How to Talk to Siri on Your Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

When you ask Siri a question — such as “What’s the weather like tomorrow?” — you should see colors dance around the bottom of Apple Watch screen to confirm it’s listening to you. Stop talking after you’re done and you should hear a beep to confirm Siri is now processing your request.

If you make a mistake while asking Siri a question (maybe you accidentally said the wrong person’s name to text) or perhaps Siri didn’t hear you clearly, you can tap the screen to nullify the request and then ask again. You should hear the familiar ping tone to confirm Siri is listening for your new request.

The final thing you should see is when Siri performs your desired action. Siri might open up a map, an email message, a calendar entry, or a restaurant listing or show you such information as the score of your favorite team’s last game (without even opening an app). Unlike iPhone, however, Siri won’t speak to you through Apple Watch — you should just see the information.

For example, if it’s a dictionary definition or a numerical equation you’re after, you should see words like “Here you go” or “This might answer your question” and then Siri shows you the information on the screen.

Because all requests to Siri are uploaded to a server, it’s not unheard of for the server to be temporarily inaccessible — but it doesn’t happen very often. Siri will apologize to you and ask that you please try again later. A problem with Siri isn’t an indication of a problem with your Apple Watch or iPhone, so don’t fret. The outage is usually only a couple minutes (if that), but it’s something you should be aware of.

To maximize Siri’s performance on Apple Watch, follow these tips:

  • Keep your iPhone close: You need to have your iPhone nearby to perform all tasks — even if it’s a local task, such as asking Siri to jot down some words in a shopping list app (which doesn’t seem like it needs the Internet). Whether it’s a cellular signal you’re using (make sure you see a few bars in the top left of your phone) or Wi-Fi (a wireless network), you need decent reception to get quick results from Siri. This is critical.

  • Speak clearly: This can be difficult to be conscious of, but the less you mumble and the more you articulate your words, the better Siri works. Don’t worry: Siri is remarkably keen on picking up what you say (and even what you mean), so you don’t need to speak like a robot. Just be aware that you’ll get better results with clearer speech.

  • Find a quiet place: A lot of background noise isn’t great for Siri, as it might not be able to pick up what you’re saying very well. The quieter the environment, the better Siri can understand your instructions. This might be tough if you’re in a crowded restaurant, driving with the window open, or walking down a busy street, of course, so you might need to speak a little louder and closer to the Apple Watch microphone.