Hey, Siri! Did you know that Rene is my Boss?

Siri isn't just another voice control system, it remembers context and it can understand relationships. That means, for example, you can tell Siri to call your wife's iPhone, and Siri will know who that is and which phone number to dial. Not only that, Siri can send iMessages or SMS, and even email any of your friends, family, or co-workers. No matter how you like to communicate, Siri makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch.

How to establish contact relationships with Siri

Siri will need to either learn who your wife, best friend, boss, or other relationships are before it can associate them with the proper contact. You can edit the Contact to enter that information, but what fun is that? The easier, faster way is simply to tell Siri what your relationships are.

  1. Press and hold down the Home button or say, "Hey, Siri" to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri about a relationship. For example: "Rene Ritchie is my boss" — make sure you say the name exactly as it appears in your contacts. 3.Say or tap Yes when Siri asks you to confirm.

    Siri will confirm that the relationship has been added.

    Tell Siri your relationships

This works great for unique relationships but for relatives that have simliar titles, it can be a problem. If you have two daughters for instance, you'll need to assign them each a distinct relationship for Siri to differentiate between them. You can, of course, use things like "oldest daughter" or "youngest daughter".

How to manually add relationship data with the Contacts app

When Siri does get confused by multiple relationships, it is possible to manually add in the proper data in your Contact card so that Siri can make use of it.

  1. Launch the Contacts app.
  2. Tap on your contact card
  3. Tap the Edit button in the top right corner of the screen.

    Manually enter a relationship

  4. Scroll down and tap add related name.
  5. Tap the relationship type (by default, it will be "Parent").
  6. Select a relationship type. You can also create a custom label.

    Manually enter a relationship

  7. Tap the information button next to Related name. It looks like a circle with an "i" inside it.
  8. Select a contact.
  9. Tap Done in the upper right corner when you are finished.

    Manually enter a relationship

Siri will now remember that relationship. When you say something like, "Call my brother," Siri will call the contact connected to that relationship.

Privacy warning

Any relationships you add to your contact card are now part of that card which means if you send someone your contact card, all of your relationships will be part of that information. You can also create a second, relationship-free contact card to share with others.

How to get contact information with Siri

Siri can quickly find you the Contact information for anyone on your iPhone – far more quickly than tapping, scrolling, and visually picking them out typically allows.

  1. Press and hold down the Home button or say, "Hey, Siri" to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri the contact information you want to see. For example, you can say, "When is Amanda's birthday?" or "Show me Amanda's information."
  3. If there is more than one person matching your request, Siri will ask you to confirm which contact you'd like information for.

    Ask Siri something about someone

    This only works if the person's contact card already has the information listed. For example, if you don't have Amanda's birthday on her contact card, Siri won't know what it is.

How to call a contact with Siri

Siri can place calls to someone by name, or simply by relationship, and to any phone number you have. It works especially well when driving.

  1. Press and hold the Home button or say, "Hey, Siri" to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri who you want to call. For example, you can say something like "Call mom".
  3. If the contact has more than one phone number, Siri will ask you which number you want to call. If you know you want to call to someone's work or mobile phone, you can make it faster by saying "Call mom at work" or "Call mom's iPhone."

    Ask Siri to make a call

The call will take place as soon as Siri is prompted. So, make sure you really want to call someone.

How to send an SMS or iMessage with Siri

Siri can quickly and conveniently compose SMS and iMessages either to a single or multiple recipients. Just like calls, it's especially useful when driving.

  1. Press and hold the Home button or say, "Hey, Siri" to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri you want to send a text message to someone. For example, you can say something like "Text Heather I'll be late for dinner".

    If you don't say the contact or relationship immediately, Siri will ask you for a phone number, contact name, or iMessage-associated email address.

  3. Tap or say Send when Siri asks you to confirm the message. If you're not happy with the message, say "change it" to re-dictate it, or tap or say Cancel to abandon it.

    Ask Siri to send a text message

How to send an email using Siri

Messaging with Siri is not limited to just sending text messages; Siri can also send emails, both to individuals and to multiple recipients.

  1. Press and hold the Home button or say "Hey, Siri" to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri you want to send an email to someone. For example: "Send an email to Heather" or "Email Chris and Bobby".

    If the contact has more than one email address, Siri will ask you which address. If you know you are sending an email to someone's work address, you can make it faster by saying "Send an email to Leanna at work."

  3. Tell Siri the subject of the email. For example: "Apps", "Lunch", or "Vacation plans"

  4. Tell Siri the content of the email.
  5. Tap or say Send to send your email.

If you're not happy with the email, instead of confirming it, say "change subject", "add", or "change message". You can also tell Siri to "cancel" to abandon the email completely.

Note: Ally Kazmucha contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Originally published November 2012.

Updated June 2014 to reflect changes to iOS 7.

Updated September 2016 to reflect changes to iOS 10.