7 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Could Do for You
Sure, Siri on the iPhone makes for a fun way to ask what the weather is like outside, but Apple’s polite personal assistant can also do a heck of a lot more for you.
Here are seven great Siri features that you’ve probably never used.
1. Opening apps. If you don’t learn to use Siri for anything else, for the love of Mike, learn this one.
You can say, “Open Calendar” or “Play Angry Birds” or “Launch Calculator.”
Result: The corresponding app opens instantly. It’s exactly the same as pressing the Home button, swiping across the screen until you find the app you’re looking for, and then tapping its icon — but without pressing the Home button, swiping across the screen until you find the app you’re looking for, and then tapping its icon.
2. Change your settings. This one’s new in iOS 7, and it’s excellent. You can make changes to certain basic settings just by speaking your request. You can say, for example, “Turn on Bluetooth,” “Turn off WiFi,” “Turn on Do Not Disturb,” and “Turn on Airplane mode.” (You can’t turn off Airplane mode by voice, because Siri doesn’t work without an Internet connection.)
You can also make screen adjustments: “Make the screen brighter.” “Dim the screen.”
Result: Siri makes the requested adjustment, tells you so, and displays the corresponding switch in case she misunderstood your intention.
3. Read full emails to you. In iOS 7, Siri can actually read full messages to you — not just the header information (to, from, and subject line).
For example, if you say, “Read my latest email” or “Read my new email,” Siri reads aloud your most recent email message. (Siri then offers you the chance to dictate a response.)
Or you can use the new summary-listing commands. When you say, “Read my email,” Siri starts walking backward through your Inbox, telling you the subject of each, plus who sent it and when.
While this recitation is going on, you can tap the microphone button to interrupt with “Read that email” or “Read the third email” (for example)—and Siri will read a summary of the email (not the whole body).
She once again invites you to dictate a reply; if you say no, she picks up from where she left off, reading the rest of the subjects.
Result: Siri reads aloud.
You can also compose a new message by voice; anytime you use the phrase “about,” that becomes the subject line for your new message. “Email Mom about the reunion.” “Email my boyfriend about the dance on Friday.” “New email to Freddie Gershon.” “Mail Mom about Saturday’s flight.” “Email Frank and Cindy Vosshall and Peter Love about the picnic.” “Email my assistant and say, ‘Thanks for arranging the taxi!’ ” “Email Gertie and Eugene about their work on the surprise party, and say I really value your friendship.”