Daily Tip: How to add phonetic spelling to a contact for Siri

Wondering how to get Siri to better understand and pronounce your contact's names? Sometimes adding phonetic spelling will solve the problem. A good example of this is my name. Siri is pronouncing it as A-lie, as in the cake is a lie. Here's how to set up a phonetic spelling to a name.

  1. You'll need to go into whatever contact card Siri is having trouble with. In this instance, I'm editing my own.
  2. Next you'll need to tap Edit at the top of the contact card.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click add field.
  4. You will see two fields that allow you to add a phonetic first and last name. Fill them out. In this instance I put "Alley". This seems to make Siri pronounce my name correctly.
  5. Once you are finished click Done to finish editing your contact card. You should now see the phonetic spelling of the name underneath the contact's actual name.
  6. Try Siri again. Your name should be pronounced correctly now.

Has Siri had issues pronouncing any names for you? Did adding a phonetic spelling fix the issue?

Daily Tips range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)

Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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There are 20 comments. Add yours.

M_Stephens says:

however much i try, and however many different ways of spelling my surname, Siri still says Steffans... No joy.
And strangely, on my iPhone 4s it just says first name, last name. It does not say phonetic first name, but it does on my iPad and iPhone 4 both running iOS 5? a little typo in the 4s version?

SJ says:

Maybe try "Steevins" or something not exactly found in the dictionary?

Clu says:

All you have to do is activate Siri and say "call me [prounce your name]" and she will do that moving forward.

Steve says:

one annoying problem with going with Phonetic Spelling... iOS insists on sorting by the phonetic name.

Morac says:

That annoys me as well. I originally entered people's Phonetic last names in, but since contact list ends up completely out of order, I ended up removing it.
The phone seems to recognize when I pronounce last names, even if it doesn't speak them correctly.
Edit:
Actually this bugs me so much, I filed a bug with Apple. :)

JayRoc#IM says:

Off topic. Is anyone else having problems with the app store?

Beth says:

No matter what I try, Siri wants to pronounce G names with a j sound. Ideas?

BenGie Cruz says:

this works pretty good for me!!! thanks Ally!

mw says:

"the cake is a lie" -- could the author have used a worse example?

Nicholas Heilweil says:

This doesn't work at all for me and refuses to pronounce my last name correctly. That coupled with sorting by the phonetic name and it's worse than useless!

Paolo says:

Hey clueless, "the cake is a lie" is common phrase popularized by the game "Portal" which has evolved to mean "your promised reward is merely a fictitious motivator." Betcha didn't know that

Pasquale says:

Hey clueless, "the cake is a lie" is common phrase popularized by the game "Portal" which has evolved to mean "your promised reward is merely a fictitious motivator." Betcha didn't know that

Dmrosanova says:

Nice try but no cigar. As typical of IT folks, you show the set up but do not show the "How to accomplish" this step. To me that's like buing an electric tool and not plug turning on the switch to use it. Specifically, what needs to be done to "Try Siri again"?

Dmrosanova says:

Nice try but no cigar. As typical of IT folks, you show the set up but do not show the "How to accomplish" this step. To me that's like buing an electric tool and not plug turning on the switch to use it. Specifically, what needs to be done to "Try Siri again"?

M_Stephens says:

At the moment this feature is only available in the US, not for Siri in the UK.. Hopefully soon, along with location based questions.

BHI21 says:

This does NOT work for any of my contacts. Is anyone else experiencing this and can offer a fix? I've tried a hard reset after I've updated the contacts, I've tried closing the Contact App out and restarting it. I have many contacts with the name Nguyen (which HAS to be one of the most commonly mispronounced names on EARTH!) and Siri will not pronounce it Win, no matter how many Phonetic Last Name fields I update!

free stuff without surveys says:

I think canceling cable for hulu is stupid.... Just sayin...

Rbkruspe says:

Forced Accessory bundles are stupid.