Siri is Apple's virtual personal assistant. With the Apple Watch, it's available right from your wrist.

Siri uses your voice to activate and answer queries. As such, it doesn't require a keyboard or a ton of screen space. And because it's contextually aware, it can handle complex questions and commands. That makes it ideal for something like the Apple Watch, where it can often work faster and more conveniently than any other input method.

How to set up Siri on Apple Watch

Siri on Apple Watch is intrinsically tied to your iPhone: If you've ever turned Siri on for your iPhone, it'll automatically be activated on your Apple Watch. If you need to enable Siri, however, here's how to do it.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the Siri setting.
  3. Tap the On/Off slider to enable Siri for iPhone and Apple Watch.

How to use Siri on Apple Watch

There are two ways to use Siri: via the automatic "Hey Siri" command, or manually by pressing the Digital Crown. Whatever way you use to activate Siri, keep in mind that everything is processed via your iPhone: If you don't have a strong cellular or Wi-Fi connection, your Apple Watch will be unable to process your command.

If you're on cellular, Siri may also take a few moments to process properly; after speaking, Siri may prompt you with a quick "Hang on..." before getting your query. During this time, you can let your arm drop back to its normal position — your watch will tap you on the wrist when Siri has finished processing.

Unlike Siri on your iPhone, your Apple Watch is always silent when talking with you — you'll only see text in response to a query.

How to use "Hey Siri" on your Apple Watch

  1. Raise your Apple Watch to your face (or, if you have wrist raise disabled, tap on the screen to wake your watch).
  2. Say Hey, Siri followed by your query.

    Hey Siri

Note: Hey Siri will only activate in the first few seconds that your Apple Watch screen is on — if you're not getting it to work, keep this in mind!

How to manually activate Siri on your Apple Watch

  1. Press and hold the Digital Crown.
  2. State your question or command to Siri.

How to set up the Siri watch face on your Apple Watch with watchOS 4

New in watchOS 4 is the Siri watch face, which, in addition to easy access to Siri itself, offers quick, glanceable cards featuring information important to you.

  1. Raise your wrist or tap on your Apple Watch's display to activate it.
  2. Press firmly on your Apple Watch's display.
  3. Swipe to the left through the series of available watch faces until you get to the end.
  4. Tap the + button.
  5. Scroll through the list (it's alphabetical).
  6. Tap on the Siri watch face.

How to set up the Siri watch face using your iPhone

Of course, you can also set up the Siri watch face using the Watch app on your iPhone running iOS 11.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the Face Gallery tab.
  3. Tap Siri under the New in watchOS section or the Siri section.
  4. Tap the Add button.
  5. Tap the My Watch tab.
  6. Scroll to the left under My Faces.
  7. Tap Siri.
  8. Choose your Top Left and Top Right complications.
  9. Choose your Data Sources.
  10. Tap Set as current Watch Face to begin using.

How to manually activate Siri from a watch face in watchOS 4

Siri can be easily activated from the Siri watch face using that face's custom complication.

  1. Raise your wrist or tap on your Apple Watch's display to activate it.
  2. Tap on the Siri complication in the top-left corner of the new Siri watch face.
  3. State your question or command to Siri.

How to quickly and reliably trigger Siri

Thanks to room noise and other external factors, Siri doesn't always trigger reliably on the watch. Here are a few tips I've found for getting Siri to work more reliably—and not cut you off mid-sentence.

1. Force Siri to listen by keeping the Digital Crown pressed down

This trick completely changed my Siri usage for the better: While not required, I recommend continuing to hold the Digital Crown in while speaking your query, to make sure Siri understands your full statement. (This is especially helpful in noisy environments, where Siri doesn't always know when you're finished speaking.)

2. Make "Hey Siri" work more reliably with screen taps

To save battery, the Apple Watch only listens for the "Hey Siri" on screen wake. Unfortunately, that can make "Hey Siri" a little frustrating if you have your screen configured to wake on wrist raise and don't get the phrase out quickly enough. Instead, you can reset the process by briefly putting your palm over the screen to turn it off, then re-raising your wrist (or pressing on the display) to wake it, followed by "Hey Siri."

3. Wear your Watch with the microphone facing out

Having trouble getting Siri to understand you? You may want to try Craig Hockenberry's "Reverse Crown" orientation with your Apple Watch. This keeps the watch on your left wrist, but flips the digital crown to the lower left side. It also moves the microphone and speaker to the right side, getting them closer to your voice when you raise your wrist. (In colder climates, this also frees the speaker from being buried under layers of clothing.)

Everything Siri can do on your Apple Watch

Watch Siri may not be quite as full-featured as iPhone Siri, but your digital assistant can still do a bunch of tasks — and chat with its iPhone buddy when otherwise at a loss. Here's a quick overview of what Siri can (and can't) do on the Apple Watch.

How to use Handoff to switch from Siri on your Apple Watch to your iPhone

Siri Handoff on Apple Watch

Handoff lets you start an action on one device and finish it on another. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and... Apple Watch! There are some things that Apple Watch just can't do, given its small screen. But if you ask Siri, it won't give up. Instead, it will redirect you to your iPhone and "automagically" transfer your request.

You can quickly enable Handoff for your Apple Watch from the Watch app on your iPhone, if it's not already set up.

  1. On your iPhone, open the Watch app.
  2. Select the My Watch tab.
  3. Tap General.
  4. Scroll down to the Enable Handoff section and tap the switch to enable the feature.

    Setting up Handoff on Apple Watch

Once this is enabled, you'll be able to use Siri on your Apple Watch to ask for just about anything. If it's not a task the Apple Watch can handle, Siri will automatically offer to switch you over to your iPhone.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments.

Update June, 2017: Added new screenshots under "How to use 'Hey Siri' on your Apple Watch" and added a section for setting up and activating Siri from the new Siri watch face in watchOS 4