Secret Siri commands: Cool questions you can ask right now!

Siri is Apple's virtual digital assistant. It uses natural language voice control and sequential inference to listen to what you say, in the context of what you may have already said, and provide the best possible information or answer it can. Siri can help you stay connected, organize your life, and get thing done both professional and personal. It can also do a lot of cool tricks... all you have to do is know what to ask!

"Hey, Siri!"

On many recent iPhones and iPads, if they're plugged in, you can say "Hey, Siri!" to activate voice control, even if you're across the room. It's got Voice ID to try and make sure you're the only one who can command it too. On the latest iPhones 6s, you can enable "Hey, Siri!" even when they're not plugged in for easy voice control any time.

Put it on speaker

If you're using "Hey Siri!" to place a call, and want the call itself to be just as hands-free, you can do that as well. Simply tell Siri who you want to call and say you want the call to be on speaker. For example, "Hey, Siri! Call mom on speaker!" The phone call will start and you'll hear the ringing loud and clear, even from across the room.

Remember "this!"

Siri can now remind you of "this", where "this" is almost anything you're looking at when you invoke Siri. It can include email or text messages, web pages, even podcasts you want to listen to. Just say: "Remind me of this" and Siri will add it to Reminders with a link back to not only the app, but the specific content.

Roll the dice

Siri can help you get your game on, whether it's for random number generation, Dungeons and Dragons, and just plain fun. Simply tell Siri to "flip a coin", "roll a die" or even ask "Siri 8 ball". The die can have any number of sides you like, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20... even outlandish numbers like 37.

Find my photos

Sir now has access to the Photos app, so it can search for picture and videos based on time, place, album, and even person (if you've set up Faces in Photos for OS X). If your albums have event-based names, you can ask Siri to "Show me photos of Eddy from Karaoke in San Francisco last fall."

Goodnight, Siri

If you have HomeKit accessories you can use Siri to control your house. You can control specific accessories by name: "Turn off the kitchen light", enact scenes: "Game time", and even wind down for the day: "Hey Siri, goodnight!".

Zero cookies!

Siri has amazing sense of humor, and can show it off in the most unexpected ways. For example, ask Siri: "What's zero divided by zero?" Sure, 0/0 sounds like dull math, and what Siri shows isn't in any way exciting... but wait until you hear the reply! Then ask Siri "Why did the chicken cross the road...?"

The name's Bond...!

Siri will default to using your name and the name of your contacts. If you want to change that, tell Siri: "Call me 'honey muffin' " or "Gwendolyn is my mom". If Siri has trouble pronouncing a name or nickname, tell it: "That's not how you pronounce 'A Lie'!" and it will ask you for the correct pronunciation.

Do not disturb

If you were out way too late, if you need to get some work done and people just won't leave you alone, if all you want is a little peace and quiet, tell Siri: "Do not disturb". If you want to go nuclear, you can tell it: "Delete all alarms" and even "Airplane mode".

Are we there yet?

Not only can Siri take you where you need to go, it can tell you how long it will take you to get there. You can tell it: "Take me home" to get quick directions. "Walking directions to Starbucks" if you prefer sneaker to tire. Even "ETA" to find out how much longer you have to go.

Shopping lists

Siri is the faster way to add anything to a Reminders list, and that means it's the fastest way to add anything to a shopping, packing, party, or any other list. To get specific, tell Siri: "Add bacon to shopping list" or "Add bacon to packing list" (what?).

Mathamagics

Thanks to Wolfram Alpha, Siri is great with numbers. For simple math, ask Siri: "What's 10 times 10?" or "What's the square root of 50?". For tips, ask: "What's the tip on $100". For conversions: "How many kilometers in a mile". For chance, tell it: "Flip a coin" or "roll the dice".

What birthday...?

Instead of excusing yourself, racing upstairs, jumping out the window, and tearing off to the only open Quicky Mart, ask Siri: "When's Kelly's birthday?", then: "Set a reminder" for the date or, f it's already too late: "Buy an iTunes gift card!".

