How to use Siri on iPhone, and the 5 most useful Siri commands

At this point, even if you’re brand new to using an iPhone, you’re probably at least familiar with what Siri is. At the very least, you’re familiar with Siri’s signature attitude and antics. But in case you’re having a hard time describing exactly what Siri is, it’s Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant. Siri helps you do ordinary tasks hands-free. You just have to tell Siri what to do you would like it to do. Keep reading to learn how to use Siri, as well as the 5 most useful Siri commands.

How to use Siri

Siri is great for doing many basic tasks hands-free. You can ask Siri to look something up for you, text a contact, skip a song, or even search your photos.

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What iPhones have Siri?

iPhone 4s was the first iPhone to be shipped with Siri. So as long as your iPhone is newer than that, you have Siri.

How to set up Siri

When you first set up your iPhone, you are prompted to set up Siri. But don’t worry if you were in a hurry and skipped that step; you can still enable Siri.

  1. On your iPhone, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Siri & Search.
  3. Toggle on either Listen for “Hey Siri” or Press Side Button for Siri to enable it.

How to personalize Siri

Maybe you’ve had Siri enabled and have used it from time to time, but did you know that you can personalize Siri? You can change Siri’s language, accent, and gender.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Siri & Search.
  3. Tap Siri Voice.
  4. Tap to choose an accent: American, Australian, British, Indian, Irish, or South African.
  5. Then tap to choose a gender: Male or Female.

If you want to change the language you use to speak to Siri, you can do that in Settings > Siri & Search > Language.

How to activate Siri

Once you have Siri enabled, there are a couple of ways to activate the virtual assistant.

  • Press and hold the Side button. Note: If your iPhone has a physical Home button, press and hold that instead.
  • Say, “Hey, Siri.”
  • If you’re using AirPods, double-tap the side of your AirPods.
  • When using AirPod Pros, press and hold either of the AirPods.
How to activate Siri on iPhone

What can Siri do? The 5 best Siri voice commands

You can ask Siri to do all kinds of different things. In fact, you can even ask Siri what you can ask her to do. But to get you going, here are five of the best voice commands for using Siri.

1. Check and add to your calendar

Since Siri is technically a virtual assistant, why not have it manage your calendar for you? You can ask Siri to do basic things like “Check my meetings” or “How many days until my birthday?” But you can also have Siri do more complex things such as “Remind me to call Mom when I leave work.” Siri can also create calendar events for via voice commands like, “Schedule a meeting with Pete next Tuesday at noon.”

2. Open either camera

While Siri can’t take a photo for you, it can open the Camera app. More importantly, Siri can open which camera you want to use. If you simply say, “Take a picture,” Siri will open the rear camera, and if you say, “Take a selfie,” Siri will open the front camera.

3. Search for photos of…

You can even use Siri to search your photo library for you. When you say “Search for photos I took in Spain,” Siri will show you all the pictures you took on your trip to Spain. You can even be more specific and search by date, as well as by person.

4. Turn on/off settings

Some of the more practical functions Siri can help with include turning on or off the various settings on your phone. Some of the settings you can control just by saying, “Turn on/off…” include:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Airplane Mode
  • Night Shift
  • Dark Mode

5. Travel commands

The functions that allow you to be hands-free while you’re driving are perhaps Siri’s most useful features. You can tell Siri to “Show me the nearest gas station,” or ask, “How do I get to work by train?” You can even ask Siri to take you home, and it will navigate you using Apple Maps.

How to use Siri for navigation

What to do if Siri is not working

If you’ve been using Siri but it suddenly stops working, there are a couple of things that could be causing issues. The first place you should look is in Settings > Siri & Search on your iPhone. Make sure that a setting wasn’t accidentally toggled off to prevent Siri from working properly.

Siri is having trouble connecting to the network

It’s important to note that Siri does require a connection to the internet to communicate with Apple’s servers. That being said, you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. Unfortunately, there is no offline mode for Siri, so here are a couple of things you can try if Siri is unable to connect.

  • Verify that you’re connected to Wi-Fi or cellular.
  • Toggle Airplane Mode off and then on again.
  • Restart your iPhone.
  • Check Siri’s language by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Language.
  • Reset your network settings in Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Siri is not recognizing my voice

If you find that Siri isn’t recognizing your voice or is having a hard time understanding you, you may need to retrain it.

  1. Go to Settings > Siri & Search.
  2. Toggle off, “Hey, Siri.”
  3. Toggle “Hey, Siri” back on.
  4. Follow the prompts to retrain Siri.

Siri is an incredibly useful and powerful feature on iPhone, and the best part about it is that the more you use Siri, the more it learns about how you use your phone. Keep asking it to help you out and do what it’s designed to do — make your life simpler. 

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