How to make Siri work for you

Voice-recognition technology has come a long way in the last decade, these tips can show you how to get the most out of (or just have some fun with) your iPhone’s or iPad’s personal assistant, Siri.

While these tips are for Apple’s voice-recognition software, the pronunciation tips below may also work for other smartphone voice-recognition software too.

How to access Siri

Simply hold in the Home button, located underneath your iPhone’s or iPad’s screen, to activate Siri. Now talk into the phone. Siri will detect when you’ve stopped talking, or you can press the Home button to tell her.

Help Siri understand you

1. Try to talk quickly and without pauses

Although the natural instinct is to speak slowly, speaking quickly and without any long pauses is the best way to talk to Siri. Try holding off on talking to Siri until you know exactly what you’re going to say; otherwise pauses might confuse her.

2. Learn the commands

Knowing the best way to phrase something will help Siri understand you. More on this below.

3. Correct her

Siri is not perfect, but she is pretty smart and can learn from mistakes (sometimes). To correct a mistake, tap her speech and your keyboard will pop up and allow you to edit her response, and she will hopefully learn from this. If she mispronounces somebody’s name, tell Siri “That’s not how you say that.” You will be asked to repeat the name and be given three different choices of pronunciation from which to choose. Siri will remember how to pronounce the name in the future.

What Siri can do for you

Siri can do plenty of things for you. For example:

  • she can search the internet for anything. To do this simply say “Google [say what you want to search here]”.
  • saying “Wake me up at 8:30” will set an alarm for tomorrow morning.
  • you can call people by saying “Call [contact name here]”, or send an SMS by saying “Message [contact name here]”.
  • if you tell Siri that “John Doe is my husband” or “Jane Doe is my daughter”, Siri will remember that this person from your contact list is your wife or son, so you can just say “Call my husband/daughter” in the future.
  • Siri can also remember a nickname for you, for example if you want to be called ‘The King’, open Siri and say “From now on call me The King”. Siri will then oblige your demands, your highness.

The best way to find out what Siri can do is to just ask and find out, or click here to see a comprehensive list of commands that Siri understands.

Have some fun

There are plenty of joke questions that are built into Siri. Some of my favourites are asking her to “Open the pod bay doors”, “Divide zero by zero” or asking, “What is the meaning of life?”.

Click here to see more fun things you can ask Siri.

Read more on Lifehacker.

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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