Directed dictation

When you're telling Siri what to type, you can dictate punctuation like "comma" or "elipses", symbols like "hashtag" and "copyright sign", and even emoticons: "smiley" or "winky". You can format with "new line" or "new paragraph", prevent formatting with "hyper no space space", and get loud with "ALL CAPS".

Keep current

Siri can set reminders, make appointments, send messages and email, Tweet or post to Facebook, but it can also keep you up to date. Ask Siri: "What time is sunset in Cupertino?", "What's the weather in London?", "What's on my calendar?", "Planes overhead?", "Pictures of the Golden Globes", or "Trending on Twitter".

Fact checks

Siri can quickly settle arguments, bar bets, and flat-out fights. Ask Siri: "Who starred in the Matrix?", "Who won the last SuperBowl?", "What did Apple close at?", or "How many calories are in a Big Mac?". And if you're wrong and end up paying for dinner or a movie, Siri can find you tickets and book a table at a restaurant as well.

Do over!

If Siri gets something wrong, or if you realize you asked the wrong question, you can tel Siri to: "Change" things like dates and times. You can even tap the question you asked and manually type in different words to alter the query.

Chit chat!

Siri has a sense of humor. Kids can talk to Siri like a virtual friend. Kids of all ages just have some fun. You can give Siri all sorts of pop culture references: "What do you think of Google Now?", "tell me a joke", "read me a Haiku", "can you beat box?"

Topical teases

Because Siri is a service, Apple can update it any time. That means special occasions like Christmas or even special events like the announcement of the next iPhone. Keeping with the character, the replies are almost always short, sweet, and meant to make you smile.

Hit the music!

Siri has full-on integration with Apple Music. You can tell Siri to play any song—or any cover of a song—as well as any station. You can access Beats 1, shuffle your tunes, get top lists from any musical era, and more. There's so much we had to give Siri for Apple Music it's own list!

Watch it!

If you've got an Apple Watch, then you've got Siri on your wrist as well! Simply lift the watch to your mouth, say "Hey, Siri!" and tell it what you want. Siri for Apple Watch can't do everything Siri for iPhone can do, but it can handoff to your iPhone if you want to do more. Again, there's so much we've made a list just for Apple Watch!

More shortcuts!

There's a lot more you can do to make your workflow faster and more convenient!

Updated January 2016.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

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.

