Digital Crave

New to Siri? Here are the 10 best things to try

View photo

.
Siri tips tricks best

By now you’re well aware of Apple’s Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant built-into the latest iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices from Apple.

In fact, Siri has even seeped into pop culture, be it a hilarious Big Bang Theory episode, celebrity endorsements and no shortage of YouTube shorts, parodies and songs (be sure to watch Siri: The Horror Movie).

You probably know about Siri’s funny responses to questions like “Where can I hide a dead body?” and “What’s the meaning of life?” – but there’s so much Siri can do to help you stay organized, productive and in touch with those who matter.

Want examples? How about 10 of them. Whether you’re new to Siri or haven’t yet experiemented with what “she” is capable of, the following are my favorite tips and tricks (shameless plug alert: I wrote the book, Siri For Dummies).

Reminders by Location

It's a breeze to ask Siri to remind you of something by time -- such as "tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., remind me to call the dentist to book an appointment" -- but did you know you can set reminders by location, too?

For example, hold down the Home button on your iDevice and ask Siri something like this: "Remind me to call Mom when I leave here." Whenever you leave wherever you are -- such as your office, a coffee shop or shopping mall -- Siri will remind you to call your mom. Your iPhone's integrated GPS means it's location-aware.

Alternatively, you can say "Remind me to take out the recycling when I get home." Because Siri knows where your home is (you might be asked to tell Siri this info once) you won't be reminded of the chore until you pull into the driveway.

Siri Can Read Your Texts

Many Siri users are aware that they can dictate their text messages or e-mails: Simply press and hold the Home button and say something like "Text Greg Black, Please don't forget to call the florist for tomorrow's event."

But did you know you can have your text messages read to you? Simply press and hold the Home button on the iPhone and say something like "Siri, read my texts." After Siri reads a message to you, you can say something like "Reply saying that's an excellent idea, thanks" or "Tell her I'll be there in 20 minutes."

You can also ask Siri something like "Do I have any texts from Mary?” -- and Siri will find them if they exist.

Post to Facebook, Twitter

Updated a year after Siri debuted, the latest version of your personal assistant now lets you post to Facebook or Twitter using your voice.

To post a status update to Facebook, via Siri, press and hold the Home button on your device and advise Siri what to post to your Facebook status by beginning with the words "Post to Facebook." Therefore you might say "Post to Facebook ‘The only thing I love more than Siri is the book Siri For Dummies.’" You'll see the words you said, and now you can say “Yes” to post it or tap the Post button.

For Twitter, the process is similar. Press and hold the Home button on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and say "Post to Twitter," followed by what you want to tweet out to the world. After Siri shows you what words you said -- and be sure to review it -- you can say "Yes" or "No" when you're asked by Siri if it should be posted to Twitter.

It's a Verbal Calculator, Too

Siri includes support from Wolfram Alpha's vast database of facts, definitions, and even pop culture information (go ahead and ask Siri who Justin Bieber is).

But you can also ask Siri to perform math problems for you, too. This comes in handy when you’re out with your significant other or friends at a restaurant and the bill comes. Let's say the bill comes to $200 and there are three of you. You can ask Siri something like "What's an 18-percent tip on $200, for three people?" and Siri will tell you everyone owes $12. Naturally, Siri can also handle multiplication, subtraction, equations, fractions, and more.

Find Your Friends (The Ones You Like)

If you're not familiar with the free Find My Friends app, it taps into your iPhone's GPS to provide your geographical location to people you choose to share this information with, such as a spouse, kids or friends. After you add consenting people to your list, you can see their whereabouts on a map (each person represented by a colored orb) and get the street addresses if you want.

You probably saw this one coming: You can use Siri to get the most out of the Find My Friends app. Press and hold the Home button and ask Siri "Where are my friends?" The app will open and you'll see who's around and how far they are from you. Now you can send someone a message like "Let's grab a latte."

You can also ask Siri something like "Is my wife at home?" or "Where's Jack Glass?" or "Find my sister."

Ask Siri to Play Movie Trailers

Siri can give you a lot of information about movies -- including reviews, box office information, actor and director lists, and more. One of my favorite ways to harness the power of Siri is to request a movie trailer -- and this one is great to show off to friends, too.

