Using Siri

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Using Siri

Siri is Apple's intelligent personal assistant that you can speak to in order to get things done. You can use Siri directly by holding down the physical Home button until the Siri microphone icon appears. (If you change your mind, you can cancel Siri by pressing the Home button again.)

You can ask for directions, look up contacts, search the Internet, schedule appointments, and look up baseball scores. With any app that uses the onscreen keyboard, such as Notes, Siri can take dictation -- Siri repeats the words you speak and enters them as text.

There are many useful actions you can perform with Siri, such as making a FaceTime call to a friend in your Contacts app ("FaceTime Sam"), using Message to send a message telling a friend you're on your way ("Tell Dave I'll be right there"), setting up a meeting in Calendars ("Meet with Tim at noon"), tweet your location ("Tweet love this restaurant"), and post your Facebook status ("Write on my wall going to California"). Siri is well versed in sports, movies, and restaurants; and connects with Yelp and Open Table and other sources to provide more information.

Siri Settings

To turn Siri on or off, choose Settings>General>Siri, and turn Siri on or off. You can switch Siri's language, switch the voice gender to Male or Female, set voice feedback to Always or Handsfree only, and turn on the Raise to Speak option in order to activate Siri by simply raising your iPhone to your ear (without needing to press the Home button).

You can also tell Siri who you are by tapping My Info and then choosing your name in the Contacts app. Siri not only uses your current location but also uses your contact information (such as your home and work addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail accounts) to fulfill your requests, such as "Show me how to get home from here." You must be connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi for Siri to work.

The more you use Siri, the better it will understand your natural speech. Siri learns your speech patterns and phrases over time as long as you leave Siri on. If you turn Siri off, it forgets everything and resets itself.

Making a Request

You can use Siri directly by holding down the physical Home button until the Siri microphone icon appears. The microphone shows a purplish-pink glow at the bottom, which indicates that it's listening. (If you change your mind, you can cancel Siri by pressing the Home button again.) You can start speaking right away -- the microphone glows in color from the bottom indicating that Siri can hear you.

Siri waits for you to stop talking before it digests what you said, or you can stop the conversation by tapping the microphone. You can also restart the conversation or reply to Siri by tapping the microphone. When you stop, Siri displays what it heard and provides a response. You can scroll up to see the entire conversation.

How Siri Replies to Your Request

If Siri doesn't understand what you said, it presents the Search the Web button, which you can tap to automatically launch Safari and search the web. You can also tap your request to edit it.

If Siri understands your request (such as "Remind me to take out the trash at 7:30"), it displays the response with a Confirm or Cancel button to confirm the action with the app (such as the Reminders app for the above request). You can tap Confirm or say "Yes" to confirm the action.

Getting Driving or Walking Directions

The easiest way to get driving or walking directions is to ask Siri. Hold down the physical Home button until the Siri microphone appears on the screen and say something like "Do you know the way to San Jose?" Siri launches Maps and provides the route from your current location -- you can tap the Start button in the upper-right corner, and Siri voices turn-by-turn directions.

Taking Dictation

Siri can take notes for you. Tell Siri something like "Create a note that says 'I spent $10 on breakfast.'" Siri creates the note as a new note in the Notes app.

To dictate to Siri, use an app that offers use of the onscreen keyboard (such as Notes) and tap the microphone button on the onscreen keyboard. You can start talking as soon as you see the Siri microphone. To stop dictation, tap Done. For example, you might say "Hello exclamation point can you hear me question mark," and the text, with punctuation, appears in the note. You can even dictate in another language by adding another language keyboard (see Using the Onscreen Keyboard for details on adding another keyboard).