91 Comments
  • I've tried that damn 'planes overhead?' 'What planes are overhead now?' 'What planes are currently over ?' And it never works. She just shows a web search where the results talk about how Siri can tell you which planes are over head :| Sent from the iMore App
  • Not sure why it isn't working for you, but it's working for me: http://www.runfola-photography.com/photos/i-PF8KkPG/0/X2/i-PF8KkPG-X2.png Maybe this feature is carrier-specific?
  • I said what planes are over my head it worked
  • A couple of weeks ago, I saw a large vapor trail overhead, wondered what was plane was making it, asked Siri "What planes are flying overhead?", and within a couple of seconds was shown a list of airliners and private planes. Among the list was QF 7, a honkin' big A380 nearing its decent into DFW nonstop from Sydney. Damned impressive if you ask me.
  • Do you have location services enabled?
  • Yeah it didn't work for me eather
  • Here's one I see listed. Ask Siri the following questions:
    "Do you have any cousins?"
    "Do you have any sisters?"
    "Do you have any brothers?"
    "Do you have a mother?"
    "Do you have a father?" There's only a couple answers (I think) but ask all the questions in case you don't trigger them all with only two.
  • Try saying, "Search Wolfram Alpha for planes overhead"... just did it... worked.
  • "Hmm can't seem to find anything about that on wolfram alpha" Sent from the iMore App
  • That worked. Thank you. Sent from the iMore App
  • ETA would be a lot cooler if I didn't have to actually be navigating. I often wish, while commuting, I could ask "ETA to work" and get an estimate without navigating (which I wouldn't be doing on my routine commute).
  • Just say "how long will it take me to get to "x""... Never mind, that's Google Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • FYI, it works via Siri too.
  • I was having Siri give me directions to my sister's house...in Ohio.
    My sister texted me to ask how long before I would get there. I texted back that I had no idea.
    The I remembered Siri. "How long before we get there?"
    Siri told me, and I told my sister. Nice!
  • There is an app, called "ETA", that tells you how long it will take you to get to a few of your favourite places, without navigating, if that is any help. It has a watch app, too ( which is how I discovered it)
  • Ask Siri “What are the latest headlines?”
  • Will Wayne ever get that Challenger Hellcat?
  • "Siri - will Wayne crash his Hellcat 20 minutes after buying it?"
  • The 8 Ball says.... No way!
  • First and foremost, I have been driving for work much more lately (new job) and I use the "Hey Siri" function all the time. Thanks for putting this article together. Directed Dictation Grammar alert!
    "ellipse" is mathematical (it's like an oval)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipse
    "ellipsis" is grammatical (looks like three periods)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis Confusingly, the plural of both words is "ellipses", but you would be talking to either a typesetter or psycho grammarian to actually use ellipsis in the plural, whereas mathematicians and physicists use ellipse in the plural all the time (celestial orbits are often elliptical).
  • Yesterday night I saw the moon was beautiful and I was driving, so I just asked Siri "What's the phase of the moon right now?" it replied correctly.
  • Siri - execute General Order 24.
  • My favorite - ask "what does the fox say?"
  • My wife hates that! Sent from the iMore App
  • Roflmbo! I love it! Sent from the iMore App
  • "Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!"
    WTF?
  • "You will never know. The secret of the fox is an ancient mystery." Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes, because that's really useful Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Thanks for the great tips Rene!!!
  • I've posted it before and submitted bug reports- when I tell Siri to write a new message to [a contact], "Tell [the contact] I'll be there in 15 minutes." Siri (almost) always skips the part of reading it back to me. Very irritating in the car. It happens on or off bluetooth. I've tried changing the Voice Feedback to Always, switching it back & forth, turning off Siri, rebooting the phone, everything I can think of short of a completely fresh iOS reinstall.
    .
    Also, if I say "convert 3inches to centimeters" Siri usually returns with a "here what I found on the web" without telling me the answer. I then ask, "What is 3 inches in centimeters?" Siri usually tells me the answer.
    But of course, I try the first sentence right now and Siri replies with the answer. Sent from the iMore App
  • I have had the same issue, it seems to be Dependent on if you press the home button for asking Siri to send a message versus using the Bluetooth headset button to do so.
  • Also, I want back "Raise for Siri/dictation"
    Sometimes I'm in a loud crowd where the speakerphone will be worthless. Or I don't want anyone else to hear my business over the loud speaker. Screw the stupid "Raise to send audio message" ... in iMessage only. Waste of a "gesture". Sent from the iMore App
