How to Use Siri on a Mac

Speak to Siri on Mac just as you would on an iPhone

On your iPhone, it's simple to ask Siri to perform a command. But, what happens if you don't have your iPhone nearby as you work on your computer? You can use Siri on your Mac, too. It's quick and easy, making it the perfect companion for your iMac or MacBook.

The instructions in this article apply to any Mac running macOS Sierra or later.

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How to Enable Siri on Mac

When you first purchase a new Mac, you'll be asked to enable Siri during set-up. However, if you skip that step, you'll need to enable Siri before you can use it.

  1. On your Mac, click the Apple icon in the top left-hand corner of your screen.

  2. In the menu, choose System Preferences.

  3. In the System Preferences, click Siri to open the Siri preferences window.

    System Preferences on Mac
  4. Under the Siri icon in the window, click Enable Ask Siri.

    Siri preferences window on Mac

    Check to see if the Show Siri in Menu Bar box is selected before you close the window. This makes it easy to find Siri in your menu bar at the top of your screen.

  5. Once you're finished, you can close the preferences window.

How to Open and Use Ask Siri on Mac

Now that Siri is enabled on your Mac, you should be able to see the Siri icon on the top right-hand side of your screen. From here, you'll be able to use Siri for many different commands.

  1. To open Siri, you can simply click the Siri icon at the top of your screen, in your dock, or on your Touch Bar. Or, you can press and hold Command key+space bar until Siri responds.

    The newest versions of Mac allow you to simply say "Hey Siri" to open Siri on your computer. This function is only available on MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018), MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports), MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018), and iMac Pro.

  2. When Siri opens, you'll see the Siri window appear in the upper right-hand side of your screen. Simply say your command and wait for Siri to respond.

What Can I Ask Siri to Do?

Siri on Mac has hundreds of commands you can use to make navigating your Mac simpler and faster. Here are several commands you can try out now:

  • What's the weather: Asking Siri about the weather will give you the current forecast in your Siri window.
  • Open Safari: This command will open up Safari for use. You can also ask Siri to open other browsers such as Chrome or Firefox.
  • Find all my recent documents: This command results in Siri producing a list of all recent documents created on your Mac.
  • Open Spotify: Want to listen to music on your favorite music app? Ask Siri to open it. If you have music on your device, you can also ask Siri to play something more specific.
  • Find Tweets By X: You can ask Siri to find tweets by someone specific.
  • FaceTime X: Want to FaceTime someone? This command results in Siri dialing up a FaceTime conversation with someone from your contact list.
  • Find books written by X: Need a good read? This command results in Siri opening iBooks with your author's books up and ready.
  • Add an appointment: Ask Siri to create an appointment for your date and time. Siri will add the meeting to your calendar and even delete it if you choose.

Want to know what else Siri can do? Simply open Siri and ask "What can you do" for a list of even more examples.

How to Customize Siri on Mac

Siri is completely customizable to fit your unique preferences. To start customizing, follow these quick steps.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.

  2. Choose System Preferences.

  3. Next, click Siri in the list of options.

    System Preferences on Mac
  4. In the Siri screen, you can customize the keyboard shortcut, language, and Siri voice. You can also turn voice feedback from Siri on or off depending on your preferences.

    Screenshot of Language preferences for Siri on Mac
  5. Once you make all of your necessary changes, close the Siri preferences window.

Siri Hacks for Your Mac You Should Know

Beyond the simple Siri commands, there are hacks you can use to make Siri truly work for you. Let's start by enabling Type to Siri, which allows you to type a response to Siri without speaking.

Type to Siri

  1. Select the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen, then click System Preferences.

  2. Click Accessibility.

    Accessibility in macOS System Preferences
  3. Scroll down and click Siri.

    Accessibility options on Mac
  4. Here, click Enable Type to Siri to turn it on. Now, you'll be able to type your commands to Siri instead of speaking them out loud.

Save Siri Results

Another great hack is the ability to save Siri results to the Notification Center so you can find them easily next time. Plus, the information always stays up to date.

  1. Open Siri by using your keyboard shortcut, Touch Bar, click the icon in your dock, or click the Siri icon at the top of your screen.

  2. Say or enter your Siri command. Once Siri responds, you'll see a plus sign next to the result.

  3. Click the Plus (+) to add the results to the Notification Center for safe keeping.

What to Do If Siri Isn't Working?

Are you trying to open Siri on your Mac, only to be left with "try again later" messages or no messages at all? There are a few things you can try.

  • Check your network settings: Start by ensuring you're connected to the internet. Siri requires your device to be connected for proper usage.
  • Ensure you enabled Siri correctly: If you're missing the Siri icon, be sure Siri is enabled correctly by checking your System Preferences.
  • Ensure restrictions aren't set for Siri: You can do this by going to your System Preferences, then Parental Controls. In Other, you can check to ensure Siri and Dictation isn't turned off.
  • Check your microphones: Your microphone may not be working properly if Siri does not respond. You can check your microphone settings under System Preferences.
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