How to Make Calls with Siri on Your iPhone - dummies

How to Make Calls with Siri on Your iPhone

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

Both iPhone’s Voice Control and Siri (iPhone 4s or later) features are all ears when it comes to using your voice to make your iPhone do things for you — including making phone calls.

You can use Voice Control or Siri but not both at the same time, and you need either a cellular data or Wi-Fi Internet connection to use Siri.

How to use Siri to make phone calls with your iPhone

Siri is a bit more intelligent than Voice Control, or perhaps she’s just a better listener. Do one of the following to solicit Siri:

  • Press and hold the Home button until the Siri screen opens

  • Press and hold the center button on the EarPods controls until you hear a double-beep

  • Press the Attention button on your Bluetooth headset

  • Bring your iPhone to your ear, if you activated the Raise to Speak function, until you hear a double-beep

Speak your command, more or less as if you were talking with a person. You can give simple instructions, like “Call Lucy,” or more complex commands such as “Call my sister at work.” Siri looks for matches in Favorites and Contacts.

When a match is found, Siri responds along the lines of “Calling Lucy Blue’s iPhone.” If there is no match or if there’s more than one phone number for the contact you want to call, Siri asks for more information.

When there are multiple choices for the phone number, Siri reads the label and the number for the contact, you can then repeat the label or say “the second one” and the call will be put through.

Speak the requested information and Siri makes the phone call when she finds the number. If the person you want to call isn’t in your Contacts or somewhere else on your iPhone, Siri can search the Internet for the number, and then connect you. You get the picture. If the person isn’t available, you can ask Siri to send the person an e-mail or text message.


Siri requires a Wi-Fi or cellular Internet connection and can be slow to respond to your request — at times up to 30 seconds — depending on the type of Internet connection you have and because your request is sent to Apple’s server, which processes the request and then instructs Siri how to respond. If you use Siri only for making phone calls, Voice Control will probably be faster and more accurate.

How to use Voice Control to make phone calls with your iPhone

Press and hold the Home button to activate Voice Control. The screen shown opens (you’ll also hear a double-tone sound). Say “Call” or “Dial,” followed by the name of the person or phone number you want to call. A slightly robotic voice repeats your request aloud and then places your call for you.


Ways Voice Control may respond to your request include the following:

  • No Match Found: That’s what the Voice Control robot says (followed by three tone sounds) if it can’t find a phone number in Contacts that matches the name you said; or if it can’t understand the phone number you gave it to dial for you. Either way, you can try again by immediately repeating the name or number (perhaps more slowly this time).

  • Multiple Numbers: If a contact you’re calling has more than one phone number, the Voice Calling robot says the contact’s name aloud, and then rattles off the different phone numbers it finds for that contact, such as “home, mobile, or work.” After listening to the choices, you can repeat the label or say, “the first number” or “the second one,” and your call is placed to the correct number.

  • Multiple Matches Found: That’s what Voice Control tells you if it finds multiple numbers for a name you say, such as “Call Joe;” Voice Control lists the names of contacts with the same name so you can pick one, or it asks you to be more specific.

Basic call tips to use with your iPhone

Add relations to your card in Contacts so you can say “Call Dad” or “Call my sister” or to other contact cards, so you can request things like “Call Skip Johnson’s brother” when you have a hard time remembering a name.

Whether you’re talking to Siri or Voice Control, when saying a person’s name, you can differentiate between people who have the same first name by adding their last name, as well as say the specific phone number you want to call if you have more than one phone number for the person:

  • Say “Call” or “Dial,” and then say

    • “Joe Smith”

    • “Joe Smith at work”

    • “Joe Hutsko, mobile”

Sometimes your iPhone has trouble understanding you in a crowded place with a lot of ambient noise such as a party or street corner.

When saying phone numbers you want to call, remember the following:

  • Speak each number clearly and separately; for instance, if you want to call 555-6666, you would say “Call five five five, six six six six.”

  • If you’re calling an 800 number, you can say “eight hundred,” followed by the rest of the number you are calling.

The Voice Control and Siri features work even if your iPhone is locked, which is a handy feature —unless you misplace or lose your iPhone and someone picks it up and starts making international calls.

To turn off the ability to make Voice Control calls when your iPhone is locked, go to Settings→General→Passcode Lock and turn off the Voice Dial option. (It will only be active if you have set up a Passcode.)