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

    • Michelle Obama’s Faces Upstaged Everyone at the Inauguration

      Michelle Obama may now be the former first lady, but on the Internet, she’s being celebrated as the reigning shade queen, thanks to her facial expressions on Inauguration Day.

      Yahoo Beauty
    • Julie Bowen Faces Criticism for Joking About Barron Trump During Inauguration

      Julie Bowen has come under fire for her comments about Barron Trump. Julie Bowen made Donald Trump’s inauguration more fun to watch, but not everyone appreciated her witty banter. The Modern Family star, who often details the funny antics of her own three sons, posted a few Instagram photos during the ceremony focusing on Barron Trump, the 10-year-old son of the new president and his wife, Melania.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • White nationalist Richard Spencer punched during interview

      "It was absolutely terrible," Spencer told CNN's Sara Ganim by phone hours after the assault. "I've certain never had this happen before -- a sucker punch in broad daylight." D.C. police said there is no open investigation into the assault as Spencer has not filed a police report. Spencer says he called 911 at the scene and plans to file a police report. "I kind of like getting into vigorous back and forth with people who disagree with me," said Spencer. "But punching like that just crosses a line -- totally unacceptable." He went onto say he feared future targeting, "Certainly, some people think I'm not a human being and I can just be attacked at will." In November, the racism and anti-Semitism

      CNN q
    • Paris Jackson Makes Her Front Row Fashion Debut as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid Hit the Runway

      Kendall Jenner, Bella and Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber all found supermodel stardom after being born to famous parents, and are leading the way on today’s runways and magazine covers. Not long after her red carpet debut at the InStyle Golden Globes after party, Jackson made her FROW cameo wearing an “I Feel Love” Givenchy sweater. At the show, she bonded with fashion icon Carine Roitfeld, and made sure to commemorate the starstruck moment with a selfie.

      People
    • Kellyanne Conway Draws Laughs and Memes With Military-Style Garb

      The Gucci dress comes with a price tag of $3,600.

      Inside Edition
    • Watch: White Nationalist Spencer Punched in Face While Giving Interview

      Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer was punched in the face in Washington, D.C. while giving an interview. Spencer was explaining to a bystander the meaning of a pin he was wearing on his lapel, Pepe the Frog, when he was punched on the right side of his face amid inauguration day protests and sometimes violent unrest in D.C. Spencer later tweeted he was OK.  Spencer, an outspoken supporter of newly minted President Donald Trump, is the president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist group that defines itself this way: "NPI is an independent organization dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world,"

      Newsmax q
    • The Clinton Foundation Is Dead — But The Case Against Hillary Isn't

      While everyone's been gearing up for President Trump's inauguration, the Clinton Foundation made a major announcement this week that went by with almost no notice: For all intents and purposes, it's closing its doors. In a tax filing, the Clinton Global Initiative said it's firing 22 staffers and closing its offices, a result of the gusher of foreign money that kept the foundation afloat suddenly drying up after Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency. It proves what we've said all along: The Clinton Foundation was little more than an influence-peddling scheme to enrich the Clintons, and had little if anything to do with "charity," either overseas or in the U.S. That sound you heard starting in November was checkbooks being snapped shut in offices around the world by people who had hoped their donations would buy access to the next president of the United States. There was a strong precedent for it in Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state.

      Investor's Business Daily q
    • Trump Already Suspends Obama-Era FHA Mortgage Insurance Cut

      The contentious cut would have saved the average borrower about $500 per year and cushioned the market against rising rates. The post Trump Already Suspends Obama-Era FHA Mortgage Insurance Cut appeared first on Real Estate News & Advice | realtor.com®.

      Realtor.com
    • Melania Trump’s Inauguration Outfit Prompts Countless Jackie O. Comparisons

      If there were any doubts that Melania Trump wasn’t exactly traditional “first lady material” or that her role would be supplanted by her step-daughter Ivanka, the incoming first lady attempted to put them to rest on Friday morning.