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? Sent from the iMore App
  • "Search me."
    LoL
  • Siri gives a decent reply to that question....a quote from Einstein Sent from the iMore App
  • I can't send a Tweet using Siri on my 6. Changed privacy settings. Still no luck. Sent from the iMore App
  • Is your Twitter account logged in in settings?
  • My favorite is saying "Okay Glass"
  • The poor thing Apple will not allow Siri mapping or find locations in New Zealand so its not much good and hardly any one use Siri because of this also Siri doesn't understand very well Kiwi or Australian.
  • See below
  • The most useful one I use about every day that many people don't know about is :
    "Set timer for" ___ "30 minutes". Or whatever time you want.
    Enjoy
  • Did you guys know Siri can rate songs?
  • Ask Siri "Why are Firetrucks red?" pretty epic answer
  • Priceless Sent from the iMore App
  • #11. "Read us a birthday story"?!?! Anywhoo, I've only gotten that to work once out of hundreds of tries while using Siri to entertain my 2 year old daughter. Sent from the iMore App
  • I once asked Siri to sing me a song and she began to say the lyrics to The Wizard of Oz song "If I only had a brain". Getting through one verse, she said "If I only, Hey, wait a minute"….. Cracked me and my wife up pretty well.
  • I forget Siri even exists until someone brings it up. Sent from the iMore App
  • LOL I'll make sure I try these on my new iPod touch 5G :) Sent from the iMore App
  • What a garbage article. Nothing new here..and not worth trying. =/
  • I never hear anyone mention this but you can also use siri with all kinds of other services that use the CALDAV protocol. I use it all day with Remember The Milk. This allows me to use a much more powerful service than IOS reminders. Here is how you do it. https://www.rememberthemilk.com/services/siri/
  • Siri is usually pretty smart about it too. "Add Milk to my shopping list" and it adds "Milk" to my list titled "Shopping". Seems simple enough, but it's worked since day one. Sent from the iMore App
  • Hey, RC46... The instructions say that "Calendars" must be turned OFF. Won't that also close all of my calendar reminders, etc.? That doesn't seem like a great trade-off to me. :/
  • I guess I am not really understanding you. All your calendar reminders will still work as they always did. Unless you are saying you already have a CALDAV calendar setup for RTM that you currently use? I'm pretty sure that's not even possible.
  • Nice Sent from the iMore App
  • Damn good ones Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm interested to find all commands for siri and google
  • In the Podcasts app, while playing you can say "skip ahead 3 minutes" or "jump back 30 seconds", don't tell Leo I skip the ads. A few other verbs work like advance, reverse, etc. Does not work in Music or Audible (of course), would be REALLY a nice to repeat sentences in books. -Mike
  • Use it all the time. Hint: don't say "Fast Forward", it almost always gets it wrong. Stay with "Skip 3 Minutes". This is great for skipping commercials.
  • Ritchie, I've discovered something a while back that makes Siri much smarter when it comes to location based commands. Maybe you can make a tutorial article regarding setting location based reminders using SIRI... So here it goes: Every contact on your phone has attributes that you can add like addresses, nicknames, emails, phone numbers, relations, and the list goes on and on. So when you want to ask "Siri, notify me when my wife gets home" she will be able to if you put your wife's home address (hopefully it's the same as yours, lol) into her contact info. So this got me thinking: what if I add Home Depot to one of my addresses under my Own Contact Info (marked by "me" on the contact list). After typing in my local Home Depot address fields, I changed the "work" or "home" label to "Home Depot" by creating a custom label. Taped "Done", and evoked Siri "remind me to get nails at the Home Depot" or "remind me to get screws when I arrive/leave the Home Depot" -- You get a confirmation that now automatically sets: Get screws
    Arriving: Home Depot Then she asks "Shall I create it?" Yes/Confirm/Cansel/No/Change It, etc... This works for grocery stores, starbucks, (you name it), and the cool part - you can specify which one...
  • Forgot to note: this is basically a feature where you can specify the grocery store that you shop at for Cortana's database - that they said Cortana can do, but Siri cannot; and all this time it was as simple as adding your favorite places to your own contact info...
  • Rene as always love the tips but mainly wanted to let you know I like the new presentation in a slide format rather than scroll down. I've seen several new topics on iMore done this way and I like it.
  • I got one http://imgur.com/QpvwVGX
  • It's easy to get better when you've been the worse forever.
  • Personally I think Google Now is the worst. All it has ever done for me is bring up a Google Search page. Never an actual result. I do like the News Cards in Google Now based on my interests though. That's all I've ever used Google Now for successfully.
