How does Siri work with other apps? It's all about the integrations and the intents!

Since Siri was first introduced in 2011, developers have been clamoring for a way to use Apple's virtual personal assistant to control their apps as well. Hey Siri, call me an Uber! Hey Siri, Skype Serenity! Hey Siri, send Lory $10 for dinner! Has been a beautiful dream... until now! With iOS 10, Apple has introduced Siri apps. It's not a fully open, at least not yet, but it will let six types of apps integrate with Siri and make your iPhone and iPad even more convenient!

Can Siri control all my apps?

Not Yet! For example, Siri can't catch Pokemon for you... at least not yet! For now, Siri will work with six — technically seven — types of apps:

  • Ride booking
  • Messaging
  • Photo and video
  • Payment apps
  • VoIP calling
  • Workouts


  • CarPlay

If you're not sure about an app, just try it. Ask Siri to find something for you in the app. If it works, great! If not, Siri will say, "I wish I could, but (app) hasn't set that up with me yet."

Why only those types of apps?

Apple is emphasizing quality over quantity. They want to make really robust integrations that don't force you to speak in a certain way, construct sentences in a specific order, or constrain yourself to highly specific words. They want you to speak the way you naturally speak.

That means building out complex vocabularies for each type of integration and covering every potential way of addressing them imaginable.

Apple was able to get those six and CarPlay done and polished for iOS 10.0, but says more will be coming with future updates.

How does it work?

Siri app integration works with the idea of intents. Apps that fit in one of the applicable categories can describe a set of "intents", or things that they can do, and Siri takes care of the rest.

That means, unlike some other voice control assistants, you don't have to carefully parse your words or put things in a particular order. You can talk to Siri the way you talk, not the way the machine needs to listen.

The best part? So long as you're using one of the six types of apps mentioned above, they'll reply to Siri with the same kind of information-rich cards as the built-in features enjoy. That means you can ask any question and issue any command right in the Siri interface, just like you're used to.

What are some examples?

We'll have to wait until later this fall, when iOS 10 launches, to see everything developers have to offer, but Apple has offered some previews:

  • Pinterest: Find specific ideas you've saved: "Hey Siri, find women's fashion Pins on Pinterest."
  • Vogue Runway: Find collections from past runway debuts: "Hey Siri, ask Vogue Runway to show me photos of the Hermès 2016 collection."
  • Looklive: Find a "look" you've been crushing on: "Siri, show me photos of what Drake was wearing at the MTV Music Awards in Looklive."
  • Pikazo Pull up your favorite creations: "Hey Siri, show me a photo of my godson in the style of Monet on Pikazo."
  • The Roll: Find photos organized by artificial intelligence into keywords: "Hey Siri, show me my best photos of idyllic sunsets taken last summer using The Roll."
  • Square Cash Send money to a friend, to split the dinner bill or pay the rent: "Hey Siri, send Lauren $20 with Square Cash."
  • Monzo: Send payments you can authenticate with Touch ID: "Hey Siri, send Andy $10 for lunch."
  • WhatsApp Send messages to family and friends with the power of your voice: "Hey Siri, using WhatsApp, send a message to Georgia saying I'll be there in 15 minutes."
  • LinkedIn: Message to anyone in your network: "Hey Siri, send a LinkedIn message to Phil that says, 'Great meeting today.'"

What does that mean for my privacy?

Hey Siri!

Apple puts privacy and security first, that means that apps integrated with Siri get the questions you ask and commands you issue, but they don't get your personal data or any other data along with it. Apple does all the parsing and passes the intents on to the apps.

That gives you a lot of functionality without having to give up your privacy.