While not all movies are supported (especially older ones), Rotten Tomatoes has thousands of movie trailers of films to play for you if you ask for them.

After all, you might be on the fence about whether you want to see a flick -- or if it's appropriate for your little ones -- so watching a trailer is a good place to start. It's also fun to get excited about a film you're about to see by watching the trailer.

To ask for a trailer, press and hold the Home button and after the chime ask Siri to show you a movie trailer, such as "Show me a trailer for Zero Dark Thirty." If it's available, the trailer will start on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Book Restaurant Reservations

iPhone owners might know Siri can research high-rated restaurants and get their ratings and directions to them – but a lot of people aren't aware that they can also use Siri to book reservations, too.

The OpenTable app must be installed on your iPhone and you must be signed into your OpenTable account. Then you can ask Siri for a reservation at a particular restaurant (and time), a particular kind of cuisine, in a specific city -- or let Siri recommend something by simply saying, “Book a reservation for four on Wednesday night.”

To get going, press and hold the Home button and then ask Siri something like “Make a reservation for two at a Greek restaurant tonight.” Siri will show you a list of restaurants that meet your criteria, show whether they have tables available and (if so) at what time. Simply tap one of the selections to review details, and then tap Make Reservation to open the OpenTable app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Get Directions by Asking for Them

To use Siri for directions to an address or landmark, simply hold the Home button and, after the chime, tell Siri where you want to go by starting with “Take me to,” followed by the street address, city, and state or province. For instance, you can say "Take me to 500 Main Street," and Siri will look for that address near you, or you can say "Take me to 500 Main Street in McLean, Virginia," or you can say something like "Take me to Disneyland" or "Take me to Rubio's in Irvine" (and Siri might ask you which one) or "Take me home."

For any of these scenarios, Siri will open up the Apple Maps or Google Maps application (whichever is your default maps program), put colored pushpins at your location and the final destination, and you just need to tap Start to begin the turn-by-turn voice and visual directions.

FaceTime with Someone

As you likely know by now, Apple’s FaceTime is a free application -- bundled into many iOS devices and Mac computers -- that allows you to make video calls to friends, family, and colleagues.

As long as the people you call have Apple-compatible devices on their end, you can see them and they can see you, via the camera. It's like Skype, and you can use it over cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi.

With Siri, you need only ask to make that video call on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Just press and hold the Home button, and after the tone tell Siri the name of the person you want to FaceTime with, like this: “FaceTime Jacob Saltzman.” The next thing you know, you'll hear your device emitting the ringing sound.

Faster, Smarter Web Searches

If Siri and Wolfram Alpha don't know the answer to information you're asking -- such as "Who was the tenth president of the United States?" -- you get an automatic offer to do a web search for the information. (The answer, by the way, is John Tyler.)

If you want to cut to the chase, you can instruct Siri to do a search right away by beginning your request with “Search for” or “Do a web search for.” In fact, anything you’d search for on the Internet by using your fingertips, you can do with your voice through Siri -- and much faster, too.

For example, ask “Do a Bing search for puppy photos,” or “Do a Yahoo! search for Iranian traditions and customs” or "Do a Google search for tying knots."

You can even do searches for specific information within a site, such as asking Siri something like "Look for Canadian history on Wikipedia" or "Find me a pork rib recipe on Epicurious.com" or "Search for Nintendo Wii U reviews on Gamespot.com.”

More Siri tips, tricks and little-known features are in my paperback or ebook, Siri For Dummies (Wiley).

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 17 times Ariel Winter set the red carpet on friggin’ fire in 2016

      There’s so much to love about the hit show Modern Family. And one of our favorite parts is the insanely talented cast –…

      Hello Giggles
    • The Messy Truth About Van Jones

      They never learn. The grand journalism pooh-bahs at CNN were humiliated this election cycle when WikiLeaks revealed that former CNN contributor and interim DNC chair Donna Brazile had shared a question with the Hillary Clinton campaign in advance of a March Democratic primary town hall debate. According to CNN, "activist anchor" Roland Martin and his production team at CNN's debate partner and identity politics network TV One were responsible for the leak. CNN host Jake Tapper called the episode "very, very troubling" and condemned the breach: "Journalistically, it's horrifying," he told WMAL radio. CNN president Jeff Zucker declared after an internal investigation that the network "would not

      CNS News q
    • TV Host with Breast Cancer Forced to Remove Wig as Part of ‘Horrific’ TSA Body Search

      Denise Albert, the co-founder of The MOMS, is speaking out after what she calls an “horrific” pat down from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday — all over medication related to her breast cancer treatment. “I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public,” said Albert in the post. “I was TSA precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes.

