How to call, message, and email your contacts using Siri

How to call, message, and email your contacts using Siri

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 to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri what the relationship is. For example: "Matthew Kazmucha is my brother" — make sure you say the name exactly as it appears in your contacts.
  3. Say Yes or tap the Yes button when Siri asks you to confirm.
  4. Siri will confirm that the relationship has been added.

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 a differently 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 — located in the Utilities folder by default — or launch the Phone app and tap on the Contacts tab.
  2. Tap on **your contact card**.
  3. Tap the Edit button in the top right-hand corner.
  4. Tap to add a new Related Field — you'll have to scroll down a ways to find it.
  5. Enter the relationship type and type in a relationship name.
  6. Tap the info button and choose the contact you'd like to add to that relationship.
  7. Tap the Done button in the upper right hand corner.

Siri will now remember that relationship and saying things like "Call my brother" will now cause Siri to call the contact connected tp that relationship.

Privacy warning

Any relationships you add to your Contact card are now part of that card which means that if you email or message someone your contact card, all of your relationships will be part of that information. You may want to 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 to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri who's contact information you want to see. For example, you can say things like "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 you'd like information for.
  4. Siri will present you with the information you've requested.

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 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".
  4. Siri will place the call.

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 to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri you want to send a text message, and to make it even faster, to whom. For example, you can say something like "Text Heather I'll be late for dinner".
  3. 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.
  4. Wait for Siri to confirm the content of your text.
  5. Tell Siri to send your message by tapping Send or saying Yes.

If you're not happy with the message, instead of confirming it, say "change it" to re-dictate it, or say "cancel" to abandon it.

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 to activate Siri.
  2. Tell Siri you want to send an email and, to save time, to whom. For example: "Send an email to Heather" or "Email Chris and Bobby".
  3. 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."
  4. Tell Siri the subject of the email. For example: "Apps", "Lunch", or "Vacation plans"
  5. Tell Siri the contents of the email.
  6. Wait for Siri to confirm the content of your text.
  7. Tap Send or say Yes 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: Originally published November 2012. Updated June 2014.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 8 comments. Add yours.

kjparfekt says:

Unable to add relationships via Siri I guess because my contacts are synced via exchange gmail. Any solutions to this?

emjayess says:

I hope that is a fake birthdate...

paulthefencer says:

Well done Rene. I'm always looking for things that Siri will do. This was helpful. I like the Blackberry slam as well. Very funny.

noberrynomo says:

OK. I added my daughter manually, and for some reason siri saved it as my "Child", not my daughter. I added my son, again manually, and he is not in there at all. If i say call my son, it calls my "child". I removed the daughter from my daughter and just left my son. i still can't call him by saying call my son. It calls my child, which for some reason is STILL MY DAUGHTER. Real smooth siri.

bella405 says:

The same thing is happening with me... I was trying to set my moms phone up for her. Somehow I got it to add two children and it will ask which one it wants her to call. They need to fix it

-FlyingDucks- says:

Allyson wrote a nice quick reference here. Unfortunately Apple (tell me if I'm wrong) provides no way to send email and attach a PDF document from anywhere including iCloud or Dropbox.

Or do they?

ndogdrumz says:

I send texts through Siri all the time. It's one of the reasons I love using an iPhone. It's easy and effortless.

counterculture says:

One thing I hate about sending messages through Siri is correcting them. If Siri mistakes a word, I can't simply say "change XXXX to XXXX," I have to repeat the entire message or physically edit it in the Messages app (and that's only if Siri actually KEEPS the message instead of only taking me to the person's chat).

Sigh

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