Tips, Tricks and Surprising Capabilities of Siri
Apple’s Siri has achieved an iconic status since its introduction. It’s no surprise that the decidedly feminine personal assistant has gained such a following. Her retorts to certain queries are the stuff of legend and her usefulness is hard to overstate.
Many users who have access to Siri aren’t fully cognizant of a lot of her capabilities. As a personal assistant, Siri can help keep track of your appointments, emails, texts and other daily tasks. She can also carry out a variety of other useful jobs. Gathered here are some of the top tips and tricks for Siri.
Reminders Set by Location or Time
You probably know that Siri can send you a reminder at a specific time. What is less well-known is that Siri can also give you reminders based on your location. Setting either type of reminder is very easy.
For a time-specific reminder, simply tell Siri what time to remind you and what you need to do. For example, you can tell Siri, “Remind me tomorrow at 9 a.m. to call my brother.”
Setting a reminder by location works the same way. Instead of setting a specific time for a reminder, you set a specific place, such as “Remind me to go to the dry cleaner’s when I leave home.” Because your iPhone has GPS, Siri knows when you leave your home location and will remind you to stop by the dry cleaner’s.
You may have to tell Siri specific information regarding locations or various other tidbits but location-specific reminders can be very useful.
Manage Your Text Messages
Texts and emails can be dictated through Siri, as many users are already aware. Start by pressing and holding the Home button, and then simply speak what you want to do. You might need to send a text to a colleague. Simply say, “Text Mike Willis, don’t forget the PowerPoint presentation for the meeting.” Siri searches your contacts for Mike Willis, composes the text and sends it without further input from you.
Many users don’t realize that Siri can also read your texts to you. When you press and hold the Home button, tell Siri to “read my texts.” Once a text has been read, you can tell Siri to reply in straightforward language like, “Tell Mom I’ll be there for Dad’s birthday,” or “Reply saying we’re on for next week.”
Siri can also sift through texts to find the ones from specific contacts when you ask if you have texts from them. “Do I have texts from Mike?”
Social Media Upgrades
Siri’s most recent incarnation allows you to update your Facebook status or tweet by voice command. This is different from the older version in that you no longer have to text to Twitter or Facebook to get Siri to post for you.
When you want to post to Facebook, tell Siri “Post to Facebook, I made a new friend today, an eight foot red-tail boa!” You must start your command with the words “Post to Facebook.” Siri will render your post into text and you can then approve it by saying “Yes” or tapping the Post button.
Twitter is just as easy. Pressing and holding the Home button (as you must anytime you want to talk to Siri), tell Siri to “Post to Twitter” and then compose your tweet. Siri will again render your post into text that you can review and approve or not by saying “Yes” or “No” when Siri asks if it should be posted.
Siri is a Math Whiz
Calculators are very helpful, as anyone who isn’t very good at math can attest. But sometimes, a calculator isn’t enough. A problem might have more steps that you think, resulting in wildly inaccurate figures when you try to tackle it yourself.
Say you’re out with a group of friends and need to know how to split the tip. You can ask Siri to solve the problem for you. Tell Siri the total of the bill and how many people are sharing it and she’ll tell you exactly how much everyone needs to chip in. Multiplication, division, addition, subtraction and more complex equations can be completed in less time than it would take you to count to ten.
Finding Family and Friends
The Find My Friends app allows you to find the geographical location of individuals who have shared such information with you. Find My Friends opens as a map with colored orbs that represent family members and friends. The colored orbs tell you where a specific person is, even allowing you to access the street address if you want or need it.
Of course, this app is better with Siri. Just ask Siri where your friends are, and Siri will open the app and show you their locations. You can then tell Siri to send a message to the contact of your choice. You can ask Siri the location of specific people, too. For this, you need to employ commands like “Find my girlfriend” or “Where are my parents?”
Siri may be the best thing to ever happen to movie-goers. Box office information, reviews, cast lists and other movie-related information can be accessed through Siri by voice command. You can even request that Siri find movie trailers for you.
Older movies are typically not supported, but sites like Rotten Tomatoes have trailers for thousands of movies available on demand. These include new release movie trailers as well as trailers for a lot of movies that have come out in the last five or ten years. Whether you’re looking to rent a slightly older movie, or trying to decide what to go see at the theater, Siri can help. Tell Siri to “Show me the trailer for Kick-Ass 2.” The appropriate trailer will start playing on your device automatically if it is available.
Not only can Siri do research for you about restaurant ratings and reviews, as well as getting driving directions, Siri can even make reservations for you. You’ve got to have the OpenTable app installed on your device, you have to have an account and be signed into it, and your restaurant of choice must be in the OpenTable database. Tell Siri when you want to dine, what kind of cuisine you’re looking for and where and as long as the conditions above are met, Siri can make recommendations and book a table.
You’ll want to tell Siri to “Make a reservation for four at an Italian restaurant tonight.” Siri will produce a list of nearby Italian restaurants, show you their ratings and let you know if they have tables available and at what time. Select one, review its details and make the reservation through the OpenTable app (Siri will open it for you).
Siri Makes Life Easier
Apple’s iconic personal assistant can help with these and many other day-to-day tasks. Learning how to make the most of Siri is important because it will allow you to increase your productivity and take your mind off all the little details that Siri can handle for you. You won’t have to worry about forgetting an appointment or dropping the ball on your to-do list because you now have a phenomenal personal assistant.
These helpful hints are just the tip of the iceberg, so keep an eye out in future posts for more helpful tips and tricks for Siri.