Siri: The ultimate guide
Everything you need to know about setting up Siri securely, and all the Siri commands for phone, email, messaging, alarms, timers, reminders, calendars, weather, music, maps, and more!
Siri is the name of Apple's virtual assistant with a personality straight out of Pixar. You ask Siri questions or ask Siri do to thing for you using your voice, just like you would ask a real assistant, and Siri will get to working helping you stay in touch, on time, and informed. There's even a related service called Dictation that lets you enter text almost everywhere with just your voice. Siri and Dictation are online services, so you need to be connected to the internet to use it.
Siri is still in beta, and is limited in the number of devices languages and locations it supports. Also, Siri is currently limited to the iPhone 4S, though Dictation also works on the new iPad and soon, the Mac with OS X Mountain Lion. Apple has announced, however, that Siri will be coming to the new iPad, along with several more languages, locations, and features with iOS 6.
We'll expand this guide to include all of that, and more, when it becomes available this fall. But here's what you can do right now:
- How to set up, configure, secure, and start using Siri
- How to call, message, and email your contacts using Siri
- How to set alarms and timers using Siri
- How to set reminders and update task and to-do lists using Siri
- How to create, view, update, and cancel calendar events using Siri
- How to create and update notes using Siri
- How to check the weather and view forecasts using Siri
- How to play and control music using Siri
- How to find Map locations and get directions using Siri
- How to search the web, get answers, and find restaurants using Siri
- Siri help forum
How to set up, configure, secure, and start using Siri
While in most cases you can start using Siri right out of the box, in some cases you may have to enable it first. There are also some settings you can configure, including ways to make Siri more secure. Since Siri can, if you choose, bypass your PIN lock and get to your contacts and other data, you should check out all your options and make sure you pick whatever blend of convenience and security makes the most sense to you.
- How to use Siri
- How to enable Siri in the Settings
- How to configure Siri
- How to secure Siri with a Passcode Lock
How to call, message, and email your contacts using Siri
Siri isn't a simple 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 SMS or iMessages and even email any of your friends, family, or co-workers simply by speaking their name -- or their relationship to you -- before the command.
- How to establish contact relationships with Siri
- How to add phonetic spelling to a contact's name for Siri
- How to manually add relationship data to Contacts
- How to get Contact information with Siri
- How to get a contact's birthday information with Siri
- How to phone call a contact with Siri
- How to send an SMS or iMessage with Siri
- How to send an group SMS or iMessage with Siri
- How to send an email using Siri
- How to send an email to multiple recipients using Siri
- How to find a friend with Siri
How to set alarms and timers using Siri
Siri ties right into the Clock app on your iPhone, which means if you want to be woken up at 7am, have a timer set for 10 minutes so the cookies don't burn, or find out what the hour is in Australia before you call, Siri can help.
- How to set an alarm with Siri
- How to set a repeating alarm with Siri
- How to show current alarms with Siri
- How to change alarms with Siri
- How to turn off alarms with Siri
- How to delete alarms with Siri
- How to set a timer with Siri
- How to show, stop, or re-start a timer with Siri
- How to change a timer with Siri
- How to find out the time, anywhere in the world, with Siri
How to set reminders and update task and to-do lists using Siri
Siri was designed to help you get things done, and part of that job description is creating and updating your to-dos and lists of to-dos in the Reminders app. If you need to be prodded to pick up milk on the way home, order that present in time for the big party, or set up that lunch meeting before the end of the day, Siri's there to help.
- How to create a time-based reminder with Siri
- How to create a location-based reminder with Siri
- How to create a Reminder in a specific List with Siri
- How to maintain a shopping list with Siri
How to create, view, update, and cancel calendar events using Siri
Since Siri is meant to be your personal assistant, it only makes sense to have it schedule and manage your meetings and events. Asking Siri to create a Calendar event only takes a few seconds and is much faster than creating them manually and entering all the data yourself. Whether you need Siri to schedule a meeting, tell you what's on the agenda for the, or move an existing meeting to another time to make room for a conference call or a power nap, Siri will help make sure your schedule is set.
- How to create a calendar event with Siri
- How to update a calendar event with Siri
- How to cancel a calendar event with Siri
- How to view and check your Calendar with Siri
How to create and update notes using Siri
Being a virtual personal assistant, of course Siri can take a note! In fact, Siri can not only take a note, but update them as well. If you need something that's more permanent than a reminder, something more like an idea you don't want to forget, or a draft you want to get down while you're driving, Siri and the Notes app are the perfect combination.
How to check the weather and view forecasts using Siri
Siri not only makes for a great digital assistant but a great weather forecaster as well. With a little help from Siri, you can make sure you're never caught without your umbrella, raincoat, or snow shovel again.
- How to check current weather conditions with Siri
- How to view a weekly weather forecast with Siri
- How to check the weather in a different location with Siri
- How to check sunrise and sunset times with Siri
- How to ask Siri other weather related questions
How to play and control music using Siri
Siri can help you access your music more easily than ever. With Siri you can play tracks, albums, and entires genres without ever having to open your Music app. If you're in the car, Siri also makes for a safe way to keep your tunes going while keeping your hands on the wheel.
- How to play a specific song with Siri
- How play a specific artist or album with Siri
- How to play a specific playlist with Siri
- How to play a specific genre with Siri
- How to shuffle music with Siri
- How to pause, play, and skip tracks with Siri
How to find Map locations and get directions using Siri
Siri isn't only your digital assistant, it can be your digital co-pilot as well, helping you find where to go, how to get there, and what else you can do along the way.
Right now, Siri location services are only available in the U.S., but come iOS 6 this fall, Apple will be expanding it to many more countries, and integrating Siri with new features, like iOS 6 Maps' turn-by-turn navigation.
- How to find places with Siri
- How to find local restaurants and businesses with Siri
- How to get directions with Siri
- How to find your way home with Siri
How to search the web, get answers, and find restaurants using Siri
If you need information, chances are Siri can help you find it. Apple currently enables Siri to search Yelp for restaurant info, Google (or Yahoo! or Bing) for general information, and Wolfram|Alpha for computational knowledge. You can use Siri to find anything you would normally type into a web search box, only there's no typing needed. Just ask, and you'll get back everything from the latest celebrity gossip to the answers to that nagging math questions to a listing of the best free apps for your iPhone.
- How to search the web with Siri
- How to get information with Wolfram|Alpha and Siri
- How to find restaurants with Yelp and Siri
How to check stock and exchange positions with Siri
If you have the need to check stocks or find out what the different exchanges are trading at Siri can help you do so and give you lots of up to the minute information about all your investments. Whether you want to find out if APPL is up, or the DOW is down, and by how much, Siri has you covered. (In terms of information, not money!)
How to get more help with Siri
If you still need help with setting up or using any of the features associated with Siri, head on over to our Siri Forum and ask away!