25 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Can Do

Apple’s virtual assistant Siri is ten years old, and has evolved from an extremely limited voice-activated software agent to a much more sophisticated tool, that is capable of triggering tasks, interacting with apps, and, with Apple’s Shortcuts app, launching complex automations.

Since the beginning, however, it has been difficult to find out exactly what Siri was capable of. In the early days, Siri was quite inflexible, and commands only worked if they were worded in specific ways, but that has improved over time, as Apple has collected huge amounts of data about how people talk to Siri.

Yet you still probably have no idea how many things Siri can do for you. Here are 25 things that you can ask Siri that you might not have thought of.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

The Most Lamentable Tragedie of Sirius Unresponsivus

Siri and I have never gotten along. Whether it’s asking Siri to play music, or using Siri to control Apple Maps, this gizmo has never been in any way useful to me. I do use Siri occasionally: to perform simple math calculations on my iPhone, when I want to add something to my shopping list, or, when I’m in the kitchen, and want to set a timer.

However, unless my iPhone is just a few feet away – and this is with a cellular Apple Watch Series 4, on the same wi-fi network, the usual response is this:


I wait for that tap, and it usually never comes.

Learn How to Use Siri in the New Book Take Control of Siri

Tc siriWhen Take Control Books ran a customer survey last summer, asking which Apple software products people would most like to read about, Siri got the most votes. In keeping with their theme of giving you what you’ve asked for, they are delighted to announce our latest book, Take Control of Siri by former Macworld editor Scholle McFarland! This book is the definitive guide to Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant across all platforms–iOS, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and even HomePod. If you own any Apple device with Siri support, this book will tell you everything you need to know about being more productive, saving time and effort, and having fun with Siri. And you may be surprised at how powerful Siri has become since its early days!

This book is a terrific resource. Here’s just a tiny sampling of what’s in this 138-page book:

  • The numerous ways to activate Siri (by touch or by voice)
  • How to personalize Siri by telling it about yourself, your contacts, and more
  • How to use Siri with AirPods, wired earbuds, or third-party headphones–or in your car
  • How to ask Siri about sports, math and conversions, time, food, movies, people, stocks, the weather, jokes, and random facts (including follow-up questions)
  • How to control music (on any device, with or without an Apple Music subscription)
  • Techniques for using Siri to get directions, set reminders and appointments, send messages and email, and take notes
  • Ways to use Siri to search for files on your Mac
  • What Siri can and can’t do for you on an Apple TV or HomePod
  • How to make and use Siri Shortcuts on an iOS device or Apple Watch
  • Everything you need to know about your privacy where Siri is involved

In addition, Scholle has made a series of videos to go with the book, showing you exactly what happens as you use Siri. (Two are ready right now, and eight more will be available in the coming days.) You’ll get to see and hear how to make the most of Siri (as well as its sense of humor).

Get Take Control of Siri now.

Apple’s Siri Learns New Jokes – Mac Rumors

Apple appears to have recently updated Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and HomePod with a slew of new jokes to tell. Based on reports on Twitter and from MacRumors readers, the new jokes started rolling out earlier this month.

When you ask Siri a question like “tell me a joke” on an iOS device, Mac, or the HomePod, Siri has dozens of fresh responses to share with you.

Apple seems to spend a lot of time honing Siri’s snark and humor, and much less time getting it to work for the things people want to use it for. It’s useless for me in playing music, because it doesn’t recognize many of the artists and albums I want to play. For many other tasks, it either fails or gets things wrong. I no longer trust it for anything other than setting reminders when I’m cooking, setting an alarm, or setting a timer. And even then, I have to check to make sure it gets things right.

Source: Apple’s Siri Learns New Jokes – Mac Rumors

Hey Apple, Fix This: Siri-ous mistakes: Apple’s personal assistant still needs a lot of work

Apple fix this

Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, can be a wonderful tool. It can tell me what time it is, what the weather’s going to be, and even perform some basic calculations. I can use it to set an alarm, start a timer, or open an app.

But beyond those simple tasks, Apple’s virtual assistant doesn’t make the grade for me. And I’m not alone; Siri fails for a lot of people, even for simple questions.

Apple touts Siri as a miraculous tool that can simplify your life and turn your iPhone into a personal butler. But it doesn’t always work that way. It works fairly well with calendar events and emails, sends text messages efficiently, and calls people (if it understands their names).

Siri is one of those features that looks good in Apple’s ads, but that doesn’t always perform as it should.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

And after I wrote the article, I did some testing of Siri on the macOS Sierra beta. Why was I not surprised by this?

Siri grateful dead

Use Siri to Play Music on iOS Devices

Siri, Apple’s personal assistant that you can talk to (and that can talk back), can do lots of things. Set up appointments, get sports scores, find restaurants and more. One thing that I find Siri good for is playing music on my iPhone. When I’m out walking, listening to music with my Bluetooth headphones, I find it much easier to tell Siri what I want to listen to than to scroll through the Music app. Here’s an overview of the different ways you can have Siri play music.

  • “Play [artist name]” This plays music by the artist you name in shuffle mode.
  • “Play [album name]” will start playing an album in sequence.
  • “Play [playlist name]” will start playing a playlist in sequence.
  • “Play [song name]” will play the song you specify. If, however, you have an album and song with the same name, Siri will choose the album. For example, say “Play Wish You Were Here,” and Siri will play the album; say “Play the song Wish You Were Here” and you’ll hear the song.

Siri music1

  • “Play [genre name]” Siri plays music from the genre you specify in shuffle mode.
  • “Shuffle music” Siri will play all of your songs in shuffle mode.

Siri music2

  • “Shuffle [playlist name]” will play the playlist you specify in shuffle mode.
  • “Pause” tells Siri to stop playing. “Play” starts playback again. “Skip” tells Siri to skip the current track and go ahead to the next one.
  • “Make a Genius playlist from this song” tells Siri to create a new Genius playlist. The current song will continue playing.
  • “What’s playing?” Siri will show you (and tell you, if you have voice feedback turned on) the name of the song and artist currently playing.

iTunes Radio has a number of special Siri commands:

  • Play a specific radio station: “Play Bob Dylan radio.” Sometimes, if you tell Siri to play music by an artist “Play Grateful Dead,” it will play a radio station instead, if you have a station with the same name.
  • Favorite a song: “Play more like this.”
  • Never play a song: “Never play this song.”
  • Find out what’s playing: “What song is playing?”
  • Play a new station: “Play a reggae iTunes Radio station.”
  • Pause, stop, or skip songs: “Skip this song.”
  • Add a song to your Wish List: “Add this song to my iTunes Wish List.”

This is not a complete list of Siri commands to play music. If you know of any that I haven’t listed, please post in the comments, and I’ll add them.