Siri, the personal digital assistant now found on all iOS devices, including your new iPhone, has come a long way since it was first introduced on the iPhone 4S. These days, Siri can do a lot more than just look up information online for you; it can help you with a wide range of tasks. Best of all, the more you use Siri, the more it will get to know you and your habits and preferences, and the more it will be able to tailor results and suggestions specifically to you.
To activate Siri, just hold down the home button and the Siri interface will appear. Alternatively, if you’re using iOS 9, simply say “Hey, Siri.” As for what you can ask it to do, here are a few suggestions:
- Post to social media.
If you’d like to send a tweet or post a status update to Facebook, Siri can help you out. Start with the verbal command “Post to Twitter (or Facebook),” then dictate your post. You can send it once Siri confirms the message. A useful option if you’re someone who likes to keep your social media platforms up-to-the-minute when you’re out and about.
- Search for tweets.
Siri doesn’t just send tweets for you; it can also search Twitter to find specific or relevant tweets. As anyone who has ever spent time scrolling through a Twitter feed can attest, this is a time-saving feature. Just ask Siri to search Twitter for a specific subject or person, and it will respond with a suggested list of matched tweets.
- Create reminders.
If your spouse or parent is tired of having you always ask them to remind you about something, Siri is going to be your new best friend. Asking Siri to create reminders for you is a simple but very useful feature. Use the command “Remind me to […],” and Siri will automatically add what you dictate to your iPhone’s Reminders app.
If you’d like to get more detailed, you can use Siri to create time-specific reminders (“Hey Siri, remind me to pick up my daughter from school at 4 p.m.”), or location-specific reminders (“Hey Siri, remind me to pick up orange juice when I get to the grocery store”). Best of all, your reminders will automatically be replicated to any other iOS devices you use, so you’ll always have access to them.
- Create events.
Siri is an expert at adding events to your calendar. Just ask it to create an event with a particular title, such as “dentist appointment,” and Siri will confirm the details and automatically enter it into your Calendar app. Siri can also move or reschedule events, add people to particular events, and tell you what events you have booked for a specific day or time.
- Make calls and send texts.
Do you need to phone someone from the car to tell them that you’re running late? Now you can do it safely and hands-free thanks to Siri. Just tell Siri who to call; you can also specify that the call be made on speaker. That way, if you’re driving, your eyes never have to leave the road and your hands never have to leave the wheel.
Siri can also retrieve your call history, notify you of missed calls, check your voicemail, and redial the last number called. When it comes to sending text messages, the same easy hands-free principle applies: simply dictate your text, confirm, and send. (Siri can also read received text messages out loud to you.)
- Make restaurant reservations.
Siri is able to connect directly to OpenTable, the online system that an increasing number of restaurants are using to manage their reservations. This can make the process of booking a table much more convenient. Siri can search OpenTable for your chosen restaurant and date to see if there are reservations available. Once the options are displayed, simply tap the time you want to reserve.
- Identify a song.
If you’re out and about and you hear a song that you like but don’t recognize, you can ask Siri to help you out. Just say “Hey Siri, what song is this?” Siri will “listen” until it identifies the song and will display the title and artist for you (often accompanied by the option to purchase the song from iTunes).
- Flip a coin.
One of Siri’s less well-known abilities, the flip a coin/roll the dice/pick a number feature is certainly funny, but it can come in very handy if you have trouble making decisions. All you need to do is ask Siri to “Flip a coin,” etc., and it will display the results of the coin toss or dice roll.
- Tell you what to ask about.
To get a full overview of the extent of Siri’s abilities, just say “What can I ask you?” An extensive list of categories will pop up that you can review to find examples of all the functions that Siri can help you with in each.