How to Use Siri to Find Your Friends

Using Siri to find friends is easy once you have the right apps on your iPhone 4S. You start by use Apple's free Find My Friends app, which lets consensual users of iOS gadgets find one another on a map.

Therefore, you can see who's nearby to join you for coffee, if a colleague's flight has landed, or if your tween-age daughter has made it home from school.

Find My Friends either taps into the device's GPS signal to identify its geographical location or uses Wi-Fi to achieve the same effect if, say, you're on an iPod touch or non-3G iPad model. The app requires both the iOS 5 upgrade and an iCloud account to work, but both are free, at least.

The first step is to download the app from the iTunes App Store. Setting up the app is a cinch; with that out of the way, you’ll be able to have Siri access it for you.

The setup goes as follows:

  1. Using your iPhone 4S, sign in to the Find My Friends app with a valid user ID and password.

    This is the same info you use to download media and apps from iTunes.

    Remember that Find My Friends relies on consensual users, meaning you’ll need to request permission to see someone's information in the Find My Friends app.

  2. In the new screen that appears, tap the Invite Friends tab and type in someone's e-mail address and a personal message, if you like.

    After your friend has approved the invitation on her end, you can follow her and you can reciprocate if you like, too, if you'd like to allow them to follow you. You now see your friend represented by a colored orb on your Find My Friends map.

  3. Just like when using the Maps app, you can choose a standard view with street names, satellite view, or a hybrid of the two, by tapping the Options icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

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    When you see your friend's blip on the map, you can also read her address, tap to send a text message to her, video call her via FaceTime, or get visual (not audio) directions to where she is.

If you like, you can also sort these friends in List view alphabetically or by distance; you could then tap a name and the map will zoom into his or her precise location.

You can also choose to share your location for a limited period of time with a group of friends, see your own location on the map, or disable the feature altogether.

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Since the Find My Friends app eats up some battery power, you might want to disable it when you're running out of juice. Or if you're indulging in a guilty pleasure — like sneaking a bite at a fast food restaurant even though you're on a diet, or secretly attending a Kenny G concert — you also might want to turn off Find My Friends.

Okay, so you're all set up with Find My Friends and want to use Siri with it, yes? That way, you can simply ask where your friends are, and Siri will let you know.

Here's how to get going:

  1. Press and hold the Home button.

    You'll hear a short chime to confirm Siri is ready for verbal instruction.

  2. Ask Siri a question, such as, "Where are my friends?"

    Siri opens Find My Friends and does the search for you, which is much faster than you typing the instructions.

  3. Glance at your iPhone 4S screen to see who's around and how far.

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    Siri will say the answer out loud and show you a summary; you can then tap to access the map and/or send the person a message like, "Hey, let's grab a coffee."

Siri is pretty quick on the uptake, so the following are a few other ways you can search for people using your voice:

Ask Siri:

  • “Where's Mary Smith?”

  • “Is my wife at home?”

  • “Who is near me?”

  • “Find my sister.”

  • “Who is here?”

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