Siri Tips & Settings

Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Everyone knows that Siri is Apple's virtual assistant. From getting directions to finding pictures, Siri is the best. Before Siri, virtual assistants didn't sound human like. Instead, they were robotic and slow. But now we do have human virtual assistants, and one of them is Siri, and that is why I have created this guide to teach you some tips to using her.

I will also go in detail of the Siri Settings.

Tips to Using Siri

These tips include some jokes you can ask Siri that are yes, appropriate, as well as some useful commands.

  • You can ask Siri to calculate a math problem and she will tell you the answer.
  • Want to call your friend or loved one? Siri can do that for you.
  • Want to go have dinner at a restaurant? Leave Siri in charge to have her find a seating spot ready for you.
  • Want to tell Siri what a number divided by 0 is and see her response? It will be funny.
  • Your friend told you where he lives or she lives, and you really want to go there, right? Tell Siri the address and she will give you directions. You may also use the fully accessible app from Google that goes by the name of Google Maps, or you can also use the fully accessible app called Maps by Apple.
  • You really don't want to go surfing through pictures and looking for a specific picture. Ask Siri to search for your vacation photos.
  • You hear a song on the radio and you really want to know the name, right? Ask Siri to listen to the tune and she will answer. She can find out things like remixes and lots more.
  • Dictionaries dictionaries dictionaries, yeesh! Use Siri instead of having to surf through a bunch of pages to find the definition of something, and she will tell you the definition in at least 3 or more ways!
  • Want to roll some dice? Ask Siri to roll as many dice or she can randomly generate numbers from 1 to 6 and other things.
  • Siri can also beatbox. Just ask her.

Quick Note: If you are using an iPhone X or later, the side button performs the same functions as the home button on other models.

Siri Settings

First go to Settings > Siri & search. Now I will begin with the Siri Settings.

Siri & search settings is where you can customize Siri, as well as turn it off completely. I will go through all the Settings one by one.

Siri shortcuts: Allows you to add your own custom Siri commands. The specific suggestions shown depend on apps you use that support this feature. For even more customization, download the shortcuts app from the AppStore.

Listen for "Hey Siri": Allows you to use your voice by saying, "hey Siri" instead of pressing and holding the home button. If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier, iPad Air 2 or earlier, or iPod Touch, it must be plugged in to power for this feature to work.

Press home for Siri: Toggles home button access to Siri on or off.

Allow Siri when locked: Allows you to decide if Siri can be used if the screen is locked.

Language: Allows you to change the language of Siri.

Siri Voice: Allows you to change the accent and gender of Siri.

Voice Feedback: Allows you to change when Siri gives or does not give feedback.

My Information: Allows you to put your name in Siri's memory.

Siri suggestions: Displays a list of apps that you can allow Siri to access data from to provide a more relevant experience. If the app supports it, you can also allow Siri commands to perform functions within that app. For example, you could use this feature to hail a ride in Uber or pay a friend in Venmo.

Want to turn Siri off completely? Just toggle both listen for "Hey Siri" and press home for Siri off.

This is your decision. Think about how much you use her. If you realize that you rely on her a lot, keep it on. If you only use her some of the time, turn it off.

Speak a different language? That's ok, because Siri can speak many different languages.

Hey Siri is a feature that came in iOs 8/9 that allows you to say, "Hey Siri," instead of holding the home button.

Instead of pressing the home button and holding it for about 3 seconds, saying, "Hey Siri," followed by what you want her to do will activate her. If you have an iPhone 6 or earlier, iPad Air 2 or earlier, or iPod Touch, it must be plugged in to power for this feature to work.

Want a male voice? The Siri gender setting can change the Siri voice from male to female.

Voice feedback allows you to change the time that Siri is silent and when she isn't. Always makes her always speak no matter if you have headphones on or have muted the ring switch. If, "Control with Ring Switch," is selected, Siri will not respond if the ring switch is muted. If, "Hands-free only," is selected, Siri will only talk when you are hands-free, which means she will only talk if you use "hey Siri" or you are connected to a bluetooth device or have headphones plugged in.

If you want Siri to call you by name, select my information and make sure you have yourself in your contacts. If you have your last name on your contact, then don't worry, Siri won't say this. She will only say your first name.


