How to set up, configure, secure, and start using Siri

Complete guide to getting started with Siri

Siri is one of Apple's flagship features, a virtual, personal, digital assistant with a personality straight out of a Pixar film. If you've got an iPhone 5, iPod touch 5, iPad mini, or iPad 4, then you've got Siri! With Siri, you can do all sorts of amazing, time-saving things, from keeping in contact, to keeping on time, to keeping informed. But first, you may need to get Siri set up and up to speed.

Here are a few things you can do to help Siri along and shorten the learning curve for both of you.

How to use Siri

Using Siri is simple.

  1. Press and hold down the Home button until you see the screen slide up, the Siri microphone icon begin to animate, and hear a tone.
  2. Ask Siri a question or tell Siri what you want to do.
  3. Say "Options", or tap the i (information) icon to the right of the "what can I help you with" word bubble to see a list of available functions.
  4. Wait for Siri to process what you said. (It can take a while).

How to edit a Siri question or command

If Siri miss-heard you, you made a mistake, or you simply changed your mind, it's easiest to just tap the microphone icon and ask Siri the question or issue the command again. However, if you'd rather edit your original question or command, you can do that too.

  1. Scroll up to the word bubble containing your original question or command.
  2. Tap the word bubble. It'll turn white and a cursor will appear.
  3. Edit the text contained in the word bubble (like you'd edit text in Notes).
  4. Tap the blue Done button at the bottom right of the keyboard.
  5. Wait for Siri to process the new query.

How to enable Siri in the Settings

iOS will typically ask you if you want to enable Siri when you first set up your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or iPad mini. However, if for some reason Siri isn't already enabled, you can turn it on at any time in Settings.

  • Launch the Settings app from the Home screen.
  • Tap on General.
  • Tap on Siri.
  • Toggle the Siri switch to ON.

How to configure Siri

You can configure Siri to work in several languages, with or without voice feedback, to know your contact information, and to activate whenever you raise your phone.

  • Launch the Settings app from the Home screen. (Or tell Siri to "Launch Settings app!)
  • Tap on General.
  • Tap on Siri.
  • Tap on Language to change languages and dialects. Current choices include Cantonese, Mandarin (China and Taiwan), English (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States), French (Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Germany, Switzerland), Italian (Italy, Switzerland), Japanese, Korean, and Spanish (Mexico, Spain, United States).
  • Tap on Voice Feedback to choose whether Siri always talks back to you, or only when in Handsfree mode.
  • Tap **My Info* to select your Contact card so Siri knows who you are, what your numbers are, and what your locations are (so it's easier to say "call home, or give me directions to work").
  • Toggle Raise to Speak on to have Siri pop up whenever you bring your iPhone to your ear, and you're not on a call. (Note: Some believe this reduces battery life.).

How to secure Siri with a Passcode Lock

Since Siri is usually activated by just holding down the Home button, it can pose a security risk for the data on your phone. If you are security conscious and have activated a Passcode Lock for your iPhone, you may want to make sure Siri isn't allowed to bypass that lock. (It's less convenient, but that's always the cost of security.)

  • Launch the Settings app from the Home screen. (Or tell Siri to "Launch Settings app!)
  • Tap on General.
  • Tap on Passcode Lock.
  • Toggle Siri to OFF under "Allow Access When Locked".

How to get more help with Siri

How to set up, configure, secure, and start using Siri

If you still need help with setting up or using Siri with your iPhone Contacts, or any other Siri feature, head on over to our Siri Forum and ask away!

Note: This article is an updated version of a previous how-to, adding video as well as new features from iOS 6, and newly supported devices.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 2 comments. Add yours.

Corlynn says:

In the section about how to enable Siri, if it isn't already enabled, you suggest asking Siri to launch settings for you... Only Siri isn't enabled, so this is doomed to failure.

michaeljacksonforever says:

Can you please tell me the song used in the video. Please...