How to Use Siri on the iPad

Get Apple's digital assistant working for you

A woman in bed using an iPad
Getty Images / Compassionate Eye Foundation / Siri Stafford

Apple's digital assistant, Siri, has grown a lot since it first appeared on the iPad. It can schedule meetings, take voice dictation, remind you to take the trash out to the street, read your email, and even update your Facebook page. It can also speak to you in different accents if you prefer.

Here's how to get the most out of the voice-recognition technology on your iPad.

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 9 or later.

How to Turn Siri On or Off on the iPad

Siri is probably already turned on for your iPad. And if you have a newer iPad, you may have already set up the "Hey, Siri" feature. But you might want to check out a couple of other settings and features to make sure your iPad is secure.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.

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  2. Tap Siri & Search.

    iPad Siri
  3. The three settings under Ask Siri let you control when -- or if -- you can access the digital assistant. Listen for "Hey Siri" activates Siri when you say that phrase. Press Home for Siri turns it on when you press and hold the Home button. And Allow Siri When Locked makes it available without waking up your iPad.

    Flip all of these switches to on/green to give full access to Siri, or switch them off to disable it.

    You need an active Internet connection to use Siri.

    iPad Siri & Search settings
  4. You can also control Siri from the Voice Feedback menu. Always On makes it available by voice or Home button (if those options are on) even if your iPad's sound is off. Control with Mute Setting turns it off when you have your iPad's speakers deactivated. Hands-Free Only only lets you activate Siri with voice commands.

    iPad Siri Voice Feedback
  5. You can also tap Siri Voice to choose how your assistant sounds. You can pick between male and female and a variety of accents.

    iPad Siri Voice
  6. Even if most of these options are off, you can still activate and use Siri via voice commands with Bluetooth devices or headphones.

What is "Hey, Siri"?

This feature allows you to activate Siri with your voice by proceeding any normal question or directive with "Hey, Siri."

iPads preceding the 9.7-inch iPad Pro (March 2016) have to be connected to power to use the "Hey, Siri" feature.

When you flip the switch for "Hey, Siri," your iPad will ask you to speak a few sentences to optimize Siri for your voice.

How to Use Siri on the iPad

When you activate Siri, either with "Hey, Siri" or with the Home button, your iPad will beep at you and the screen will prompt you for a question or directive. Ask a question or make a request, and Siri will follow your instructions.

If you want to ask additional questions while the Siri menu is open, tap the microphone. The glowing lines will appear again, which means you can ask away.

Look for the colorful pattern at the bottom of the screen that indicates Siri is waiting for commands.

iPad Siri listening pattern

Does Siri have trouble pronouncing your name? You can teach it how to pronounce it

What Questions Can Siri Answer?

Siri displaying information from Wikipedia
Daniel Nations  

Siri is a voice recognition artificial intelligence decision engine that contains various databases that enable it to answer many of your questions. It can perform a lot of basic tasks and answer various questions. Here is a range of things Siri can do for you:

Basic Siri Questions and Tasks

  • Call [name]: "Call Tom."
  • Send text to [name] [text]: "Send a text to Tom: What did you say the name of that band was?"
  • Launch [app]: "Launch Evernote."
  • Search the web for [whatever]: "Search the web for best iPad strategy games."
  • Listen to [band name, song name]: "Listen to The Beatles."
  • Get me directions to [shop/restaurant name/address]: "Get me directions to Six Flags over Texas" or "Where is Gilmer, Texas?"
  • Will it rain [date]?: "Will it rain tomorrow?" or "What is the weather like?"

Siri as a Personal Assistant

  • Remind me to [do something] at [date/time]: "Remind me to walk the dog tomorrow at 10 AM."
  • Schedule a meeting for [meeting] at [date/time]: "Schedule a meeting for work at 3 PM on Thursday."
  • Change my meeting from [date/time] to [date/time]: "Change my meeting from 3 PM on Thursday to 4 PM on Friday."
  • Tweet [what you want to say]: "Tweet: I am having a cup of coffee."
  • Update my Facebook status to [what you want to say]: "Update my Facebook status to: Just watched Doctor Who and loved it."

Siri Will Help Feed and Entertain You

  • Show me nearby [type of food] restaurants: "Show me nearby Mexican food restaurants."
  • Find me [type of food] in [city]: "Find me pizza in Dallas."
  • Book a table at [date/time] for [restaurant]: "Book a table at 6 PM for Via Real."
  • What movies are playing?: This will list out movies playing at nearby theaters. You can also add "in [city]" to check movies that aren't near your current location.
  • Show me a trailer for [movie]: "Show me a trailer for The Avengers."
  • What movies have [actor] starred in?: "What movies have Tom Hanks starred in?"
  • What movies has [director] directed?: "What movies has Penny Marshall directed?"
  • What is the cast of [tv series]?: "What is the cast of How I Met Your Mother?"
  • Who wrote [book, movie, tv series]?: "Who wrote Harry Potter?"

Siri Knows Sports

  • Who are the [sports team] playing tonight?: "Who are the Rangers playing tonight?"
  • What is the score of the [sports team] game?: "What is the score of the Giants game?"
  • How are the [sports team] doing?: "How are the Yankees doing?"
  • Who is leading the league in [stat]?: "Who is leading the league in rushing yards?"
  • How many [stat] does [player] have?: "How many rushing yards does Maurice Jones-Drew have?"

Siri Is Full of Information

Siri is pretty intelligent, so feel free to experiment with different questions. It's connected to a number of different websites and databases, which means you can ask a variety of questions. Here are some examples of Siri performing calculations and finding information for you:

  • What is 18 "percent" of 32 "dollars" 57 "cents"? Siri is great for figuring out how much you should tip or performing simple math. She can even plot out equations.
  • What is the price of AAPL? If you love to keep an eye on your favorite stock, Siri has your info for you.
  • Where is area code 212? A good way to check where that unknown call originated.
  • How much are 20 British pounds in dollars? Siri can do a lot of different monetary conversions, making her pretty good for vacations.
  • How old is Mitt Romney? Your query will need to be about someone famous enough for the assistant to recognize, but you can ask a variety of questions about well-known people.
  • What time is it in London? Not only can Siri give you the time in locations around the world, but it'll also be able to give you facts like when the sun will rise in that location.