Top 5 secret Siri tips: How to add, find, delete, and do everything faster!

Become an iOS natural language ninja with this these killer shortcuts and time-savers for Siri!

Yes, sure, Siri's had some lingering reliability issues over the last couple years, but when it works, it works so well that it can save you an incredible amount of time and effort in getting things done. Adding things to apps, typing out text, even searching for things can require a lot of tapping, and involve a lot of frustration. Sometimes it's just easier to have Siri do what you say, rather than taking the time to do it yourself. And when you master some of the lesser known Siri skills, it can seem almost like magic.

1. How to establish relationships with Siri

Your iPhone doesn't just keep track of people, it can keep track of their relationships to you as well. Not only that, Siri can tap into those relationships to make everything from calling to messaging them a snap. After all, saying "call mom" or "what's my wife's birthday" or "show me email from my boss" is so much faster and more familiar than speaking out full names.

2. How to use Siri to quickly add stuff to Reminders, Alarms, and more

Manually tapping into and adding Reminders, Alarms, and even notes can be annoying. For a company that prides themselves on great software and fantastic user experience, Reminders especially is nowhere nearly quick enough to use by tap and swipe alone. With Siri, however, you simply say "add lasagna to my shopping list" or "wake me up at 8am" or even "Take a note", and off you go, no fuss, no touch.

3. How to use Siri to quickly find messages, events, and more

Depending on what you're looking for, Siri can be an incredibly fast way of finding it. Instead of launching an app and scrolling away, or pulling down Spotlight and trying to figure out the right search term, you can just tell Siri what you want. For example, Siri can quickly show you "all my email from yesterday" or "all my calendar appointments for September 10". You can even ask "what time is it in Cupertino" or "what's Apple's stock price today" or "how's the weather in Bermuda".

4. How to use Siri to quickly cancel and delete alarms, appointments, and more

Just like creating and finding stuff can be faster with Siri, so too can canceling and deleting it. Instead of launching the app, finding what you want to be rid of, nuking and confirming it, you can just tell Siri. "Cancel my 4pm appointment" or "turn off my 8am alarm" all work fine. And if you've built up a ton of temporal cruft over time, you can even use Siri to go scorched earth. Yes, "cancel all alarms" works fine too.

5. How to use Siri to win bets and influence people

Siri is tied into several other services, including major league sports, movies, Wolfram|Alpha, internet search, and more. That means it's not only a great way to get all your scores, rosters, schedules, cinemas, show times, casts and crews, and more, it's a great way to fact check almost any kind of information, at almost any time. You can even use Siri to book a fabulous dinner for two, and navigate your way right to it. "Who directed the Avengers" or "find me an italian restaurant" or "search Yahoo! for the best website named iMore" or "who scored the most points in the NBA last year" or even, after a successful dinner, "take us home."

Bonus tip: Even more to come in iOS 7

iOS 7 preview: Siri gets a new look, access to settings, more services, still no predictive results

With iOS 7, Apple has continued to add new partner-based services, but also given Siri its first redesign. Gone is the linen and beautifully rendered sports, movie, and other widgets, and in their places is the starker, more restrained interface. Siri's also getting new voices, the ability to toggle settings like Bluetooth, the ability to search Wikipedia, and hooks into Twitter.

Your top Siri ninja tips?

Those are our top 5 secret Siri shortcuts that make using the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad not only faster, but more convenient as well. If you've found other brilliant ways to use Siri, let us know how!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Ok, just one thing. How do you get Siri to understand you with something better than 50% accuracy? That would be a really helpful tip!
  • How do you get Siri to understand you at all?
  • Understand you at all... haha. Siri understands my 4 year old. It's not perfect but it's not that bad.
  • Kudos. Babies can do it, but adult can't. They should put it back in the box take it back to the store and get to can with string and give that a try.
  • Trying turning on the phone first.
    Might help.
  • I guess the mere fact that you can do what you do with Siri is so over your head.
    All of you.
    Go to google if all you're going to do is complain. Appreciate that we are this far in technology and Apple brought it to market first.
    What the hell is with all of you, babies. You want every fricking thing done for you. And if innovation doesn't live up to your specifications and screws up you act like your LAZY lives have been slowed down because of your inability to do the work yourselves.
  • thanks. this was helpful. i had no idea you could change stuff after you put it in.
  • Thanks Rene. This got me to try Siri again.
  • Good tips.
    Thanks for sharing them.
  • Siri is great for productivity but not as a conversationalist if you are bored. She remember's my wife and will facetime call her, remind me of her birthday, and other handy goodies that keep a marriage alive... but if I am bored and ask her off the wall stuff, particularly for an audience for a laugh... "Hey Siri, lets have sex..." She wants to google that. "Hey Siri, that was sarcasm." She doesn't understand well enough to even google. "Hey Siri, tell your dev folks to give you a sense of humor." It goes downhill from there. As a person who invested in an iPad, sometimes, I just want to play games and Siri should be just as "playable" as Tetris.