the iPhone app when arriving or leaving a place

Yesterday I showed you how to Set iPhone reminders to enter or exit a location can. Thanks to Lutz's comment under the linked article, you will now receive a continuation of these instructions. Because of course everyone else can Appsthat are installed on the iPhone open based on location. But how can you open an iPhone app when you arrive or leave a place? The following step-by-step guide takes you back to iOS shortcuts. Because the shortcuts app has exactly the functions that we need for this.

Can you open an app based on location on the Apple iPhone? That's fine! Here's how to create a shortcuts automation that opens apps when you arrive or leave a location.
Can you open an app based on location on the Apple iPhone? That's fine! Here's how to create a shortcuts automation that opens apps when you arrive or leave a location.

Shortcuts Guide: Open iPhone App on arrival or departure

In the shortcuts app you can summarize numerous iPhone inputs, commands and processes and start them with various factors. Theoretically, you can set the app so that the entire Smart Home starts all sorts of processes at a certain time or when the alarm clock reacts: open the curtains, make coffee, play music, etc. In this article, however, we will take it easy and start with relatively simple automation.

If you know in which location a specific app should be opened by the iPhone upon arrival or upon departure, then you can get started. The following guide provides the most straightforward way to set up automation. In some places you can set additional parameters, but I won't break everything down to the smallest detail. For starters, you can do the following to achieve the desired goal:

  1. Choose in the Shortcuts app the middle tab Automation from
  2. Tap on the in the top right Plus symbol capacitor positive (+) lead
  3. Then choose Create personal automation from
  4. Now let's Arrivals, Leave (as well as C for the connection with the car).
  5. For "Arrival" and "Departure" is now over Select choose a location (on the map below you can set the radius)
  6. Then tap at the top right Ready and in the next window Continue an
  7. About Add action or you can choose from the action suggestions Open app from
  8. On the following page, tap in front of "open". App - Then you search for the desired app via the search field or the displayed list and tap on it
  9. Then tap on the top right Continue
  10. Check your entries again and then tap on the top right Ready

Many other automations are possible when arriving or leaving a location

You can have music play automatically when you get home. You can automatically open your notes when you are at the supermarket so that the shopping list is displayed directly. And much more. I can recommend you to try and experiment with different things in the Shortcuts app. You can't go wrong. And if something is not set to your satisfaction, you can adjust or delete the automation at any time. The latter goes in the overview by activating the automation swipe left and then on Delete is typing.

Tip: Allow the Shortcuts app to pinpoint location

In order for the iPhone to be able to forward the current location to the shortcuts app and thus to the automation you have created, you must give permission in the settings. I already showed you how this works in detail yesterday for the reminders app (here). Therefore, here are the instructions again in short form:

  1. Opens the Settings on your Apple iPhone
  2. Choose from the list Privacy from
  3. Then you type there Location services an
  4. Enable location services and tap in the app list shortcuts an
  5. Tap a dot under "Never" (depending on your preference) and enable the "Precise location" slider

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7 comments on “How to: Open the iPhone app when you arrive or leave a place”

  1. Hello everyone, I use the automation to switch the WiFi off and VPN on when I leave the apartment. Unfortunately, this doesn't work if the iPhone is locked: a message indicating that automations have not been executed appears on the lock screen.

    I don't want to deactivate the screen lock.

    Does the automation described also work with a locked iPhone?

    Thanks for your answer and the great blog!!!

    Greetings Klaus

    1. Hello Klaus! I thank you for your praise and would like to pass it on to Johannes, who writes so diligently here. However, I don't know the answer to your question. I've never used this type of automation before, but actually the iPhone can't launch apps if it's not unlocked. But that's just my thought. Unfortunately I can't say whether that's true. :(

    2. Hello Klaus,

      the things I've tried so far work with the screen locked. However, certain network features such as VPN activations may not be included. I can't verify that at the moment. As a workaround, you could unlock your iPhone before leaving the house and then set off. This means you don't have to permanently remove the screen lock.

      Best regards

  2. Thanks for the great instructions, but I would like to choose a non-specific location: e.g. hardware store - open the shopping list app or, if possible, hardware store reminder list (which should then be accessible together)

    Isn't something like this planned, or is it possible to do so?

    1. Hello Becker,

      Do I understand correctly that you generally want to set all hardware stores as triggers instead of having to select a specific one? I can't immediately think of a solution for this case. At most, you can enter “hardware store” instead of the address to see what’s available in the area. Once you know roughly which one you're going to go to, you can then decide on it. Or create the automation multiple times and enter a different hardware store each time. It is an additional expense, but perhaps profitable if you visit several markets frequently.

      What do you mean by shared access? That the shopping list also opens on other devices? As far as I know, this doesn't happen automatically. Unless the automation is also set up on the other devices. You can do general sharing or sharing of notes, reminders or similar things in the respective apps. This cannot be linked directly with the shortcut.

      Best regards

  3. Thank you very much for the quick and detailed answer.
    It's a shame that this isn't so easy to implement, so I'll ask the developers of the app.
    The idea is to have the shopping list (hardware store) displayed on the smartwatch when you enter the store (e.g. hardware store)...

    Whether this shopping list is made available via an app or reminder (at least if you can edit/share it together) would then be irrelevant

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