iPhone and iPad

Do More With Siri Using The New iOS 7 Siri Commands

Bakari Chavanu 25-10-2013

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 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More  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 A Complete Beginner's Guide to iOS 11 for iPhone & iPad Here's everything you need to know to get started with iOS 11. Read More 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].”

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 Getting to Know iTunes 11.1: From Radio Stations to Genius Shuffle Along with the release of iOS 7, Apple has also updated iTunes with several new features including iTunes Radio, Genius Shuffle, Podcast Stations, and a few changes to managing iOS devices. Read More 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 If You're Not Using Siri By Now, You Should Be Most of the commercials, jokes, and media hype about Apple's iOS voice assistant, Siri, have subsided, but I still run into iPhone users who don't take advantage of this powerful feature. Just the other day... Read More .

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.

For more utilities, check out how to toggle the flashlight on your phone How to Turn Your Phone's Flashlight On and Off You have several ways to turn on and off your phone's flashlight. Here's how to open the flashlight on Android and iPhone. Read More .

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  1. Kyem G
    November 12, 2013 at 4:44 am

    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!!!

  2. Stephanie S
    October 31, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Um, how come I can't Tweet or "like" this article?

    • Tina S
      October 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      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.

  3. Stephanie S
    October 31, 2013 at 5:23 am

    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
      October 31, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      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.

  4. K Faulkner
    October 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    . 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
      October 29, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      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.

  5. susan
    October 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

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

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm

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

  6. tvbonnie
    October 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I must admit that while she is not even close to perfect, she is still pretty cool. Mobile phones continue to impress and delight me.

  7. Kel
    October 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    In Ontario, and most Canadian provinces, it is illegal to wear headphones while driving

  8. josh
    October 28, 2013 at 6:36 am

    i like it when i say call mom and it says it can't help me right now :) sweet siri while i'm out with a great lte sig

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 28, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Josh, you might check out the Apple support site and see if others have found a solution to that problem. I've only heard Siri say that once, and when I issued the command again it worked okay.

  9. tvbonnie
    October 28, 2013 at 1:07 am

    I shall be much nicer to her, we all respond better to kindness.
    Thank you Bakari.

  10. tvbonnie
    October 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I am usually not on Wi-Fi when using Siri, I am usually in my car when I cannot type or look at the phone. I swear at her a lot. Maybe she is angry at me.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 28, 2013 at 12:12 am

      TVbonnie, swearing won't get you anywhere with Siri. Apple software frowns upon curse words, even in its dictionary. But seriously, I think Siri sometimes does require Wi-Fi connection to work on some questions/commands, so that may be why you're not getting the feedback you want. You have to be clear and direct about what you want. Be nice. Lol

  11. Skye C
    October 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you for those tips, I use Siri a lot already and the more I can use the right commands the less I yell at my phone like it was a person.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 28, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Most definitely, Skye. Anything that helps me do less tapping and clicking, I'm in favor of.

  12. bonnie
    October 26, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Siri very often tells me that she cannot help me right now.
    Is she on break?

    • Antriksh
      October 27, 2013 at 2:39 am

      It's very annoying. I get that about 40% of the time since iOS 7 came out. Works every time on the second try.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Hmm, are there particular type of questions or commands that get you that response? Also, sometimes that may occur when you have poor Wi-Fi connection?

    • JBL
      October 28, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Why add capability when the basics are still so bad? I'm on less than 50% response, no matter in wifi range or out on the road and regardless of what I'm asking. I have yet to have a day when she picks up every time.
      Siri doesn't love me any more. :(