Siri means a secret in Swahili and in Norse, a beautiful woman who leads you to victory. To those of us in Appleland using the voice-controlled personal assistant, it stands for “Speech Interpretation and Recognition Intelligence.” And when you put Siri to work, she can move productivity mountains.
I use Siri to give me directions while driving with Apple CarPlay. I ask her to remind me to stop by the grocery store with my Apple Watch. She even knows what I mean when I tell her I want to watch “Schitt’s Creek” on my Apple TV.
Siri really shines when paired with Apple’s AirPods. You suddenly see the future. Tap or click here for 10 AirPods secrets you’ll wish you knew sooner.
macOS Sierra and later lets you use Siri on your Mac. On my MacBook Pro, I tell Siri who I want to FaceTime and that person pops up on my screen. Since you’re upping your Apple game, tap or click here for 5 essential downloads every Mac user needs.
Below are great Siri tricks that go far beyond trivia questions and the proper spelling of names.
First, properly set up Siri
When you purchase a new device, activating Siri is part of the setup process. If you skipped this step, now is the time to get her up and running.
Go to Settings > Siri & Search > choose how you want to enable Siri. There are multiple options, so you can decide which is best for you. You can choose which language, voice and accent Siri can use. Follow the on-screen steps to complete setup and you’re good to go.
Depending on your device and setup options, you can launch Siri in a variety of ways. On your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, AirPods (2nd generation) or Mac, say, “Hey Siri” to activate. If you chose to press the side button to activate Siri, on an iPhone X or later, press the side button and Siri will ask, “What can I help you with?”
By the way, if you’re using AirPods (1st generation), double-tap to use Siri.
RELATED: When I need to scan a document, I use Apple Notes. Tap or click here for 7 tips and tricks for Apple Notes.
1. Make a FaceTime call with two little words
I use this command a lot. FaceTime is Apple’s free, high-quality platform to make and receive video calls. You see them and they see you. You can use FaceTime using Wi-Fi or cellular data.
If you have a limited cellar plan, keep in mind that five minutes of FaceTime video calling uses up to 15 MB of data. It’s not much, but it can add up.
To launch this option, say, “FaceTime [Name of Person in Your Contacts]” and the assistant will immediately dial that person. You don’t need to specify the person’s last name unless you have multiple contacts with the same first name.
Tip in a Tip: Don’t use your iPhone’s screen recording feature to save a FaceTime call. You won’t get the audio. To record both the audio and video of a FaceTime call, you need to use a specialized app like Record it!.
2. Set an alarm or timer
Sure, you can fumble through your device’s clock and alarm options, but here in 2020, let Siri do the heavy lifting. I’m on radio and television, and the good old commercial stopwatch is gone for good. Instead, I tell Siri to set a countdown clock for 60 seconds.
Here are a few other ways for you to explore, starting with something that will make all mothers happy: “Siri, set an alarm every day at 5:30 p.m. to call my mom.”
You can tell Siri to set an alarm to wake you up, go to work, watch your favorite show or take the bread out of the oven in 35 minutes. Some sample commands are “Wake me up in an hour” and “Remind me to leave in 30 minutes.”
Another command you’ll love is, “Hey Siri, snooze.” That gives you nine more minutes to stay in bed. Nice.
3. Turn on the flashlight
The LED flash on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch does double duty as a flashlight. The problem is when it’s dark and you need a flashlight, it’s cumbersome fumbling through the Control Center. Not anymore.
Say, “Hey Siri, turn on the flashlight” and you got it. Tell her to turn it off when you’re done. You can thank me for this tip later.
4. Check stocks
Apple includes a dedicated Stocks app on your device that tracks market activity, various stocks and business news. When you want a quick answer without picking up your device, summon Siri. You can get the latest information on individual stocks or stock exchanges.
Some example commands include, “How’s Apple’s stock today?” or “Show me stock information for Tesla.” You can also ask Siri, “What’s the New York Stock Exchange’s current position?” or “What did NASDAQ close at today?”
Interestingly, Siri gets the answers from Yahoo Finance.
5. Get location reminders
The Reminders app is often underused because most people don’t know its power. It’s truly one of those things that once you try it, you totally get it. You can create reminders to do anything and, with Siri, quickly set alerts based on time and location.
First, be sure Siri is up for the task on your iOS device and Apple Watch. Open the Contacts app and tap My Card. Tap Edit, add your work and home addresses, then Done. Siri will use your addresses to set location-based reminders.
You can then say, “Remind me to talk with Brian when I get to work” or “Remind me to check the mail when I get home.”
Once you start using Reminders, be sure to set up iCloud so all your reminders are synced across all your devices. Open the Settings app, then tap [Your Name] > iCloud and turn on Reminders.
If you love Siri, Voice Control gives you the ability to use your phone by speaking various commands. You can say “swipe left” or “scroll up” to move where you want on your screen or within an app. You can also take pictures with your front or rear cameras with a simple command. That alone makes the option worth your time.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.