How to use Siri – Tips and help for Siri

// December 6, 2011

We have been using Siri for almost a month now and while it’s not perfect we are pleased with what Apple has done with Siri so far. Currently, Siri is only availbe on the iPhone 4S but there’s no question that Siri will be included on future iOS devices.

How to ask Siri something?

To talk to Siri, hold down the Home button for a few seconds. This can be done even if the phone is in the sleep mode. You will hear a couple of quick beeps and see “What can I help you with?” on the screen. Siri doesn’t require you to ask a question in a specific manner, you just ask a question or make a request and Siri looks for keywords to determine what you mean.

The microphone icon lights up to let you know that Siri hears you talking. After you pause for a few seconds Siri starts to process your request, you can tap the microphone icon to continue talking to Siri. You can also bring the phone up to your ear to continue talking to Siri.

How does Siri know who I am?

If Siri knows who you are, it can use your information to help you. Your information is used for questions like “How do I get home?” or “What good restaurants are near work?”

To let Siri know who you are, select your contact information in Settings-> General-> Siri-> My Info.

What will Siri help me with?

Siri works with most of the apps Apple includes on the iPhone 4S, here are all of the apps that are supported by Siri.

Siri Apps

Below are some examples of questions and requests that Siri will help you with.

Phone / FaceTime

  • “Call Stacy”
  • “Call Jessica Stephens Mobile”
  • “Call Susan on her work phone”
  • “Call 408 555 4444”
  • “Call Home”
  • “FaceTime Sara”

iPod / Music

  • “Play Billie Jean”
  • “Shuffle AC/DC”
  • “Play some blues”
  • “Play my party mix”
  • “Play my top 25 playlist”
  • You can also tell Siri to Play, Pause or Skip to control your music.


  • “Email Tracy about the concert”
  • “Add the concert is in Atlanta”
  • “Email Jennifer about the change in plans”
  • “New email to Susan Jones”
  • “Mail dad about the rent check”
  • “Email Dr. Pain and say I got the form, thanks.”
  • “Email Susan and Jennifer about the party and say I had a great time”
  • “Check email”
  • “Any new email from Jennifer today?”
  • “Show new email about the rent”
  • “Show email from Lisa yesterday”
  • “Reply Dear Steve sorry about the late payment”


  • “Tell Susan I’ll be right there”
  • “Send a message to Sara Wright”
  • “Send a message to Susan saying how about tomorrow”
  • “Send a message to 408 555 4444”
  • “Read my new messages”
  • “Read it again”
  • “Send a message to Steve on his mobile saying I’ll be late”
  • “Tell him I will be there in 10 minutes”
  • “Reply that is great news”
  • “Call him”


  • “Set up a meeting at 9”
  • “Set up a meeting with Susan at 9”
  • “Meet with Lisa at noon”
  • “Set up a meeting about firing Larry tomorrow”
  • “New appointment with Susan Jones Friday at 3”
  • “Schedule a safety meeting at 8:30 today at the office”
  • “Move my 8:30 meeting to 9”
  • “Reschedule my appointment with Dr. Pain to Monday at 10am”
  • “Add Steve to my meeting with Susan”
  • “Cancel the safety meeting”
  • “What does the rest of my day look like?”
  • “What’s on my calendar for Monday?
  • “When is my next appointment?”
  • “When am I meeting with Lisa?”
  • “Where is my next meeting?”


  • “Remind me to call mom”
  • “Remind me to call mom when I get home”
  • “Remind me to take an umbrella”
  • “Remind me to take medicine at 9am tomorrow”
  • “Remind me to pick up flowers when I leave here”
  • “Remind me when I leave to call Susan”
  • “Remind me to finish this post by 6”

Maps and Directions

  • “How do I get home?”
  • “Show 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington DC”
  • “Directions to my wife’s work”
  • “Find Pizza near me”
  • “Where is Starbucks?”
  • “Find italian food in Baltimore”
  • “Find a gas station within walking distance”
  • “Good mexican food around here”


  • “What’s the weather for today?”
  • “What’s the weather for tomorrow?”
  • “Will it rain in New Orleans today?”
  • “Check next weeks forecast for Baltimore”
  • “What is the forecast for this evening?”
  • “How is the weather in Biloxi right now?”
  • “How cold will it get tonight?”
  • “How windy is it out there?”
  • “When is sunrise in Paris?”


  • “What is Apple’s stock price?”
  • “What is Google’s PE ratio?”
  • “What did Yahoo close at today?”
  • “How is the S&P doing?”
  • “How are the markets doing?”
  • “What is the Dow at?”

Clock, Alarm and Timer

  • “Wake me up tomorrow at 8am”
  • “Set an alarm for 8:30am”
  • Wake me up in 8 hours
  • “Change my alarm from 8:30 to 8:45”
  • “Turn off my alarm at 8:30”
  • “Delete my alarm at 8:30”
  • “What time is it?”
  • “What time is it in Moscow?”
  • “What is today’s date?”
  • “What’s the date this Saturday?”
  • “Set a timer for 30 minutes”
  • You can also tell Siri to Show, Pause, Resume, Reset or Stop the timer.

FindMy Friends

  • “Where’s Susan?”
  • “Where’s my sister?”
  • “Is my wife at home?”
  • “Who is near Me?”

Address Book

  • “What is Susan’s address?”
  • “What is Susan Stephen’s phone number?”
  • “When is my wife’s birthday?”
  • “Show Susan’s home email address”
  • “What is my brothers work address?”
  • “Show James Johnson”
  • “Find people named Johnson”
  • “My mom is Susan Stephens”
  • “Larry Stephens is my brother”
  • “Call my brother at work”


  • “Note that I spent $10 on lunch”
  • “Note overtime”
  • “Add 5 1/2 hours overtime on December 1”
  • “Find my restaurant note”
  • “Create reading list note”
  • “Add Tom Sawyer to my reading list”

Web Search

  • “Web Search Search the web for iPad Help”
  • “Search for chicken pasta recipes”
  • “Google the the war of 1812”
  • “Search Wikipedia for Abraham Lincoln”
  • “Search news about Nascar”
  • “Bing American Chopper”


  • “How many calories are in a Big Mac?”
  • “What is an 15% tip on 86.74 for four people?”
  • “How long do dogs live?”
  • “What is the square root of 128?”
  • “What was the best picture of 1995?”
  • “How far away is the sun?What is the population of Baltimore?”
  • “How high is Mt. Everest?”
  • “How deep is the Atlantic ocean?”
  • “What is the price of gasoline in Boston?”

Siri is still in beta and should improve over time. Some users may find better results using Siri than others but overall most of the reviews we are hearing have been positive.


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