Make the most of Siri

Matt Blowes April 30, 2015 Technology, How To

Siri is now much more useful and powerful than when it was introduced in 2011. Apple has been introducing new features with each iOS update since and iOS 8.3 is no exception.

You may have already played around with Siri for a few days only to never use it again. But recent updates have made Siri significantly more useful, particularly when driving. Here's our quick guide to Siri and you can see why it is worth giving Apple's intelligent personal assistant another try.

Can I use Siri?

Siri is available on: iPhone 4S and newer, iPad 3rd generation or newer, iPad mini (all generations) and iPod touch 5th generation. Siri also needs an active internet connection to function.

Activating Siri

There are now a few ways you can start talking to Siri.

  • Hold down the home button until you hear two beeps. Siri will listen for your command.
    • Headphones with a remote and mic work in the same way by holding the centre button. Bluetooth headsets work by holding the call button.
  • Hold down the home button and speak until you’ve finished your command.
    • This method prevents Siri from cutting you off mid-command.
  • Saying “Hey Siri.” will activate Siri handsfree but only if your device is connected to power. However “Hey Siri.” will also work if Siri is already on the screen but not currently listening for a command.

CarPlay

You can now use Siri handsfree and wirelessly in your car with iOS 8.3. Your vehicle will have either come with CarPlay support or by installing a compatible aftermarket console. Find out more how to activate CarPlay at Apple Support.

siri commandsPersonalising Siri

Siri is a useful tool out-of-the-box but it will become more intelligent over time. Siri does this by learning more about you. To allow Siri to do this you have to tell it who you are by associating your phone with your own contact listing. You can say this directly to Siri or by manually going into its settings.

You can find these settings in: Home Screen > Settings app > General > Siri

Commands

Siri now has too many commands and functions to list here but it can usually do whatever you ask it. If not, Siri should suggest an alternative option or let you know it is unable to comply.  Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Song/Audio Identifier - “What song am I listening to?” (Shazam users will be familiar with this function)
  • Maps - “Show me how to get home” (Siri has complete maps and directions integration in Australia)
  • Social Networking - “Send a tweet” or “Tell Facebook”
  • App Launcher - “Open Facebook”, “Open Photos”
  • Phone - “Call …”, “Call home”, “Call Steve on his mobile”
  • Text and iMessaging - “Tell Steve I’ll be there in an hour”, “Text mum that I’m on my way”
  • Calendar - “What’s next on my calendar?”, “Change my 3pm appointment to 4pm”
  • Restaurant, movie and other activity searches - “Find me a Thai restaurant nearby”, “Where can I see the Avengers Age of Ultron?”
  • Music - “Play my ‘working out’ playlist”, “Skip this song”, “Play iTunes Radio”
  • Reminders - “Remind me to take out the rubbish on Monday at 6pm”
  • Weather - “What’s the weather like tomorrow”, “Do I need an umbrella tonight?”
  • Alarms and Clock - “Set an alarm for 7:00am”, “Cancel all my alarms”, “What time is it in New York?”
  • Settings - “Enable Wi-Fi”, “Turn off Bluetooth”, “Make the screen brighter”
  • Questions - “Who is the Prime Minister of Australia?”, “How many pounds is $50 worth?”

Unfortunately Siri is unable to show Australian sport scores. You will be unable to search for info on your favourite, AFL, NRL, Cricket and A-League scores. EPL, American sports (NBA, MLB, NFL) and some international soccer scores, including World Cup qualifiers and games are available.

Other helpful tips:

  • Location-based Reminders are particularly useful and accurate. If you save a location tagged to you or another contact, it will function. Eg, “Remind me to call my sister when I get home”, “Remind me to pick up milk when I leave work”.
  • Siri works by speaking to it normally, but if you want to dictate a message or any other type of text you will have to say punctuation marks where needed. To type “Hey, how are you?” say “Hey comma how are you question-mark”. This also applies for emoticons, "Hey smiley-face" = "Hey :-)"
  • If you find a lost iOS device, you can ask Siri who it belongs to and contact details may be presented to you to help return the device.
  • If Siri doesn't record your command or question correctly, you can edit it by tapping it. This can help Siri remember for next time.
  • If Siri isn't saying something right, you can correct it. "Hey Siri, that is not how you pronounce ...".

Sources: Apple, ARN, CNET

Siri® is a trademark of Apple Inc

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