How to use Siri on the iPhone (with examples)

By February 12, 2016March 23rd, 2016Tips

The following post about how to use Siri is excerpted from the book iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes by author Ian Lamont.

Pay close attention. You’re about to discover one of the coolest, most useful features on your iPhone. Even if you’ve tried Siri before, read this short section about how to use Siri — I guarantee you’ll learn some new uses you didn’t even know were possible.

What is Siri?

Siri is a virtual assistant that helps you find information and data using your voice. It can also launch apps. If you have your iPhone with you and it’s connected to Wi-Fi or a high-speed carrier network, do this right now:

  • Hold down the Home button for about two seconds.
  • The screen will turn black, a shimmering audio waveform will appear, and the phone will vibrate, signaling Siri is ready.
  • In a clear voice, say “Find the nearest supermarket.”

Siri will make a tone, and a computerized voice will announce and show what it has found:

How to use Siri on the iPhone

Results can include definitions, Web pages, maps, and other information. Taping a single result will display more information.

If you don’t see Siri when you hold down the home button, go to Settings > General > Siri and make sure it’s turned on. You can also change the gender of the computerized voice, as well as the language Siri uses.

How to use Siri to perform simple tasks

Siri is not only futuristic, but also cuts down the time required to find directions, set up meetings, and perform many other tasks. Here are some of the things you can do with Siri:

  • Call a phone number in your contact list (“Call Jill Smith at home”).
  • Check email (“Check email”).
  • Compose email and text messages (“Email Jim Smith”/“Send a message to Jim Smith”).
  • Post to social media (“Post to Twitter”/“Post to Facebook”).
  • Check the weather, local movie listings, and sports scores (“What’s tomorrow’s weather”).
  • Review calendars and make appointments (“Check appointments”/“Make appointments”).
  • Get directions (“How do I get to Main Street from here”).
  • Find local restaurants and read the reviews (“What’s the nearest Chinese restaurant”).
  • Create alarms (“Set alarm for 8 am tomorrow morning”).
  • Play music and podcasts (“Play ‘Beat it’ by Michael Jackson”).
  • Search the Internet for information (“What’s the capital of Australia”).
  • Crack random jokes (“What is the meaning of life?”).

Siri isn’t perfect. In fact, it frequently stumbles. While researching this book, posing the question “Where is the nearest post office” displayed a local packaging service instead. At other times, Siri may not respond, or may announce that it cannot be used. It also requires Wi-Fi or a fast carrier signal.

Nevertheless, Siri is a huge time saver, and in recently years it has gotten much “smarter” about predicting what information users are looking for. Learn how to use it!