      People
    • Woman shuts down saleswoman who called her $130 engagement ring 'pathetic'

      When it comes to love, it's not about the money. Quinn and Ariel McRae dated for two years before tying the knot. But a saleswoman where the couple bought Ariel's rings tried to put a damper on the festivities by calling the jewelry "pathetic." "My husband doesn't have a lot, neither of us do," McRae explained in a Facebook post about the encounter. "We scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies, but after almost 2 years of dating we decided that we couldn't wait anymore, so we didn't." "I wasn't even thinking about rings, I just wanted to marry my best friend," she continued, "But he wouldn't have it. He scraped up just enough money to buy me two matching rings from Pandora." The two headed to the store and picked out a pair of rings they could afford — two rings for $130. SEE ALSO: Little boy proposes to his classmate with his mom's diamond ring McRae was was thrilled to get her rings, and then, the couple encountered a saleswoman. "While we were purchasing my rings... another lady that was working there came over to help the lady selling them to us," she wrote. "She said, 'Y'all, can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic.'" "I watched my now husband's face fall," she continued. Quinn was already upset that he couldn't his fiancé a more expensive ring, so the saleswoman's words crushed him. "He was so upset at the idea of not making me happy enough and of me not wanting to marry him because my rings didn't cost enough money or weren't flashy enough," she explained. "Y'all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring" she proudly posted. "When did our nation fall so far to think the only way a man can truly love a woman is if he buys her $3,000+ jewelry and makes a public decree of his affection with said flashy ring?" McRae quickly shot down the pretentious saleswoman, calmly saying, "It isn't the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is." "My husband was so afraid of me not wanting him because he couldn't afford a piece of jewelry," she posted. "But here I am though, courthouse married, $130 ring set, the love of my life by my side and happier than I could ever imagine." Looks like this marriage is off to a pretty perfect start. Mashable reached out to McRae for a comment, and will update the story when she replies. BONUS: Tom Hanks photobombed a wedding photoshoot in gym shorts

      Mashable
    • 12 Secrets Costco Shoppers Need to Know

      Stu pendousmat via Wikimedia Commons A Costco membership opens doors, quite literally, to a vast selection of bulk-size groceries and household goods selling at discounted prices. But buying potato chips ...

      Kiplinger
    • Japan's sex problem is so bad that people are quitting dating and marrying their friends

      The Japanese sex problem has become so desperate that its young population are giving up on dating and are just marrying their friends. A Government survey found 69 per cent of Japanese men and 59 per cent of Japanese women do not have a romantic partner. One Japanese aggregator website has since been awash with stories of how people have simply got married to life-long friends. The country has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with just 8.4 children being born per 1,000 inhabitants over the last five years. Its population of 127m people is predicted to decrease to 87m by 2060. The survey, carried out by the country’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, also

      Business Insider q
    • All of the Gorgeous Photos From Mark Ballas and BC Jean’s Dream Wedding (14 photos)

      The Dancing With The Stars pro married his Alexander Jean bandmate at a Nov. 25 ceremony

      People
    • A new underwater robot captured eerie, high-def scenes from sunken ship

      A new type of underwater robot has made it possible to peer deep inside the USS Arizona, the sunken naval battleship that was bombed 75 years ago at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The remotely-operated submersible recently filmed sobering and previously unseen glimpses of the ship for the new documentary Pearl Harbor: Into the Arizona, a co-production of CuriosityStream and PBS.  SEE ALSO: Red-eyed robot snake designed to be a janitor for the ocean bed In the film, an officer's dress uniform, now covered in algae, still hangs from its hook in the living quarters. A crewman's hat keeps its shiny trim. A bathroom cabinet holds its original contents, while a blanket covers an intact bed. The Arizona was

      Mashable q
    • After 75 Years, Pearl Harbor Still Holds a Few Mysteries

      Five things you may not know about the day that lives in infamy.

