What is Siri Good for?

Tech Tips
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With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs and Apple completely re-invented the mobile phone, ushering in the smartphone revolution we know today. In 2011 with the iPhone 4s and its iOS 5 operating system Apple also gave us Siri- the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator that uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions.

Siri is Norwegian for “beautiful woman who leads you to victory” and can be launched by holding down the Home button, or (if you have the ‘Raise to Speak’ feature enabled in Settings> General> Siri) by raising the phone to your ear, or if you have the Apple Ear Pods or a similar Apple supported headphones connected, by holding down the middle mic button. Other than the basic stuff such as getting Siri to call someone in your contacts or getting  turn by turn directions to your destination, Apple’s amazing little assistant has a ton of other less well know and incredibly useful features.

So without further ado here are some of the most useful of Siri’s hidden features.

READ/SEARCH EMAILS

Siri can read all of your emails by simply saying “read my emails”, or you can get her to read the last email received by saying ‘read last email’.  And not just the email heading; she will read the entire content of the message. Also at the end of each email, she will offer you a chance to dictate a response and then ask whether to send it or not. She can also find your notes by asking her to “find note about…..”, now you do not have to search all over your phone for that to-do list.

SET A REMINDER.

Setting up a reminder in the Reminders app is a bit of work, in my experience. So much easier to ask Siri to do it for you. For example, when I wanted to buy the Sunday paper I just asked Siri to “remind me to buy the newspaper on Sunday”, and she will automatically setup the reminder in the app along with the alarm for 9 AM Sunday morning. Also, you can ask Siri to remind you to buy the paper when you reach your office, or when you leave home, as long as you have those locations set up under your name in the contacts. If not, Siri will give you the option to do so as well.

SIRI CAN TURN FEATURES ON/OFF

Siri can easily turn Bluetooth on/off, WIFI or Do Not Disturb etc, in the control panel. This is a huge help if you are driving, or otherwise occupied.

GO TO SETTINGS/OPEN APPS

Instead of going through multiple Settings screens, for example, Location Services, simply ask Siri to ‘Open Location Services’. So much faster! Use this same process to get Siri to open apps, as well.

ASK SIRI FOR MOVIE SUGGESTIONS

Siri can search for movies for you to watch based on their Tomatometer rating. Simply say something along the lines of ” Siri, find science fiction movies to watch”. Siri will then search and list science fiction movies by their rating on Rottentomatoes.com. Maybe Siri will find your new favorite movie!

SIRI CAN UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

By saying “post to Facebook:  I am sad”, Siri will give you the option to confirm or cancel the message “I am sad” to be posted on your default Facebook profile. For Twitter, start with the word ‘tweet’ or ‘post to twitter’.

SIRI CAN PLAY MUSIC

Siri can play your favorite playlists, by you specifying a playlist name. She can play specific artists and bands by saying, for example, ‘Play Bryan Adams’. Or if you want to specify a genre, say, “play country music”, she can play that as well. Consider Siri your own personal DJ.

CONVERSIONS AND CALCULATIONS

Ask Siri to covert currencies by saying, for example, ‘How much is 1000 Euros in US Dollars?’.  She will come up with a comprehensive set of data, including a chart showing the currency values over a specific period of time.

Numerical calculations can easily be done without bothering to open the Calculator app, simply by asking Siri “how much is the square root of 22000?”, for example.  She can even do more complex stuff such as finding averages, cosines, etc.

SIRI CAN SCHEDULE MEETINGS

Siri can set up a meeting with someone by just saying “schedule a meeting with my lawyer”, as long as there is someone fitting that profile in your contacts, Siri can schedule the event for you, as well as alerting the other party.

FIND YOUR ETA.

If you’re on the road and need to find out how much longer to your destination, simply say “what’s my ETA?”, and  Siri will give an estimate based on traffic and route changes.

TEACH SIRI TO PROPERLY PRONOUNCE NAMES

Sometimes Siri cannot get the pronunciation right due to the vastly different types of names the world-over. This can be fixed somewhat by saying ‘Learn to pronounce my name’ or ‘Learn to pronounce (any name in Contacts)’. Siri will then give an opportunity to say the name correctly and then she will give 3 options for you to choose from. Simply choose the option closest to the correct pronunciation.

Also you may tell Siri to call you by a different name, by saying ‘Call me baby’, for example, and she will call you ‘baby’ all the time.

GET TO KNOW SNARKY SIRI

Besides the usual snubs to any colorful language, Siri has a genuinely funny side to her as well. Here are some questions known to elicit some laugh-out-loud remarks from her.

“Who let the dogs out?”

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

“I think I am drunk.”

“Open the pod bay doors.”

“How old are you?”

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