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Using Siri


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                                      Dictation, Learning About Siri's Capabilities, Voice Control and Siri









This article will walk users through how to set up Siri, what Siri can be used for, Siri availability, and more.

Siri is available on:
  • iPhone 4S or later
  • iPad
    • iPad (3rd generation) with iOS 6 or later
    • iPad (4th generation)
    • iPad Air
    • iPad mini
  • iPod touch
    • iPod touch (5th generation)
  • Mac*
    • Mac with OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) or later and a built-in or external microphone

*(NOTE: For Macs, only Dictation, not completely Siri)

Users of the 3rd generation will need to update to iOS 6 to get Siri. All other devices mentioned above will come with Siri out of the box, however, if you have an iOS 5 device with Siri (that would be an iPhone 4S), updating to iOS 6 gives Siri more features, including added language support, the ability to reserve restaurant tables, get sports game scores or movie information, and tighter integration with Maps.

To talk to Siri, hold down the home  button for a few seconds until you hear a double beep. At this point, Siri is now listening. If you hear a lower-toned double beep and the Siri button is no longer lit up, then Siri is no longer listening. If you wait too long, Siri will assume that you are done. After you hear the double beep and Siri has started, begin speaking your request. When you are done, you can either tap on the Siri icon, or wait a few seconds without noise (a small amount of background noise should be okay, but if Siri does not stop listening, just tap the icon), and then Siri will begin processing your request. Siri requires an Internet connection as your speech is sent to Apple servers so Siri knows how to respond.

In the event that Siri does not appear, there are multiple possibilities to consider. There are a few devices that look nearly identical on the outside, but the hardware on the inside is quite different. An example of this would be the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4 does not support Siri, so if you have an iPhone 4, it would be normal not to find Siri. The same can be said of the iPad 2 and a 3rd generation iPad. To be sure you have a Siri supported device, see our Model Identifier Utility.

Another possibility is that Siri has been restricted in Settings. Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and make sure that Siri is not off.


Lastly, upon setting up a device, one of the initial setup screens asks if you would like to use Siri, as pictured left.

If you selected "Don't Use Siri," either inadvertently or intentionally, Siri will not automatically pop up upon holding down the home button.

In order to re-enable Siri, go to Settings > General > Siri, and the top option will toggle Siri on or off. Verify that it is in the ON position.

You may see the menu at left if updating a device to iOS 6, or if you have just powered on your device for the first time out of the box.

It is also possible for users to see a blue screen that reads "Voice Control" rather than seeing the screen for Siri. When Siri is turned off, Voice Control may take its place. Voice Control is a 
less-capable voice recognition system that is also available on older devices such as the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, or the 3rd or 4th generation iPod touch. It can understand simpler commands such as "Call [Name]" or "Play [Song name]," but cannot truly understand everyday speech the way Siri does. If you have a Siri-capable device and are instead getting Voice Control, follow the above instructions to turn Siri on if you prefer Siri. 

Users of older generation devices can learn more about Voice Control below.


It will help Siri a lot of you have a contact created for yourself. Open the Contacts app and tap "+" to create a new contact for yourself if you haven't done so already. Then, go to Settings > General > Siri, and then tap My Info. This will bring up your contact list, from which you can select the contact you created for yourself. 

By giving Siri this information, it will be able to call you by name, and also be able to answer Maps-related questions such as "How do I get home?" or "Remind me to pick up a pizza when I leave work," assuming that you have those addresses entered in your contacts. 

Siri can also learn about your family. If you were to mention "my mom" or "my wife" in a request, Siri would ask you who that is, and then remember it from now on. You could also just tell her directly: "Remember that [Contact Name] is my mom."

You can even have Siri call you by a nickname by saying, "From now on, call me [Name]."

Dictation translates whatever you say into text. The dictation icon will appear anywhere a keyboard pops up, and it is ideal for composing text messages or emails, commenting on websites, and so much more.

The Apple Club has a separate article devoted to using Dictation on your iOS device or on your Mac, found here:

The easiest way to learn about all of the things Siri can do is to ask: "What can you do?" And Siri will provide a list.
     
The different things you can say are sorted by application. You can see more commands for a specific application by tapping on it, as shown in the above right screenshot.

         
The main advantage of Siri over Voice Control is that you can carry on a conversation and it remembers things you have previously said in the same conversation. You are also to able to word your questions any which way, and Siri is likely to understand. Voice Control, on the other hand, cannot handle complete sentences. Think of it like a Bluetooth headset. It has a limited set of command words or keywords that it understands. Voice Control is wonderful for owners of an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, or iPod touch owners who do not have Siri since it still allows them to perform tasks by speaking. If you do have a Siri-capable device, however, it is more capable.

Punctuation with Siri or Dictation
For most punctuation, you can speak the symbol you want to use and Siri will enter it. For example, saying "Hello exclamation point" will print "Hello!" in the output. Below is a list of things to say to Siri for various formatting options in your message.
  • "Caps" or "Capital" - capitalizes the next word
  • "Caps on" and "Caps off" - capitalizes the first letter of each word between these two commands
  • "All caps" - capitalizes every letter in the next word
  • "All caps on" and "All caps off" - capitalizes every letter of every word between these two commands
  • "No caps" - will not capitalize the next word
  • "No caps on" and "No caps off" - will not capitalize the first letter of each word between these two commands
  • "Space bar" - adds a single space
  • "No space" - removes the space between the current word and the following word
  • "No space on" and "No space off" - removes the space between words that are in between these two commands
  • "New line" - text following this command will be on a new line. The equivalent to the enter key
  • "New paragraph" - text following this command will be in a new paragraph - on a new line and indented
  • "Period" - inserts "."
  • "Exclamation mark" or "Exclamation point" - inserts "!"
  • "Comma" - inserts ","
  • "Apostrophe" - inserts " ' "
  • "Open quote" and "Close quote" - inserts " " "
  • "Open parenthesis" and "Close parenthesis" - inserts "(" and ")" respectively
  • "Asterisk" - inserts " * "
  • "Copyright sign" - inserts "©"
  • "Percent sign" - inserts "%"
  • "Registered sign" - inserts "®"
  • "Section sign" - inserts "§"
  • "Dollar sign" - inserts "$"
  • "Cent sign" - inserts "¢"
  • "Degree sign" - inserts " ° "
  • "Caret" - inserts " ^ "
  • "At sign" - inserts "@"
  • "Pound sterling sign" - inserts "£"
  • "Pound sign" - inserts "#"

Note that Siri/Dictation is able to figure out some of this, such as, if you said, "We are eating dinner at Matthew's," it would automatically insert the apostrophe.

Siri's Voice
If you have questions about Siri's voice, see Siri's Voice: Information and Troubleshooting.



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