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"Hey Siri": A Helpful Guide to Using Artificial Intelligence to Your Advantage

Apple's Siri is perhaps the best-known digital personal assistant. Most people only use Siri to perform basic Web searches or answer simple questions, but Siri is quite powerful and capable of so much more. For example, Siri is great for taking audio notes, transcribing, creating reminders, and setting alarms. Siri can also change the settings on connected iOS devices. The longer a person uses Siri the more helpful it becomes. Siri learns a person's individualized way of speaking over time and therefore becomes more responsive to their requests.

Searching for Things

Siri excels at finding information. One great thing about using Siri is that the information is usually better than just a list of websites. If Siri is asked what time an event begins or how long it will take to drive to the airport typically the user will be provided with a direct answer.

Create Reminders

Setting a reminder with Siri is as simple as saying "remind me" and then saying what the reminder is. Siri automatically adds this information to the Reminders app. It also sends reminders to all connected Apple devices. Siri can also read upcoming reminders either as a daily to-do list or tell the user what reminders are tied to close by locations. It's also possible to set up different lists and have Siri add the reminder to a specific list. For example, "pay credit card" to a financial task list or "call landscaper" to home chores to-do list.

Create Events

Telling Siri to create an event will trigger the digital assistant to enter the information into a calendar for you. After Siri has created the event in the calendar, it will ask the user to confirm the information on the event. Siri can also be instructed to reschedule events, add attendees to a meeting, and give information about upcoming events.

Set Alarms

Setting an alarm using Siri is as simple as saying "Hey Siri I need to wake up at 7 AM" and Siri will automatically create the alarm for that time. It can also edit existing alarms. It's also possible to set an alarm for a certain amount of time by saying "Siri set an alarm for thirty minutes" instead of a specific time.

Call People

Hands-free phone usage is a big concern for many drivers. Siri makes using an Apple device in a hands-free manner much easier. Simply by saying "Siri call mom" Siri will place the call without anyone needing to touch the phone. Siri can also list out missed calls and check voicemails.

Find Out What Time It Is

Another great way Siri can help use an Apple phone in a hands-free manner is by asking for the time. Siri can also respond with the time in another location or a specific time zone. However, Siri can only answer about one location at a time.

Tell You What Song Is Playing

Like a song that's currently playing? Ask Siri to identify it. The digital assistant uses the SHAZAM database to answer the question, but it does so with no intervention from the user.

Play Songs from Your Favorite Artist

Siri can also help users curate their playlists. Users can either ask Siri to play songs by a specific artist, they can ask for a specific song, or they can ask for songs in a certain genre or style of music. It's also possible to pause a current song or play another.

Make Reservations

One little-known action Siri can complete for users is making reservations at their favorite reservations. Siri connects seamlessly with OpenTable to find available reservations for the preferred time and party size and then make the reservation.

Launch Applications

Most people have an overabundance of apps on their phones or iPads and trying to quickly find a needed app can be a frustrating experience. Siri can help streamline the process. Simply say "Open Instagram" or "Launch Hulu" and the app will launch. Siri can also download apps from the app store if you request it to "download Ebay."

Find and Read Emails

Siri can also be used to hunt through email inboxes to find a specific email. Simply ask Siri to find an email using the sender, date received, or email subject, and Siri will search and find out. Siri can also then read the email. Siri is a great tool for email management. It's possible to dictate a new email to Siri, reply to an email that's been received, or check for new emails.

Perform Calculations

Need to know how much tip to leave on a restaurant bill, or how much an item will be with tax? Siri can complete both simple and more complex calculations when asked.

Check Dates

Want to know how many days are left until Christmas, or curious about what day of the week a certain date falls on? Just ask Siri. She'll check the calendar and let you know.


One thing smartphones excel at is giving directions, and Siri makes this capability even easier to access. Siri can answer questions as simple as how long it takes to drive to a destination to detailed directions on how to get to a place. Siri can also help the user find the nearest restroom, gas station, or restaurant.

Take Notes

Have an idea and can't get to pen and paper? Siri is an excellent note-taker. The notes Siri records are automatically sent to iCloud so they are accessible from all of the users' Apple devices.

Read Text Messages

Need to send a text message? It's possible to dictate a message to Siri and send it without the person ever needing to touch a device. Siri can also read text messages out loud and send responses.

Follow Sports

Love sports? Siri can let keep fans in the loop about what's going on with their favorite team. Users can ask for score updates, upcoming game times, or who the next opponent is. Siri can also report on the team's standing and what channel the next game will be broadcast on.

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