      Popular Mechanics
    • 'Star Wars' Actress Daisy Ridley Would 'Love to See the Look on People's Faces' When They Find Out About Rey

      Daisy Ridley thinks it’s “quite funny” that people keep asking her who Rey’s parents are — and has hinted that it might not be as big a mystery as everyone thinks. In an interview with Time Out London, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens star, who also narrated the documentary The Eagle Huntress (now in theaters), had a surprising take on the question that has been baffling Star Wars fans for the past year. “I thought a lot was answered in The Force Awakens,” Ridley told the magazine.

      Yahoo Movies
    • ‘This Is Us’ Fans Shocked by ‘Shocking’ Fall Finale

      On the midseason finale of This Is Us, Toby surprised Kate by flying across the country to declare his love for her during a Christmas party. "I can live without pizza and cookies and potato chips and whatever that brownie thing was that they were serving on the plane," Toby said. "The one thing I cannot live without, is you." After that speech, Toby and Kate snuck away to express their feelings without their clothes on, but when they were done, it was clear something was wrong. Toby was breathing heavily, and then later, he collapsed, presumably from a heart attack. Fans of the show took to Twitter to express their concern for Toby. Destinee Chrystal wrote "I'm going to be so upset if Toby dies. This is the worst cliffhanger ever," and KayKay tweeted "It took me 6 minutes to process that ending. All I know is Toby better be alive on January 10th."

      Superfan TV
    • Report: Illegal Immigrants Using 'Magic Words' to Instantly Enter US

      Washington Times reporter Stephen Dinan said Tuesday that prospective illegal immigrants have been coached to use "magic words" when apprehended by US Border Patrol agents that will allow them to be temporarily released in to the country. Dinan told Melissa Francis that family members already here in the US as well as others in their home countries have been told to express fear of returning to their home country, which is sufficient under current federal policy for them to be released into the public while their complaint is processed. However, many illegal immigrants official expressions of fear are found by officials to be unsubstantiated, albeit as many as two to three years after they were

      Fox News Insider q
    • Ronda Rousey is in 'sick shape' ahead of Amanda Nunes fight at UFC 207, says Dana White

      Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White has revealed that star fighter Ronda Rousey is in "sick shape" as she prepares for a bout against women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on 30 December. The 29-year-old lost her previous fight to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November, which also ended her unbeaten streak and also lost her women's bantamweight title. Holm lost her title to Meisha Tate at UFC 196 and the latter was beaten by Nunes at UFC 200.

      International Business Times
    • 5 Reasons You Can Get in Way Better Shape By Cutting Back on Cardio

      If you are an avid cardio person then it's time to switch over to weights. Especially if you aren't seeing reults. Here's why cardio just isn't enough.

      The Cheat Sheet q 45 min ago
    • Teen Accused of Beheading Classmate

      Mathew Borges will be tried as an adult.

      Cosmopolitan
    • Constant Gym-Goer Ditched Her Cardio Workouts for Powerlifting and Lost 37 Lbs.

      For years, Alice Fields was a cardio queen, who would toil away on the treadmill in the hopes of slimming down. Fields tried this weight loss method unsuccessfully for around five years, and says she “felt trapped in my own body,” until a friend introduced her to powerlifting 18 months ago. “Not only had my strength increased dramatically, but my whole body composition changed.

      People
    • Coco Austin and Ice-T Throw Baby Chanel a 1st Birthday Party With Cute Mother-Daughter Outfit Changes

      The couple's baby donned Minnie Mouse and Cinderella-inspired outfits.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Millions are petitioning the Electoral College to make Hillary Clinton president — here's why that probably won't happen

      Thousands of people took to the streets in the weeks after the election, outraged that Donald...

      Business Insider
    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Naomi Judd on Her Lifelong Battle with Mental Illness – and Why She’s Estranged from Daughter Wynonna

      It’s been years since country music star Naomi Judd left the public eye. Now, the star is back and opening up about her life-long battle with mental illness

      People