      Racked
    • Trump immediately revokes price break for mortgages

      MAGA comes at you fast—the rate cut was announced just 11 days ago. As President Donald Trump sat signing paperwork with congressional leaders Friday afternoon, his administration sprang into a strangely specific action: They made it harder for Americans to afford their own homes. And the change specifically will impact lending to the poor. Just 11 days after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had announced a cut in fee rates for mortgages, Trump’s team revoked the price cut. The small but significant reduction in mortgage insurance premiums had been set to go into effect January 27, but is now “suspended indefinitely,” per an administration letter. Analysts heralded the fee

      ThinkProgress q
    • President Trump’s Inauguration Crowd Doesn’t Look Like Barack Obama’s Did in 2009

      A side-by-side comparison of the crowds at former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump‘s respective inaugurations reveals that Trump’s crowd isn’t as large as he boasted it would be. Two aerial photographs of the National Mall from the two historic days reveal large patches of white ground exposed during Trump’s ceremony, spaces crowds had filled during Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Federal and local agencies estimated 700,000 to 900,000 people would be in Washington, D.C. for Trump’s inauguration on Friday, roughly half the number of people who attended Obama’s first presidential inauguration.

      People
    • Fashion designers write beautiful thank you notes to Michelle Obama as she vacates the White House (5 photos)

      Over the past eight years, Michelle Obama has wowed the world with her grace, intelligence and style. While people around the globe have been honouring the First Lady’s top moments during her time in the White House, it’s her impeccable dress sense that leading designers wanted to pay tribute to. At WWD ‘s request, everyone from Prabal Gurung to Jason Wu has put pen to paper and expressed their gratitude to Michelle for everyone she’s achieved – and the mark she’s made on American fashion. What would you like to thank Michelle Obama for? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK . Melania Trump choose non-American designer for pre-Inauguration dinner 14 intimate photos of Michelle and Barack Obama you probably haven’t seen

      Yahoo Style UK
    • Bella Hadid Wears Totally Sheer Shirt Without a Bra -- See the Daring Pic!

      The 20-year-old model was spotted out in Paris on Friday.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • 'Morbidly obese' woman drops 126 pounds and becomes fitness model

      A woman from Aarhus, Denmark, who was once classified as “morbidly obese” after tipping the scales at 268 pounds, now works as a physical trainer and sportswear model after dropping more than half of the weight in a period of four years. Mathilde Broberg, 22, lost the excess pounds partially by cutting out junk food, exercising avidly and following the “teaspoon diet,” where she measured out her food and ate with a teaspoon to ensure that the portion sizes weren’t larger than the size of a flat-out hand.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Mark Zuckerberg fires back at ‘misleading’ articles about his $100 million Hawaiian estate

      Mark Zuckerberg fired back at "misleading stories" about the 700 acres of Hawaiian property...

      Business Insider
    • Kansas City College Student Sent Cryptic Text Just Before Disappearance: ‘OMG Just Got Pulled Over Again’

      A 20-year-old Kansas City woman mysteriously vanished early Sunday morning after being pulled over by police after work — and her family is growing increasingly worried and confused. “None of it makes sense,” Toni Anderson’s mother, Liz Anderson, says of her disappearance. Toni left work at the Chrome Club shortly after 4 a.m. to meet up with a friend, Kansas City police tell PEOPLE.

      People
    • With Donald Trump as President, Here's What Will Happen to the U.S. Economy

      Donald Trump has had a lot of success in business, but how will he be for the economy as president? Here's how his economic policies will play out.

      The Street q
    • Melania Trump channels Jackie O in blue Ralph Lauren dress

      Wrapped in pale blue Ralph Lauren cashmere and matching suede gloves, it looks like America’s new First Lady is taking style cues from a predecessor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, during her husband’s swearing in ceremony today.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Hollywood Reacts To Trump Inauguration: “Country Is Lost”, Tweets Alec Baldwin; Scott Baio Proud To Be “Deplorable”

      Refresh for updates Alec Baldwin says the country is lost, his brother Stephen has a different take, Chris Rock offers a time-change reminder (era-change, actually), and Scott Baio is proud to be among the “deplorables.” Celebrities, pundits and politicians began processing their reactions to President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech today, and, not surprisingly, responses ranged from as stinging as anything put out by the Tweeter-in-Chief over the past year-plus…

      Deadline