Do More With Siri Using The New iOS 7 Siri Commands

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If you find yourself fumbling with your iPhone to make a simple phone call, locate and launch an app, set a reminder or wake-up alarm then you’re probably not using Siri enough. If you still don’t know about Siri or you’re new to the iPhone or iPad, Siri allows you to issue voice commands on your device, saving you the trouble of all the tapping, typing, and searching by hand.

Siri was first introduced with iOS 5, back in 2010. We have covered what you can do with Siri, from calling people and making restaurant reservations to dictating messages and notes using the voice to text feature. In this article I highlight some of the new commands in the iOS 7 version of Siri, as well as suggest some tips for getting the most out of the feature.

Your First Siri Command

Your first Siri command couldn’t be easier. Whether your iPhone or iPad is in lock mode or not, simply press down on the Home button until you here the two-tone prompt and the new Siri screen comes up. If you don’t know what to say, you can tap on question at bottom-left of the screen to get a list of commands, or if you don’t speak for a few seconds a list of commands will appear on the screen.

Siri 5

The list of Siri commands you see are related to all of the default iOS apps. Tapping on a listed app gets you additional commands and questions you can use. But if you’re just getting your feet wet with Siri you might feel a little overwhelmed with the long list. I will highlight a few of the new and most practical commands you might should know about.

Siri 1

Phone Calls and Messages

Instead tapping and opening the Phone app you can simply tell Siri to call someone on your Contacts list, (for example “Call Brian”, “Call 911″, or “Redial the last number”). Since the iOS 7 update, you can now ask Siri to play your latest voicemail message which, believe me, is a lot faster than finding the Phone app and tapping on the message in order to hear messages. Simply say, “Play voice mail messages,” or “Play voicemail from [name].”

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Siri calls

After you use Siri for a while you’ll realize that you don’t have to issue commands verbatim as they are written in the instructions. You might say something like, “Play last voicemail message,” or “Play voicemail messages from last week.”

Voice Command Control Center

Turning off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you’re traveling away from home or your office can be a significant battery safer. You can manually turn off these and other Settings features using the new Control Center in iOS 7 (swipe up from the bottom of the home screen of your device). Or even better, you can tell Siri to “Turn off Wi-Fi”, or “Make screen brighter/dimmer” without having to swipe at all. Naturally you can also send a command to turn the features back on.

Siri Wi Fi

A few Control Center features Siri can’t handle is turn on the flashlight or change the screen orientation. It can though lower or increase the volume on your device.

Launch Applications

If you have lots of apps on your device, you no longer have to search for them in folders. Just tell Siri to “Open Evernote,” for example. If you send a generic command like “Launch camera”, Siri might ask you to specify which app you want to open, if two or more similar apps are installed on your device.

Siri lauch app

Play iTunes Radio Station

As you might know, radio stations are a new feature added to iTunes, and fortunately instead of opening the iTunes app on your device, you can simply tell Siri to play “iTunes Radio” or “Play [genre] station.”

Play radio station

Speaking of iTunes, you can also use Siri to play songs in the music library of your device, (for example “Play jazz playlist,” “Play songs by Miles Davis,” “Pause,” “Play”, “Skip”). These commands are very useful if you’re using your iPhone or iPod touch to play music in you car.

Twitter Searches

You can send Twitter updates using Siri (“Tweet: I’m reading MakeUseOf articles”), and now in iOS 7 you can search Twitter for tweets by a specified user or about a specific topic (“Search tweets by MakeUseof”).

Siri search tweets

Questions & Answers

Siri can now provide better answers to mathematical and factual questions such as “What’s the square root of 128?” or “How far away is the sun?”

Siri answers

Siri Settings

Now that you have some ideas about what Siri can do, you might want to open Settings > General > Siri and change the Voice Gender from the default female to male, or change to another language. Also notice where it says My Info. If you want Siri to be of more assistance to you personally, make sure the information about you in your Contacts card is up-to-date, including your all your home address and family relations. See this Siri article for setting up family connections.

Siri settings

Siri Does It Faster

I get the most out of Siri when I’m using my Apple earphones with the attached mic (or any iPhone-friendly earphones for that matter), which means I can send commands while at a stop light, or while I’m taking my afternoon walk. While there are other ways to automate your iPhone, Siri provides the best solutions for executing tasks with simple verbal commands.

Let us know how well Siri is working for you, and what features you would still like to see added.

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Comments (24)
  • Kyem G

    using siri in iOS7 has become much more amazing after the iOS7 update… I’m an Indian and have an Indian accent while speaking English, and siri recognizes it perfectly which my iPad had to learn previously in iOS6 but still if I need it to recognize Kolkata (my city), I need say Calcutta and it recognizes. And thanks for the enhanced tips!!!

  • Stephanie S

    Um, how come I can’t Tweet or “like” this article?

    • Tina S

      Stephanie, try to refresh the page. It works for me. Let us know if you still have trouble and whether it affects only this article.

  • Stephanie S

    Thank you so much for these tips on Siri. I really didn’t know how to use it since I have an older iPhone 4 (not 4s). Now that I have an iPad Mini (bought it a few months ago), I wanted to use it but wasn’t sure how or what. This helped a lot.

    • Bakari Chavanu

      Stephanie, congrats on getting the iPad Mini. You might also find the voice dictation feature useful for dictating writing on the device. When you want to dictate, tap the mic icon on the keyboard and dictate what you want to say and then tap, Done. It takes a little practice, but it works pretty well. And thanks for liking this article. If Tina’s suggestion doesn’t work for you, let us know.

  • K Faulkner

    . I sincerely enjoy reading, recommending and utilizing the website. And I do recognize my comments are redundant. But Siri was one of reasons I purchased an iPhone. I was disappointed using ios6 Siri. Now I find the feature completely useless with upgrade. Siri’s typical response is “I’m sorry I can not help with that right now. ” In location with 4 dots for coverage and 3G displayed. Just requesting to ring an individual. Perhaps it really user error. I felt compelled to express my opinion. Thank you for putting up with my rant. I do not possess any expectations of individualize technical Support ,

    • Bakari Chavanu

      K Faulkner, if you live near an Apple Store, I would schedule some time with one of the store clerks and see if they can help you with your iPhone, especially if you’re getting that error message a lot. I rarely get error messages, but I’m sure there some variables at play for how Siri functions.

  • susan

    Thanks for creating this article. You provide such great info; I always learn something new.

    • Bakari Chavanu

      Awe, thank you, Susan. I really appreciate the feedback. Hope Siri is being responsive to you, and saving you some tapping.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.