Cool Siri Tricks That Are Both Useful and Fun

Did you know Siri could...?

Woman looking at cell phone
 Pixabay / Public Domain

Siri has long been one of the coolest features of the iPhone and iPad, and with the rise of Amazon Alexa and Google Home, it's easy to see what a big impact Siri has had on technology. And yet she's still probably the most underutilized feature of our smartphones and tablets. There are a number of ways Siri can help you be more productive such as setting reminders or adding a meeting to your calendar, but there are also a ton of cool Siri tricks that can range from useful to outright funny.

  • Hey, Siri. Let's start this list of tricks with the newest way to activate Siri. You can always hold down the home button to get Siri's attention, but on most newer devices, you can also say "Hey Siri" to get her attention. 
  • Siri Voice Dictation. Another great feature that is easy to overlook is how good she does at dictation. You can go the entire hands-free way by saying something like, "Hey Siri, email Tom subject I'm not going to make it tonight body Something came up." This is great because you can tell her the subject and the body of the email. But you can also use Siri's voice dictation anytime the keyboard is on the screen by tapping the microphone button on the keyboard. This means she can take voice dictation in almost any app. 
  • Use Siri With Apps. Siri is no longer restricted to just Apple's apps. She works with a number of third-party apps, and the list is growing. For example, you can ask her, "Tell Amy I'm running late with WhatsApp" or "Show me puppy pins in Pinterest."
  • She can also be a He. Tired of the same old Siri? You can change Siri's voice to a man's voice or even change her accent to Australian or British. Simply launch Settings, go to Siri & Search and tap Siri Voice to change her gender or accent.
  • Convert measurements, currency. Want to know how many miles are in 5 kilometers? Or what 300 British pounds are in American dollars? Just ask her.
  • Pronounce Your Name. If you have a name like Mike, Sam, Ashley or Susan, Siri probably doesn't have much of an issue with your name. But if Siri is mangling your name, you can correct her by saying, "That's not how you say that."
  • Give someone a nickname. Nicknames aren't just a fun addition to Siri, they can also be rather useful. For example, if you nickname your manager "boss" in your contacts, Siri will understand "Call Boss" or "Text Boss" commands. Simply go into your Contacts list, go to the contact in question, click Edit at the top, scroll down and tap Add Field, choose Nickname and type in whatever nickname you want to give the contact.
  • Siri is a comedian. If you are simply bored, you can ask Siri all kinds of questions. Just think up something bizarre to ask her and see how she responds. Some especially funny ones include "Sing a song", "What's your favorite color" and "Show me the money."
  • Get Calorie Information. Can Siri help with your diet? Yes, she can. One great aspect of Siri is the connection to WolframAlpha, which has all kinds of useful information in it. And while asking her how many calories are in a pizza won't give you the exact amount for that slice you a contemplating -- that would depend on the toppings and the size of the slice -- she'll give you a good ballpark figure.
  • Get the time... anywhere. If you regularly contact people in different parts of the country or different areas of the world, this trick is very handy. Just ask Siri what the time is in that location and she'll tell you the local time. No more waking someone up at 3 AM because you didn't know how early it was in London!
  • What song is playing? Thanks to Shazam, Siri can now recognize music just by listening to it. This is great if you hear a song while out and about and are thinking about buying it. She'll even give you the option to buy right then via iTunes.
  • Open App Settings. By now, most of us are aware that Siri can launch an app for us by saying "open [app name]". She can even open the iPhone and iPad's settings by saying "Open Settings". But did you know she can open an individual app's settings? Just say "Open [app name] settings" to find out what sort of tweaks you can make to that particular app. For example, "Open Music Settings" will let you change the EQ and turn off Shake to Shuffle.
  • Turn off Bluetooth. If you have Bluetooth speakers, a Bluetooth headphone or other accessories, you might get annoyed at the need to go into settings to turn off Bluetooth when you want to save some battery life. Apple made it easier to turn off Bluetooth via the control panel, but an even faster way to toggle Bluetooth on or off is to simply ask Siri to do it for you.
  • Change the day, time and content of a reminder. Did Siri garble your reminder? If she got the day or time wrong or even the content of the reminder, you don't need to start from scratch. Simply say, "Change the time to..." or "Change the reminder to..." in order to change parts of the reminder.
  • Reminders can have categories. This one will require you to go into the Reminders app, but it can be worth it. If you create a category of reminders such as Grocery List, you can add items to that category via Siri by saying "Add lettuce to grocery list".
  • Take a picture. The fastest way to get ready to snap that shot? Just say "Take a picture" and Siri will open the camera app.
  • Flip a coin or roll dice. Head or tails? No problem. You can even tell Siri to roll dice and she'll give you the results of two six-sided dice being rolled.
  • Find airplanes flying overhead. I'm not sure exactly how useful this one is, but Siri has the ability to tell you what airplanes are in your area. So if you see a DC-10 and want to figure out where it is going or where it departed, ask Siri about airplanes flying overhead.

Did You Know?

Siri works even if you are on the lock screen, but if you are worried about security, you can disable her from activating while the iPhone or iPad is locked.