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This chapter is from the book


Siri provides a new and natural way to interact with a computer, enabling you to speak and be understood. On iOS, Siri listens to your commands and then performs your bidding, responding through speech or a visual answer on the device screen.

On OS X, Siri enables you to dictate into any application that normally offers text input. Take away these key points from this chapter:

  • Think carefully about the information you are sending to Apple when you agree to enable Siri. It means trusting Apple with a lot of personal information. Most people won’t be bothered by this, but you should make an informed choice, nonetheless.
  • If you don’t know what to say to Siri, say “Help me” or tap the small question mark that appears on the bottom left of the Siri display. Siri is always happy to provide a list of categories and sample phrases.
  • You access Siri by pressing and holding the Home button, raising your iPhone to your ear with Raise to Speak enabled, squeezing or pressing the control button on a wired or wireless headset, or pressing the Siri Eyes Free button on your car’s steering wheel. On OS X, you customize how to trigger dictation through the Dictation & Speech settings pane in System Preferences.
  • Talk slowly and clearly to Siri. Siri works best when you enunciate deliberately.
  • Remember that Siri is more about creating items than editing them. Build new appointments, create new notes, and write emails. Don’t expect to use Siri to cancel, delete, undo, or modify those items.
  • Siri responses typically lead to more actions, enabling you to jump into associated apps such as the Notes app for notes or the Contacts apps for addresses.
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes with Siri. You can always reset your conversation or edit what you say. Siri is designed to assist you, not to put obstacles in your way. Siri lets you add new text and edit the text you’ve already spoken, or you can restart your dictation from scratch. Use these tools to achieve the highest possible recognition rate.
  • Siri uses a separate audio volume system. So if you’re at a movie or a conference, make sure you mute your system audio and lower Siri’s volume control. To do that, invoke Siri and use the volume toggles on the side of the phone to lower the Siri sound level.
  • Siri simplifies your life. Whether it’s setting alarms (“Wake me at 7:15”), finding a friend (“Where is Barbara Sande?”), or updating your family (“Send Dad a message that I’m on the way”), Siri is there to help you become more productive with less work. The more you learn about using Siri, the simpler these tasks become over time. For many of these items, the issue isn’t whether Siri can handle the tasks; it’s whether you know that they’re there to use. If this book helps you add a few essential ideas into your day-to-day Siri use, then we’ve proudly done our jobs.
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