While I continue to wait for the mythical Tesla Model 3, I've leased a new Prius C for my daily driving needs. Sadly, it doesn't support Apple's CarPlay technology: Toyota currently uses its proprietary Entune system for multimedia interaction, which has its own, limited voice-activated assistant. But if you have a 2016 Toyota, you can use Apple's previous car technology — Siri Eyes Free — via a different button on your steering wheel.
What is Siri Eyes Free?
Before Apple debuted CarPlay, it offered a simplified connection called Siri Eyes Free for car manufacturers. Essentially, it's just a quick connection to Siri: Most cars can connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth, but querying Siri requires pressing your Home button or yelling "HEY SIRI!" in your car.
If your car supports Siri Eyes Free, however, you'll have a dedicated Siri button on your steering wheel or center console to trigger the voice assistant. Once your phone is connected via Bluetooth, you can chat with Siri by pressing and holding the button.
How to trigger Siri Eyes Free on a 2016 Toyota
Unlike other cars with Eyes Free, Toyota already offers its own dedicated voice assistant — and maps the voice assistant button on your steering wheel to that program. So, you have to use a different button to trigger Siri: The Phone Off Hook button.
- Turn on your Toyota.
If you haven't yet paired your iPhone to your Toyota's Entune system, do so now.
Press and hold the Phone Off Hook button to trigger Siri.
- Say your query.
How to trigger Siri on an older Toyota
Even if you don't have a 2016 Toyota with support for Siri Eyes Free, you still have a couple of options to trigger Siri wirelessly:
- If you have an iPhone SE, 6s, or 6s Plus, you can say "Hey Siri" at any time to trigger the voice assistant. Be aware, though, that the microphone won't be as good at recognizing your words if your car windows are open or you're jamming out to music.
- If you have an older iPhone, you can plug it into your car's USB jack (or a USB charger via 12V socket) to enable "Hey Siri".
- If you want a physical button, you can pick up something like Satechi's Bluetooth Button, which provides you with a Bluetooth-connected Home button that you can stick on your dash, steering wheel, or anywhere else you find appropriate.
Having trouble querying Siri in the car? Let us know below.
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