After using Siri for over a year now and finding the best way she functions in my day to day life, I started to ask myself if other users of Siri were utilizing her the best way possible, in order to get the best results. For the sake of this article I’ll refer to Siri as a she, even though IT technically has no sex and whose voice can be changed to a man’s in the upcoming iOS 7.
By providing some basic tips on the use of Siri, my hope is that your experience of having an intelligent personal assistant will be fully rewarding.
First things first bring up the guide, if you hold down the home button, you’ll hear the prompt and see the purple little microphone pop up and it will read “what can I help you with?” If you’ll notice there’s a little (i) on the right side, if you touch it, it will bring up a guide of possible questions you can ask. You can also just say “guide” and Siri will bring it up for you.
This list shows some app icons followed by a quick example of things you can ask Siri. If you touch each item on the list it brings you even more example questions that she responds to. This is very helpful, because it gives you an idea of the sort of questions to ask in order to receive a proper and helpful response.
This can save you a lot of frustrating experiences of not getting the proper results you maybe want or are looking for; you can avoid headaches by just asking the proper questions. Here is a list of items along with the number of example questions the guide provides.
Phone – Six examples, like “Call home” or “Facetime Emily”
App Launching – Three examples, like “launch photos” or “Open Google+”
Messages – Twelve examples, like “Read my new messages” or “Tell Susan I’ll be right there”
Calendar – Fifteen examples, like “Set up a meeting at 9” or “When is my next appointment?”
Sports – Fourteen examples, like “Did the Giants win” or “Which quarterback has the most passing yards?”
Maps – Thirteen examples, like “Find coffee near me” or “Give me directions home”
Twitter – Four examples, like “Tweet another beautiful day in Cupertino” or “Tweet with my location having a great vacation with Susan Conway”
Facebook – Three examples, like “Post to Facebook headed to the new Pixar movie” or “Write on my wall just landed in San Jose”
Restaurants – Five examples, like “Find a good pizza joint in Chicago” or “Good Mexican restaurants around here”
Movies – Fifteen examples, like “what comedies are playing?” Or “who directed finding nemo?”
Music – Nine examples, like “play my party mix” or “play walk by Foo Fighters”
Reminders – Nine examples, like “Remind me to call mom” or “Remind me when I leave to call Brian”
Email – Twelve examples, like “Email Emily about the trip” or “Mail dad about the rent check”
Weather – Eleven examples, like, “What’s the weather for today?” Or “How’s the weather in Tampa right now?”
Stocks – Six examples, like “What’s Apple’s stock price?” Or “What did yahoo close at today?”
Clock – Fifteen examples, like “set the timer for 10 minutes” or wake me up in 8 hours”
Contacts – Eleven examples like, “what’s Emily’s address?” Or “what’s my brothers work address?”
Notes – Four examples like, “note that I spent $12 on lunch” or “show me my notes from June 25”
Safari – Six examples like, “Google the war of 1812” or “search the web for best cable plans”
WolframAlpha – Sixteen examples like, “define mitosis” or “how long do dogs live?”
You now have 111 examples of questions you can ask, fitting them to your own real life requests and/or experiences.
Second, one thing that I see a lot of people doing is holding down the home button giving Siri a command then waiting for her to acknowledge that you’ve stopped speaking and then waiting for her response as she proceeds to retrieve or do the task you have requested. From my experience you can save yourself a little time by just tapping the microphone icon after speaking your request, and she’ll retrieve your information quicker, at least 4-5 seconds faster based on my personal testing.
Go ahead try this for yourselves, waiting first for her to respond without further tapping the microphone, and then try again tapping the microphone icon after speaking your request and see if it’s quicker for you as well.
Third. Keep things short. If at all possible ask or make a request with ten words or less, this way reducing the chances of her not getting everything right or missing some words in the process.
With the upcoming iOS 7 release this fall, you will be able to ask even more questions, you’ll even hear a different sounding voice, much more human than before.
Siri by no means is perfect but, she can be very helpful when utilized properly. Yes asking her funny questions will sometimes get a humorous or smart response but, if you really want to see her be useful follow these simple tips and see how surprisingly productive she can be for you.