in iOS, iOS Tips

Siri is a surprisingly powerful beast. For a long time I avoided Services such as Siri, Google voice search and Samsung S-voice because I personally saw no need to dictate where I often just wanted to quietly (and secretly) type in a message rather than have a whole train hear me. However, I’ve come to realize that actually using Siri can be really useful, time saving and easier than tapping away on the screen, especially with cold winter weather around or when driving.

Maybe you already use siri or have never used it before. Either way here are some “hacks” to help you get more from Siri.

1. Use Siri To Learn A Language

This was a tip I picked up from my day job as an English as a foreign language teacher. If you are learning a language then it can be really hard to get practice speaking. This probably contributes to pronunciation being one of the most difficult areas to get a hand on (though debatable it isn’t that important as long as you are understandable, many people don’t like having an obvious accent when speaking a foreign language).

By setting siri up in the language you are learning you can practice speaking basic instructions and you have to make sure that Siri can understand you. Of course, Siri is still limited in the language that it knows so if you want to learn Swahili…you might be in for a wait.

2. Easy Messaging

Driving a car or out in the cold and want to send a text message? Normally you’d either need special gloves or to break the law but by using Siri you can simply tell it to “tell [insert contact’s name] [your message]”. No need to take your hands off the steering wheel or out of their pockets.

3. Add An Appointment Correctly

Adding appointments should be a nice and easy task by the syntax of Siri can lead to some confusion where appointments get added incorrectly. The biggest problem (and help) is you can’t add everything all at once. As such it’s best to add the person and the location at the start and then add the time as you can do that later.
This means you should say

“Set up a meeting [with who] [at/in where]”

Alternatively if the topic is vitally important then you can add that at the start by saying “set up a meeting about [topic]“.

Don’t forget you can ask siri to change details as you arrange the event such as

“Add [insert name] to my meeting”
“Reschedule my meeting to [time]”

4. Set Up Raise To Speak

Raise to speak is one of those handy features buried in the settings of your iPhone. All it does is register when you put your phone to your head when you aren’t making a call and activate siri. What’s more, it will direct siri through the phone’s normal speaker not the loud speaker. This means it’s less conspicuous and makes you look less crazy and speeds up accessing Siri. Don’t worry if you have a phone call it won’t activate.

activate raise to speak on siri

5. Use Location Based Reminders

If you need to do something when you leave your house (say pick up some milk) or want a reminder to call someone as soon as you get home or to work then simply set up a reminder on Siri with that location. You can even use locations like “when I leave here”
(When I leave/when I get to …)

6. Connect Siri Reminders To Omnifocus

If you are an Omnifocus 2 for iPhone user and you like adding tasks from Siri then you can set up a list from reminders that will sync to omnifocus (this must be done in omnifocus not via siri) Just create a list (for example “omnifocus” or “inbox”) then via siri add a task to your list. It will go into your inbox where you can sort it.

7. Share A Joke

Of course the easter eggs in Siri are infamous and if you’re feeling down in the dump, why not make use of getting a handy joke from Siri or mess about seeing what reactions you can get from it.

Bonus Tip 8: Read The Instruction Manual

When you open up Siri there is a little question icon on the bottom left. If you click it, you get a list of the instructions that you can use on Siri. Spending some time reading these will help you not try and tell it to do something it doesn’t understand.

siri comands

There are more uses to Siri, far too many to list in one post but some of these functions will really open up more possibilities on your phone and help you to do more, more easily with it.

Do you use? Siri? What for or why not?

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