3 useful questions to ask Siri

People should start using Siri for sirious work. (Okay fine, that wasn’t punny)

But seriously this is the thing: I know it’s fun to ask Siri inane questions such as “What are you wearing?” and “Make me a sandwich” (her answers are hilarious) but is it possible to actually do something productive with Siri?

I’m here to tell you: yes yes yes!

Today I want to show you three of my favorite things to ask Siri.  These things actually help me get things done throughout the day so I want to share it with you.  My hope is that it’ll help you too!

Check it out

1. Checking the weather

The biggest thing I use Siri for is getting weather updates.  Sure, I could look out the window or install a weather app but what’s the point when Siri can already handle that?

Press and hold the home button and ask:

“Is it raining outside?”

Siri searches your current location and tells you if you need to grab an umbrella before leaving the house.

Ask Siri if it's raining outside

“Will I need a jacket tomorrow?”

Siri gives you the low temperature for tomorrow and let’s you decide.

Asking Siri if I'll need a jacket tomorrow

“Should I bring an umbrella next Monday?”

You’ll not only get the forecast for Monday but also the following week.

Asking Siri should I bring an umbrella next Monday

Also here’s a tip I use:  when my smartphone is plugged into power via a USB outlet or power plug, I don’t even have to press and hold the home button before invoking Siri’s wisdom.  I just say “Hey Siri” and start my question.

To enable this, tap over to Settings and swipe on Allow “Hey Siri”.

Allow Hey Siri

2. Teach Siri how you relate to your contacts.

This is great one and after you set it up you never have to mess with it again.

I can say:

“Text my wife”

Siri asks me who exactly is my wife?

Asking Siri to text my wife

So I tell Siri my wife’s name as it’s displayed in my Contacts.  So now when I want to text my wife, I just say:

“Text my wife say is everything okay?”

Siri asks me if I want to send it, I say yes, my wife gets the message “is everything okay” and I’m done.

You can do the same thing with other people such as your boss, brothers, mom, ex-girlfriend, ex-husband, ex-stalker etc…

3. Get Siri to find stuff

Want to change your mail settings?  just ask her:

“Open Mail Settings.”

If you want to find a specific email from a person you can say

“Find emails from Greg from last month”

And you’ll see a list of all emails from that user for the last month.

It takes a while to get used to this way of interacting your with your phone because you might not know the exact wording to get your point across.

Just have fun and experiment; set aside 15 minutes today to ask questions and observe the results.


 

For example, let’s say you’re looking for an important email but the only thing you remember is the subject.  You can ask:

“Find email with subject Sick Day”

Siri instantly looks for emails containing your search criteria.  If she can’t find it but you know an email with that subject exists, tap open your Mail settings and confirm that you’re syncing all your emails and not just the most recent ones.

For example, you can enter Mail, Contacts, Calendars, tap your email account and change the Mail Days to Sync value to No limit.  Since my iPhone 6+ has 64GB of memory this isn’t an issue for me but if you’re running low on a space it could slow down your phone also the first time you do this it can take hours to download everything so use caution.

One other thing, my wife and I installed Find my Friends on our iPhones so I actually ask Siri:

“Where is my wife”

And Siri conjures up my wife’s approximate location.  (assuming she’s not ignoring me lol)

4. Make Siri smarter

During the inception of Siri, my cardinal reason for ignoring her was because she was too stupid to get my words right.

You know what I mean?

To text my brother I say:

“Text my brother say it comes with fries and coke”

and Siri in her infinite wisdom “autocorrects” my benign message to:

it comes with fries and cocaine

You can easily get her to quit the shenanigans by scrolling the screen up a little, tapping the phrase and modifying it.  When you correct phrases like this, Siri remembers what you did and learns to avoid similar mistakes.  So whenever you say something and she gets it wrong just scroll up and touch “tap to edit” to make Siri smarter.

The Bottom Line

According to an October 2013 Google Consumer Survey poll from 2,330 respondents, 85% said they didn’t use Siri.  Granted, iOS 8 has made advancements in Siri’s voice recognition abilities I still feel that most people are averse to talking to a “robot” to get things done.  I think part of it is that we think we can get things done faster using our old methods of tapping through icons and messages.  Also, since our experience demonstrates that Siri is predisposed to make mistakes we don’t want to waste time correcting Siri so we just ignore her.

Well until we need to get the name of that song on the radio (“Siri, what song is this”?) or when we’re bored and ask silly questions such as:

“When is the world ending”

Ask Siri when the world is ending

I get it she feels like a joke, how can you taking someone seriously who answers such a profound question so flippantly?

lol

But I promise if you hang out with her for a few minutes every day you’ll start to use her more.  The first thing I suggest is that you plainly ask Siri what she can do.

What can Siri do?

She’ll display a list of example commands you can ask.  Tap any command for details.  If you want a full list of Siri commands grouped by task, check out http://www.imore.com/siri-ultimate-guide.  iMore gives you verything from making Siri read aloud your emails to get her to find local restaurants for dinner.  Definitely worth the read.

Do you use Siri?  If not, what’s your biggest issue with her?  Sound off in the comments below!

 

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