Cheat Sheet

Siri For Dummies

From Siri For Dummies by Marc Saltzman

Apple’s groundbreaking Siri lets you use your voice to interact with your iPhone, iPad (including iPad mini), and latest iPod touch. Whether you’re dictating e-mails or text messages, browsing the web or in need of directions, dinner reservations, or sports scores, Siri will not only hear your request but answer you in a humanlike voice. Here's how to get the most out of Siri on your Apple device.

Asking Siri a Question

Siri is ready when you are, so long as you have an Internet connection, be it cellular or Wi-Fi. You can activate Siri in one of three ways:

  • The most common way is simply to press the Home button at the bottom of the iPhone, iPad, or new iPod touch.

  • Press the main button on your wired or wireless headset, if you wear one.

  • If you use an iPhone 4s or iPhone 5, you can set up your phone to activate Siri when you lift your device to your ear (Settings→General→Siri→Raise to Speak).

Regardless of how you activate Siri, you’ll hear a brief chime that confirms Siri is listening for your question or command. If you look at your screen, you’ll also see a small purple microphone icon at the bottom of the screen. (The more purple you see on the microphone, the better Siri can hear you. And the quieter the environment, the better.)

When you ask or instruct Siri with something — such as “Where’s Iron Man 3 playing near me?” or “Post to Facebook: Guess what, world? We’re having a baby!” — Siri will process your request by showing you a lighting circling the microphone.

Siri will give you the answer verbally or tell you something like “this might answer your question” and show you the results on the screen.

Top Uses for Siri

So what can you do with Siri? Siri can help you out and make your life easier in numerous ways. Let us count them (in no particular order):

  • Ask about the weather, where you are or in any other city

  • Have Siri read your text messages to you

  • Dictate your e-mails and text messages

  • Ask Siri what time it is (without needing to look at your phone or a clock)

  • Create a note using your voice, or ask Siri to pull up a note via a keyword

  • Do a business search (such as “find me a good Japanese restaurant” or “find me a lingerie store in Miami”)

  • Request a calendar appointment or reminder (or ask Siri to review them for you), or set an alarm

  • Set a location-based reminder, and not just by time (for example, “When I get home, remind me to take out the recycling box” or “When I leave here, remind me to call Dad.”)

  • Ask Siri for information, such as the capital of a city or who won the World Series, or request a mathematical equation (such as the one for working out a tip in a restaurant)

  • Post to Facebook or Twitter using your voice

  • Get directions to a location (you’ll hear and see them to help you get there)

  • Ask Siri where someone is. Friends or family who have signed in to the Find My Friends app (and have previously agreed to share this info with you) appear as blips on a map

  • Call someone in your Contacts or have Siri dial by number

  • Play a song by name, and ask for something else from the same artist or genre

  • Find out how your stocks are doing (Siri will tell you)

  • Ask for live sports scores, standings, stats, and schedules

  • Tell Siri to open up any app on your iDevice by saying “Open ___”

  • Ask Siri what movies are playing near you, and when, or ask to see a trailer

  • Instruct Siri to book a restaurant reservation for you (OpenTable app required)

Siri Supported Languages and Dialects

Siri works in many countries around the globe and can understand and speak in multiple languages. You can select the language of your choice — even if you live in the United States but want Siri to work in (for example) Mandarin, Italian, or French. Apple, however, says Siri was designed to recognize the specific accents and dialects in the supported countries — therefore accuracy might vary somewhat in other areas.

To change the language, simply click Settings→General→Siri. Now tap the Language tab to select the desired language.

Here’s a list of supported countries and languages, to date:

  • United States (English, Spanish)

  • United Kingdom (English)

  • Australia (English)

  • France (French)

  • Germany (German)

  • Japan (Japanese)

  • Canada (English, Canadian French)

  • China (Mandarin)

  • Hong Kong (Cantonese)

  • Italy (Italian)

  • Korea (Korean)

  • Mexico (Spanish)

  • Spain (Spanish)

  • Switzerland (Italian, French, German)

  • Taiwan (Mandarin)

Siri Punctuation Tips for E-Mail, Text Messages and Notes

Don’t forget to verbal give punctuation commands when dictating to Siri. Here’s a thorough list of what you can say. They're great time savers when you're on the go!

Siri Text Punctuation Commands
When You Say This Siri Adds This
"period" or "dot" .
"ellipsis" or "dot dot dot" ...
"dash" or "hyphen"
"em dash" – (double-length dash)
"comma" ,
"underscore" _
"forward slash" /
"back slash" \
"vertical bar" |
"quote" or "quotation mark" “ (until you say "quote" or "quotation mark" again)
"exclamation point" !
"question mark" ?
"ampersand" &
"asterisk" *
"at sign" @
"copyright sign" ©
"registered sign" ®
"degree sign" °
"caret" ^
"open parenthesis" or "close parenthesis" ( or )
"open bracket" or "close bracket" [ or ]
"open brace" or "close brace" { or }
Siri Math and Finance Commands
When You Say This Siri Adds This
"plus sign" +
"minus sign" -
"equals sign" =
"percent sign" %
"dollar sign" $
"cent sign" ¢
"pound sterling" sign £
"pound sign" #
"euro sign"
"yen sign" ¥
"degree sign" °
"caret" ^
"greater-than sign" >
"less-than sign" <
Siri Text Formatting Commands
When You Say This Siri Does This
"new line" Moves down to the next line (as though you’ve pressed Return or Enter on a computer keyboard)
"new paragraph" Starts a new paragraph
"caps on" Capitalizes all following words
"caps off" Turns off capitalization
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