  • You're doing it wrong Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • With the new news app I wonder how long it will be before Siri reads me the news on my way to work.
  • Yes! That would be so awesome!
  • Recently Siri hasn't been able to recognize members of my family. Can someone confirm if it works for you in iOS 9. Try asking to text your wife or something.
  • Works for me (iOS 9.0.2). Make sure your relationships are setup in your contacts. Not sure if this require you to use iCloud contacts. I think I've heard previously that you can also tell Siri - "My wife is...". Although I've never tried this.
  • Thanks for reply. The problem was google contacts. I had to unsync than resync them and it works now again.
  • Hi.. Siri (India) doesn't remind about messages, or anything in the noticifications bar. Please help. Using 5s. iOS 9.0.2
  • This only works with devices like iPad 4 or newer. I have an iPad 3 and I spent quite a bit of time trying to find out why it was not working on my iPad. No one seems to ever tell you this, but finally I found the answer. iPad for or newer.
  • There are a ton of comments, so I'm not gonna be able to read through them all right now, but there was a problem that we ran into an iOS 8, and it changed how we were able to listen to our music. We used to be able to say "shuffle all songs," but we found that that stopped working. The workaround now is to say "shuffle all music," and it will shuffle everything in your music library. That problem, unfortunately, carried over into iOS nine, but that workaround still works. I absentmindedly said "shuffle all music" one day, and it worked, so I continued it on several devices several times, and it worked every time, not just once here and there, like "shuffle all songs" did. It's funny, how when you aren't thinking about it, you can find a workaround for one of your most frustrating problems without even trying.
  • Doesn't it opens a security issue to have Siri change the phone to airplane mode? I deactivated the control center to avoid anyone to activate airplane mode in the case of loosing my device, if anyone can activate the airplane mode through Siri then chnanging that setting is useless.
  • So if manually change a word or two of what I said, does Siri learn just as if I said "that's not how you pronounce ____" ?
  • Wow this is really great to read the comments. Didn't know they added so much more. Mine is just "call me master" it's got an answer for that. I use "remind me this later" all the time from notes. Turn on Low power mode. Today. Read me my messages. Sent from the iMore App
  • When is the world going to end?
    Siri: As long as you keep me charged, we should be just fine. http://www.irepairsandiego.net
  • If you want to be put down ask her to divide 0 by 0.
  • I love Siri and use this function often on my iPad. I'm really hoping the newer iPads will have hey Siri available without having to be plugged in. I tend to leave my iPad plugged in most of the time in order to access this function and I'm not sure that's really good for the battery.
  • siri what is going to happen to ask jeeves
  • "Hey Siri beatbox for me" and.....you're welcome :) Sent from the iMore App
  • I wish Siri could play Podcasts. If I say play after pausing a podcast it starts playing a song. It would sure be nice to be able to say play podcast macbreak weekly.
  • Boring day, huh? Only half of those work half the time Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Thanks for the excellent article, Rene. These were very useful tips, most that I would have never have thought of being able to ask Siri.
  • Here's one that cracks me up. If you say to Siri, "I'm drunk, call me a cab," she'll say, "OK, from now on, I'll call you "A cab," OK? I get why... but it's still funny.
  • Typo in 14- You meant an "ellipsis" (...) not "ellipses" (The plural of both ellipse and ellipsis)
  • If I can Find a Certain Picture on My phone with Siri How can I if the Photo Does Not have a Name to It
  • I used Siri to ask "why did the chicken cross the road?" And all Siri could say was why are humans obsessed with chickens and wood chuck? Apple really needs to improve Siri to the level of Google Now, I hate to say it as I love the iPhone but Siri has fallen behind Google Now and even Cortana now. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm dying to know what the proper response is to a nonsensical question in your example. I agree that Siri is fast to answer with a joke but at least offer a real example. I wish she would just read more of the Wolfram Alpha results instead of displaying a page of text. At least Siri should ask by default if it should be read out loud or not.
  • Maybe one day Siri will answer some useful questions and be able to help my kids with homework. She barely knows any historical figures, some basic math and very little historical data. Knows next to nothing about astronomy but can do basic questions like "how far is the sun from Earth". But ask her something silly and she right there.
  • Here's a couple of funny ones... Ask Siri to rap for you. Also, ask Siri the question... "Who let the dogs out?"