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Smartphones & gadgets

‘Hey Siri:’ 10 tips to take your productivity to the next level

Siri has been around for more than a decade and it’s evolved into a solid voice assistant. This AI is quick to answer your questions and tell you jokes, but did you know it’s capable of answering more than just, “What’s the weather like today?”

If you haven’t taken the time to check out the range of Siri’s capabilities, you may believe it’s nothing more than a glorified trivia aide, jokester and weather forecaster. Oh, and let’s not forget it collects your data. Tap or click to discover the one crucial privacy setting to stop Siri from spying on you.

But the truth is Siri can be a pretty useful personal assistant that can help increase productivity at work, home, or anywhere in between. How? Here are 10 Siri tips to help you become more productive.

But first

When you purchase a new device, activating Siri is part of the setup process. If you chose not to set it up, let’s do so now.

Simply 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. All it takes is a tap to toggle settings on (green) or off (black).

You can even choose which language, voice and accent Siri can use. Once you make your selections, follow the on-screen steps to complete its setup and you’ll be ready to go.

Depending on your device and setup options, you can launch Siri in a variety of ways. On your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, just say, “Hey Siri” to activate. If you chose to press the side button for Siri, on an iPhone X or later, simply press the side button and Siri will ask, “What can I help you with?”

For long and detailed requests, on the iPhone X or later, press and hold the side button as you speak. Once you release the button, Siri stops listening. For iPhones with Home buttons, just press and hold the Home button until your request is complete.

For instructions on reaching Siri on other devices, such as AirPods, Bluetooth devices, when using CarPlay or Siri Eyes Free, Apple Watch, HomePod, Mac and Apple TV, visit the Apple support page.

Now that you know how to speak to Siri, here are a few useful tips to help you be more productive and get better use from the AI.

1. Initiate FaceTime

If you don’t have an unlimited call plan, FaceTime is an excellent, free, way to connect with others. You can make a video or audio call using Wi-Fi or data instead of minutes.

To launch this option, say, “FaceTime [name of contact]” and the assistant will immediately dial that person.

2. Set a timer or alarm

Whether your countdown is for a meal in the oven, a power nap or the time you need to be out the door, Siri can help set the clock. For a timer, simply say, “Set timer for five minutes” and Siri will begin a countdown.

For an alarm, say, “Wake me up in an hour” or “Remind me to leave in 30 minutes.”

You may also like: 10 clever things you never knew your iPad could do.

3. Search for nearby restaurants

Any time you’re on the road and traveling through a new area, you don’t need to take risks and drive around aimlessly in hopes of finding a restaurant or bathroom. Let Siri help. Say, “Recommend a nearby restaurant,” and the voice assistant will list several popular places based on their Yelp ratings.

If you have a preference in cuisine, request it by saying, “Find nearby Italian restaurants.” Pick one of the suggestions and Siri will ask if you want directions or call to make a reservation. This feature will work with other businesses as well, such as grocery stores and banks.

4. Calculate equations

Unless you’re a math wizard, rely on Siri to spare you from mathematical jams. Whether it be to help you calculate a tip, like “What is 18% of $42.87?” or solve an advanced equation such as, “Solve X squared plus five X minus six equals zero,” the voice assistant will provide prompt solutions.

5. Create an event on your calendar

Have an important event or meeting you can’t miss? Siri can set the details in your Calendar app. To make the request, say, “Schedule my meeting with Rick Jones on Thursday at 12:45,” or “Set my doctor’s appointment for next Monday at two.”

To help you keep track, you will receive a notification the day of your scheduled events.

6. Make a list

With Siri, there’s no need for a pen and paper. For grocery lists, say, “Create grocery list.” If you have an existing list and need to add more items, state, “Add tomatoes to the grocery list.” Once complete, your lists are stored in the Reminders app.

RELATED: 9 essential iOS 13 tips and tricks you need to know

7. Check stocks

Anyone who has money tied up in the stock market knows prices can fluctuate wildly throughout the trading day. To help keep an eye on your stocks, inquire, “How is Tesla’s stock doing today?”

You can further request information on specific stock exchanges, including NASDAQ and NYSE.

8. Go through voicemails

Do you have voicemails, but don’t have the time to go through each message? Say, “Check my voicemail” and the assistant will tell you the number of new and saved voicemails you have and begin to read the latest ones.

Unfortunately, Siri is unable to delete voicemails for you, so if you find your voicemail box inundated with robocalls, learn how to stop them in their tracks. Tap or click here to stop robocalls with free solutions from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint.

9. Set a location reminder

If you have addresses associated with the people in your Contact list, you will appreciate this feature. Simply say, “Hey Siri, directions to Matt’s house” and it will pull up directions to that person’s address.

But the voice assistant doesn’t stop there. You can also set a location-based reminder, such as “Remind me to talk with Brian when I get to work” or “Remind me to check the mail when I get to mom’s house.”

10. Create notes

Whether it be a note for your work presentation or the words to your favorite poem, Siri can create quick notes that saves you the hassle of jotting them down on paper.

To perform this task, state, “Create a note” and begin to dictate. Once complete, your note will be kept in the Notes app. In addition, you can ask Siri to search your Notes for any you want to view.

BONUS: Translate languages

Do you consider yourself a world traveler who struggles to speak the languages of far-off lands? Siri can help you save face by translating many English words into several other languages, including German, French, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese and Mandarin.

Just say, “Translate, ‘Do you accept credit cards?’ into Spanish” and Siri will do so.

The language barrier may not be the only thing you need help with when traveling abroad. Tap or click to learn how to avoid hidden fees the next time you travel.

As an iPhone user, you have a powerful voice assistant in Siri. Utilize any number of these easy Siri features to save time and improve your productivity.

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