If you have any questions or if I made any mistakes, be very sure to comment below. Bye.



The article on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information.



Submitted by John Diakogeorgiou on Monday, March 14, 2016

With an IPhone 6s or 6s+ the charger does not need to be plugged in for hey siri to work.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Monday, March 14, 2016

In reply to by AnonyMouse

Thank you AnonyMouse.

The reason why I didn't give all of the commands of siri was only because I picked the ones that I thought were going to be most likely used often, but like AnonyMouse posted, you can also find more commands by following the link he has given.

Submitted by Deborah Armstrong on Monday, March 21, 2016

I've worked with several people who've had a lot of trouble with Siri. A few things to remember:

* Longer phrases are better than shorter ones. "Call Mom" is not as effective as "Call my mother on her mobile". For another example that's personal to me: "Call outreach" is not as effective as "Call Outreach paratransit."

* Siri works best if you tweak your contacts. Again, looking at my paratransit example, which is run by an organization named Outreach, I have Outreach as its first name, and paratransit as the last name. I then have entries for "Dispatch" "IVR" "Customer Service" and "Scheduling". So when I tell siri "Call Outreach Paratransit Scheduling" or "Call Outreach Paratransit Dispatch" it automatically dials the correct extension. To accomplish the extension dialing, I have the main number in each field, followed by a comma for a 1 second pause, followed by the digits for that extension.

* To make reminders more useful, tweak them as well. For example to get siri to "add milk to my grocery list" create a list in reminders called "grocery" and not "groceries". Remember when you say "remind me to ..." siri will add this reminder to your default list, which for me is a to-do list, but for you, could be something else.

* You can also ask siri to read information from contacts out loud. For example, you need your brother's phone number for a friend, but you don't want to call him. Say "show contact info for my brother" and it will ask which piece of info you need.

* For general purpose or complicated stuff, ask siri to create a note. She'll prompt you for the text of the note. Then you can cut and paste it later in to another app, such as email or reminders.

* Siri can launch apps "Launch dropbox" or "launch hourly news".

* Siri can understand punctuation and words like "new paragraph" or "new line". Experiment with this feature in your notes or other text editing app.

* Siri can dial numbers "dial 4 0 8 864 56 7 8.

* If dictating in a noisy environment, pause before speaking so siri can first hear and filter out the background noise.

* remember to add all your relationships to siri by speaking "Joe schmoe is my brother" "John doe is my husband" etc. John Q. Public" is my boss!

* Enunciate slowly and clearly but don't exaggerate your speech. If Siri can't understand you, search youtube for demos of siri working well and listen to people who are effective.

* Remember if dictating a long passage to use the magic tap in a text field. Double tap with two fingers, wait for the beep, speak a sentence, pause and press the magic tap again. Siri will take a minute to recognize and convert your speech as she needs to go online to use Apple's servers in the cloud to perform her magic. After she reads back to you what's entered, double tap with two fingers again and continue with your next sentence.

* For friends who like to get their texts on google voice or other non-traditional ways, tweak their contact records so siri knows how to text them. I've set my husband's google voice number as his "mobile" number and his actual mobile number (where he has to pay to receive texts) as his work number. This way when I ask siri to "text my husband" she sends that text to google voice and not to his cellphone where he would be charged.

Hope these less than obvious tips will be helpful to Siri newbies. Remember in mastering Siri, youtube is your friend.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Monday, March 21, 2016

Well, my guide can't have every single tip in the universe about Siri, I just picked out some of them.

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thanks for this guide. I took a look at Siri earlier today and it seems to be very good. I will definitely play around with it some more though. I'm loving Mac OS Sierra.

Submitted by JeffB on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nicely done thanks for this.

Submitted by That Blind Canuck on Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thanks for outlining some of the tricks in using Siri. For the most part, I've always been pretty successful in using Siri, but do run into gbrick walls sometimes.

One thing I did notice though, not sure if this was the same in iOS 11, but I asked Siri that famous question "What is zero divided by zero?", and is it me or does her tone sound different now? Before, her tone sounded robotic but now, she seems to have a bit more attitude behind her voice. I'm loving this!