iPhone and iPad Mac

If You’re Not Using Siri By Now, You Should Be

Bakari Chavanu 27-03-2013

should i use siriMost of the commercials, jokes 10 Funny Videos Featuring Siri On The iPhone 4S The iPhone 4S has been a huge success, despite the fact it's not much of an improvement over the iPhone 4. Hence the 4S in the name rather than a 5. The biggest draw for... Read More , 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 I had to actually try to convince my 15 year-old daughter about how she could set a reminder on her iPhone, by simply raising her iPhone to her ear, and telling Siri to remind her to read chapter 12 of her philosophy textbook, on Thursday night. This type of reminder can easily be done with no tapping and typing.


Despite the many things Siri can’t do at this stage of its development, its voice command capabilities will improve over time, and more of its mobile features will be integrated in the Mac operating system. We will be sending more sci-fi-like commands to our computers, and doing a lot less typing on the keyboard, as James shows in how to get Siri to say what you want How To Get the Siri Voice & Make Her Say Whatever You Want Whether you're creating audio clips for your own weekly technology podcast, or looking to write your own Siri spoof videos - having the Siri voice on your Mac is awesome. Let me show you how... Read More . It’s much faster than typing to tell Siri to set appointments, display driving directions, or call someone in your Contact list. And for writing purposes, it’s always faster to use voice dictation Stop Typing: Better Learn To Dictate Text with Dragon Dictate for Mobile Devices [iOS] Nuance's iPhone apps, Dragon and Dragon Search have been available for free download for over a year now. Since then, the company has added a few other similar voice to text apps to its line... Read More .

So if you haven’t been using Siri much, let me explain what it can do.

What Can I Help You With?

If you want to quickly know what Siri can do, push and hold the Home button on your iPhone or iPad, and when the Siri panel pops up, tap the circled “i”.

should i use siri

You will get a guide list of how Siri can help you, and how it works with specific iOS apps, including Maps, Twitter, Facebook, Movies, Mail, and Contacts. You can also send the command, “Help me” to get at this guide.


Now tap the arrow for say the Phone app, and it will show examples of phone related commands, e.g., “Call home,” “Call 408 555 1212”, “FaceTime Emily.” For the Music app, you can tell Siri to “Play some blues,” or play a specified song title or playlist. These and other music commands are especially useful if you’re listening to music using your Apple remote earphones 4 Nifty Things Your Apple EarPods Headphones Can Do The Apple EarPods that come with your iPhone actually have a lot of use. Here's everything you can do with your iPhone headphones. Read More .

should i use siri on ipad

You can’t harm your iPhone or other iOS device while learning to use Siri, so when no one is around, pull up the Siri guide and practice some of the listed commands, and what you learn from this article.

Setting Up Siri

Siri works right out of the box, but you can, as with most software, set preferences for how you want it to perform. Open the Settings app on your iOS device, and tap on General > Siri. You can first see that you can disable Siri, but you probably shouldn’t do so, because if you disable it, you will erase any previous information stored on Apple’s servers that Siri uses to respond to your requests.


should i use siri on ipad

You can also set which language you want to use with Siri, and whether or not you want to hear Voice Feedback from Siri. If you would rather not always hear back from Siri, disable the feedback, but I don’t recommend this when you first start using it. However, if you want to use the device in a public place, you can shut off voice feedback so you don’t draw attention to yourself. In this case, you might select to set the Hands Free voice feedback when you’re using it with your device’s earphones. To use Siri with your iPhone’s earphones, simply push and hold on the remote control button of your earphones until you hear the familiar Siri sound.

I would suggest leaving the Raise to Speak feature enabled, because that saves you the trouble of pushing the Home button of your device to start up Siri. When you raise your iPhone (Raise to Speak isn’t a part of iPad) to your ear, you will hear the Siri alert that indicates it’s waiting for a command.

Lastly in Settings, make sure your personal information in your Contact list is added. This information was probably added when you first set up your phone.


Making Connections

One of the coolest and perhaps easiest features of Siri is the ability to tell it to call someone. You can activate Siri, and say “Call [say person or company’s name]”, and Siri will dial the number for you. It’s that easy.

But let’s set up Siri to make some personal connections. Send the following command to Siri: “My wife [or husband] is [say her name].” If you send this command clearly, Siri will add that identity as part of your Contact information. After this is done, you can send the command, “Call my wife,” and Siri will know the name of the person you’re referring to. If your wife’s work number is listed in your Contacts, you can say, “Call my wife’s job.”

should i use siri on ipad

Open your Contacts list and locate other relationships you would like to create, such as “My doctor is [say her or his name as it is listed in your Contacts], “My hairdresser is…”, or “My son’s school is….” Just be sure the information you’re identifying is in your Contacts list.


