Help with very creating simple shortcut

Can anyone help me set up a shortcut where I can send a text message to multiple at the same time? Or even better through WhatsApp, if possible.

I am a teacher and I need to contact parents often through SMS or WhatsApp in a fast way on my personal iPhone and/or iPad. But I don’t want to put all the parents’ contact information in my private phone.

I hope this makes sense and that someone can help me make a simple shortcut that I can multiply for each student in Siri Shortcuts.


One simple option would be to store the parents’ phone numbers as a dictionary entry. Here is a simple example that you can build from:

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(It’s probably better to post in one place only at first, so readers don’t duplicate one another. Then move over if you want other input. It’s not a problem, though)

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It might not necessarily be wrong to cross-post it, but it’s probably better to centralize replies in one location. I’ll reply over on the MPU forum thread for this question.

A bit of a tangent, but please do be mindful to comply with your local security policies and requirements about storing such such data on a personal device. I don’t think this would be permitted in the UK.

For example, I think for my son’s school, for emergency contact purposes on trips they have to have a printed list (arguably less secure in some ways) of contact details and use a handful of school mobile phones that are issued for the trip. I’m pretty sure the school’s data protection requirements around associating contact details with a child’s name would not extend broadly to a teacher’s personal mobile.

I suspect in some locations it could be very easy to inadvertently land yourself in a difficult position if you haven’t confirmed data handling procedures and requirements where children are in any way involved.

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Especially if one is electing to send messages using WhatsApp.

Seriously, why is this still a thing ?

I agree with @sylumer Alas, I don’t enforce or make the rules where I work so I can’t really change it, although I have made the management aware of this issue.
Thank you for your concern, and I can assure you that I’m not sharing any sensible information, which still doesn’t make it less wrong, yet I try to accommodate my school’s lack of enforcement on this issue with my need to contact parents in a fast and reliable way. Again, thanks for your concern and I will bring it up again, guaranteed.

Here the situation is slightly different, maybe. Teachers cannot get phone numbers from the sschool records and put them on their devices, and can only make calls to numbers in the school records from school phones. However, if the parents give the teacher the number directly, all bets are off even if it’s the same number.

So, with my kids there were some teachers who we communicated with primarily over iMessage, but only because we gave them the number directly (or we initiated a iMessage conversation to their number in the first place).

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If you’re happy for Apple to have information about your kids sent to and from you and the school, then you can mask your number by using an email alias that’s registered with your AppleID to send and receive iMessages for that account.

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Apple has no information on my kids or the content of my iMessages. I think you need to look into how iMessage works.

Technically Apple holds the encryption keys for iMessage. Their policies are obviously privacy focused, and they would have to specifically go looking or have something in place that automatically decrypt; which would be a foolish thing to have given their position.

Apple and iMessage is probably analogous to a bank that holds both a safety deposit box, and the key to it. They may not know what the contents are, but they could take a look if they wanted/needed to.


It’s actually a little more complicated than that. AIUI Apple holds a copy of each unique key for each of your devices that is signed in to iCloud, but those keys are encrypted at rest with your iCloud password. It is not realistically possible for Apple to access those keys, though it is technically possible.

It’s a lot more secure than “Apple has access to all your messages."

I agree. It is secure as long as you fully trust Apple to behave responsibly, which is why I originally used “technically” in my post above.

There are various aspects that have potential for exploitation. Apple can reset forgotten passwords, can hold iCloud backups containing messages, could add devices/secondary keys temporarily to your account, have not disclosed the encryption code they employ, etc.

The technicalities and comparisons against alternative services has come up in many discussions on the Security Now podcast (TWiT Network) and I would recommend that for some in depth discussion on “trust no one” vs. “Good enough” around this point so as not to take this thread on too much of a tangent.

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