Browsing articles from "January, 2014"

Siri. Your wish is its command

Jan 28, 2014
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So what or who is Siri you ask?

Siri is an intelligent personal assistant which started as an app and in October 2011 became integrated with Apple’s iOS (actually if you ask Siri “when’s your birthday”, it will tell you its first day on the job was 4 October 2011).  A little bit of history; Siri has been part of iOS since iOS 5 and was first supported on the iPhone 4S. Siri was added to the iPad (3rd generation) with the release of iOS 6, and is included on the iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPod Touch (5th generation), iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, and the iPad Mini.

Here are some tips and tricks to start your conversation with Siri (if you’re wondering about the name, it is Norwegian, meaning ‘beautiful woman who leads you to victory’):

Tip 1: Hold the home button down and  talk to Siri as you would to a person. Say something like “Tell my sister I’m running late” or “Remind me to call the doctor” Some commands to start you off:

• Internet search with “Google pictures of grumpy cat”, “show me pictures of a 747″, “What’s the phone number for Moo Chow Chow in Ponsonby”
“Show me a map of Ponsonby, Auckland” – now this works (just make sure privacy settings for Siri is turned on under Settings) however Siri can’t look up places or give directions in NZ at the moment – hopefully that service will be extended to us in the near future!
• Answer those tricky questions: “what’s 35 miles an hour in kilometres per hour”
Query your contact list by asking “what’s Jason Brown’s birthday?”
• Set alarms by saying “wake me up at 6am tomorrow” or “wake me up in 2 hours”
• If you’re recipe reading using your iPad in the kitchen telling Siri to “set the timer for 3 minutes” or “what is 2 pounds in kilograms” is very handy
• Wake up in the morning to ask “what’s on my calendar today“, “what’s the weather like in Wellington?” or “what is today going to be like?”
• Setting reminders is a breeze, simply say “remind me to buy an engagement gift for Sarah
If you aren’t sure, ask Siri what it can do for you – it will tell you.

Tip 2: After all this conversation, if you decide you’d like Siri to have a male voice on your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Siri > Voice Gender (if you’re using iOS7).

Tip 3: Tell Siri what your relationships are. For example, “Elliot Johnson is my husband“, “Benjamin Daley is my brother“. After you’ve done this, you’ll find saying “call my brother“, “what’s mum’s birthday“, “email dad” etc so much faster.

• If you don’t want to tell Siri what the relationships are, manually set relationships in your contact details instead – edit your contact card, tap to add related name, choose the label, tap the blue arrow to choose the contact person.
• If you have more than one brother, differ the relationship e.g tell Siri “Benjamin Daley is my youngest brother“.

Tip 4: The more you teach Siri what you were really meaning, the more it will learn and understand you. If you get a response that wasn’t quite right, hit tap to edit below a response then use the keyboard to edit the term.


Let’s just assume now you’re on iOS7; Siri can now playback voicemails, return your last missed call, search Twitter & Wikipedia, and change app settings (e.g. turn on/off Wi-Fi). All you need to do is ask but for some of these functions it would help if you are in Australia, since they haven’t reached our NZ shores yet.

 Tip 5: Open settings easily by saying “open [app name]’s settings” for example “open Safari settings”. Asking Siri to “turn the Wi-Fi off” and “turn on airplane mode” is useful, just remember that Siri needs the internet to work so you’ll need to change your settings back manually to use Siri again.

 Tip 6: You can ask Siri to post a status on Facebook – “post on Facebook Cocktails are fine in Fiji” or “write on my wall Fiji is a balmy 28 degrees”. If you’re on Twitter, just say “tweet did you just watch Lorde on the Grammys? hashtag grammys”. You can even ask “what’s trending on Twitter” or “what are my friends saying on Twitter”. It’s just a shame this can be used by our Aussie friends but hasn’t extended to us in NZ yet.

Tip 7: Definitely try texting (useful when you’re cooking, driving, exercising…): “Text Heather I’ll be late home for dinner”, “text mum I’m on my way” etc. If you aren’t happy how Siri understood what you said, instead of confirming it, say “change it” or say “cancel” to abandon it (also try “append” to add on to the message). You can also punctuate using Siri – say “dot dot dot”, “comma”, “semicolon”, “open quote” & “end quote” to your dictation.

Tip 8: When you’re driving in the car, it is very handy to ask Siri to “read my mail” – Siri will check your new emails and give you a headline overview. You can also send an email, even send it to more than one person.


Lots of easter eggs to be found too – try these: “tell me a joke”, “what is inception about“, “what’s the best phone”“I’m drunk”, “who made you?”, “do I look nice today”, “do you love me”, “does Siri stand for seriously”…Lastly, if Siri is upsetting you with pronouncing your name wrong, say “you didn’t pronounce my name correctly” to get an apology, say your name again and then choose the option you like the best, or say “from now on call me…[nickname]” or manually add yourself a nickname by editing your contact details in the Contacts app. Go on, give yourself the nickname you’ve always wanted from a BFF….