Siri may need some help understanding unique names. For example it couldn’t at first pronounce my name, “Bakari” correctly. If you run into the same problem, tap on the Edit button in your Contacts info, scroll down and tap “add field” and then select, “Nickname.”

why use siri

In the nickname field, try to type the phonetic spelling of your name. Typing “Ba-kar-e” worked for me. Note also that a nickname can be anything you want, such as “Master,” “Sexy“, or “Super Mom.” Siri will use your nickname when addressing you. This type of nickname setup can also be used for any of your contacts.

Wolfram Alpha vs. Search Engines

As you probably have seen in the iPhone commercials for Siri, you can have Siri look up information for you on the internet using by default the Google search engine. You can say, “Search for vegetarian pasta recipes,” or “Search Wikipedia for Abraham Lincoln.”

Siri also uses another service called Wolfram Alpha that provides specific answers to queries, instead of giving you lots of articles and other documents to search through. So say you’re in a store and you want to know the amount of percentage savings you will get on a product sale. You can, for example, raise your iPhone to your ear and ask, “What is 15% of $86.74.”

should i use siri

You can ask all types of factual questions, such as, “How many dollars is €45?”, “How far away is the Sun?”, or “Who’s buried in Grant’s tomb?” If the results of your query can’t be found on Wolfram, Siri uses Google’s search engine instead.

By the way, you can change the primary search engine that Siri uses by going into Settings > Safari > Search Engine, and change it from Google to Yahoo!, or Bing.

Other Commands

Pretty much any searchable information you need, Siri can try to find. Other things you can say:

  • What is the weather forecast for San Francisco this weekend?
  • Driving directions from here [current location] to the nearest gas station.
  • Directions back home [it uses the address in your Contact information]
  • Set an alarm for tomorrow morning.
  • Launch [say the name of an app in your device, such as “Photos”]
  • Text [say a contact’s name] and then dictate your message.
  • By tickets for the movie, [say the name of a movie]

Say “Good Bye”

One last tip for Siri – anytime you’re using Siri you can say “Cancel” to stop the process, and start over. If you want to quit completely out of Siri without pushing the Home button, just say “Goodbye,” “See you later,” “Bye“, or some similar command.

Siri is going to misunderstand Siri, Why Don't You Understand Me? [INFOGRAPHIC] One of the best things about an iPhone 4S is the Siri speech recognition app, but as I have increasingly noticed, it doesn't seem to like me and my Scottish accent (cue lots of moments... Read More you probably 5-10% of the time, but the more you use it, the more it learns your voice, contacts, and frequent commands. If you’re a frequent Siri user, let us know about your experience with this advanced voice feature. And if you’re new to Siri, what are some commands you’re trying to figure out?

Related topics: Siri, Speech Recognition.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Marek S?owikowski
    April 3, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Siri is very poor comparing to app installed in Amazon pad. If Siri will be more intelligent, I will use it.

  2. Stephen Pardy
    March 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Great (overwhelming) tips. Is there a concise Siri Manual pdf I can download? Thank you.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 28, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Stephen. I don't know of a concise guide on the internet. But there are a couple of books on the subject you can purchase from Amazon. Maybe MUO should publish a guide.

  3. Daniel Joshua
    March 28, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Siri has been integrated into iPod Touch 5g isn't it?

    Could some one tell us the experience you had with Siri in iPod?
    I honestly think that Siri is certainly helpful to iPhone users and for the iPod touch users.

    Android's Jellybean Voice Search is great as far as I know. Would Siri beat it in the forth coming years?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 28, 2013 at 4:28 am

      Good question, Daniel. I don't have an iPod touch, and be interesting to read how Siri works on that device.

  4. Max
    March 27, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Are you serious? I find an intro to jQuery UI on the same page as this??

    I don't think MUOers are that stupid.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 28, 2013 at 4:28 am

      Max, what do you mean?

      • moaex
        March 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

        I just think that people don't need an article to know how to use siri. That's just me, though.

  5. bassybeats
    March 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Siri is rubbish outside of the US. I live in New Zealand and I can't use maps, or use Siri to find things close to me because NZ is not supported, not sure why they even let you use it in a country it doesn't support.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 28, 2013 at 4:27 am

      Thanks for letting us know this. It's always interesting to hear how the devices and features are doing in other countries besides the U.S..

    • Liam
      September 21, 2013 at 4:25 am

      It's true, I live in New Zealand too, and same thing, it's pathetic, I paid good money for this, I want to be able to use all of it's features.

  6. dragonmouth
    March 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    When Siri tells me "I'm afraid I cannot let you do that, Dave", I will know for sure that the machines have taken over. :)

    • Tim Brookes
      March 29, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      This is an actual thing that Siri used to do, but now whenever I try it I get "Oh, not again" so I assume this has been asked a lot.

      The old "how much wood would a wood chuck chuck" tongue twister works too.

  7. Chris Marcoe
    March 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I've tried using Siri, but my Android just ain't having it.

    Though, I know my daughter loves using Siri. Especially for directions, calender events, and things of that nature.

    Also, the fact that 15 year old girls are learning philosophy scares me to no end...

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 28, 2013 at 4:26 am

      Smart girl, your daughter.