Siri is the personal assistant that Apple introduced with the iPhone 4S and iOS 5. Now, with the recently released iOS 8, Siri is smarter and faster than ever. I personally use Siri everyday. I like that I can speak to Siri using normal sentences and in normal tones. For the most part, Siri can accurately interpret what I am saying and will respond with the information I am requesting.
If you are new to Siri, here are some of the basics of how to access and activate Siri.
There are two primary ways to access Siri (this is the same for iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad 3rd and 4th generation, iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPod Touch 5th Generation). You can either push and hold the Home button for a couple of seconds (my preferred method) or lift the phone to your ear when it is on (I can’t always get this method to work). When you see the silver circle with a microphone pop up at the bottom of the screen and hear two beeps, that means Siri has been activated and is listening to your request. Once you have completed your request, you can tap on the soundwave line or just wait for another double beep (at a lower pitch the second time). A silver circle will spin around demonstrating that Siri is thinking. Then, you will get your results. To have Siri listen to you again, simply tap on the silver circle with the microphone. You can also activate Siri by holding down the inline switch on your EarPods or push and hold the answer call button on a bluetooth earpieces (works with many but not all).
Here are some tips to help you effectively use Siri in iOS 7 and iOS 8:
1. Setting up Siri
One of the important setup pieces with Siri is to let Siri know who you are. The first step in this process is to open up the Settings app. Tap on General –> Siri. Make sure Siri is on. In the Siri settings you can set your default Language, whether or not you want Voice Feedback (I recommend this being on “Always”), your personal info, and whether or not you want the “Raise to Speak” feature on (this will activate Siri whenever you have the phone screen on and raise it your ear). The important thing here is to set your personal info. To do this, you will need to make sure that you have yourself listed in your contacts on your phone. Be sure to include your phone number, your home address, your email addresses, and even your work address and phone number. The more info you include in your contact, the more Siri will be able to assist you with. Once you make sure you have yourself in your contact list, tap on “My Info” in Settings –> General –> Siri. Then, select your name from the list of contacts. Now Siri knows you personally.
2. Introducing yourself to Siri
Once you have set “My Info” in Settings, you can tell Siri what you would like to be called. You can say something like “Call me King Doug” and Siri will respond by saying, “You would like me to call you ‘King Doug’?” Then, anytime Siri addresses you, this is the name used. You can also tell Siri who your spouse is, who your family members are, and even who your boss is, if you want. For example, you can say, “My wife is Anya” and Siri will respond with, “Do you want me to remember that Anya is your wife?” From that point on you can say things like, “Call my wife” and Siri will automatically dial your spouse’s mobile number.
When you add your home address and work address, you can then say things like, “Take me home.” Siri will automatically launch the Maps application and take you home from your current location (and most of the time the map is accurate too :). When Siri knows your home and work address, you can also set location based reminders using Siri. For more on location based reminders (geo-fence), click here: How to use Siri to set Location Based Reminders.
If you have a name that is difficult for Siri to pronounce, you can navigate to your contact info on your phone and scroll down near the bottom to tap on “Add Field.” Then you can add a “Phonetic First Name” or “Phonetic Last Name” to your contact info. For more on how to set up a phonetic name on your iPhone check out this tutorial on iMore.com: How to Add Phonetic Spelling to a Contact for Siri.
3. Siri gets to know you
Over time, the more you interact with Siri, the more Siri gets to know you. Siri gets to know the way you talk and continues to improve the interpretation of the things you say. There are times that you might need to reset Siri. If so, just turn off Siri in Settings –> General –> Siri. Then turn Siri on again. Keep in mind that there is no way to recover all of the personalization that happens over time with Siri if you do the reset.
4. Having fun with Siri
- “Tell me about yourself”
- “Are you male or female”
- “Open the Pod Bay Doors”
- “What is the best Smartphone”
- “Show me the money”
- “Why did the chicken cross the road”
- “Are you married”
- “Guess what”
- “Sing a Song”
- “How old are you”
- “Happy Birthday”
- “What’s wrong with AT&T”
- “I’m so tired”
- “What does Siri mean”
Do you have other personalizations or fun things you have asked Siri? If so, let us know in the comments. Hopefully these tips will help you know how to best use Siri.
For additional articles on Siri, click on any of these links:
- How to get Siri to set a wakeup alarm and a timer on your iPhone, iPad (Mini), and iPod Touch
- Use Siri to add appointments to your iPhone/iPad calendar and automatically invite participants
- Ask Siri: Did you know that Siri in iOS 6 can give you nutritional information on most foods?
- How to create a custom reminders list in iOS 6 and use Siri to add items to that list
- Special Offer on Siri Book (30% off)