How to Type a Request to Siri

Don't like talking to your iPhone? Type your commands to Siri

A person holding an iPhone with Siri activated

iphonedigital /Flickr

Siri is one of the most powerful tools on the iPhone and iPad, but what if you can't or don't want to talk to your device? It's possible to type your commands to Siri instead of speaking them.

Instructions in this article apply to iPhones and iPads running iOS 12 and iOS 11.

How to Enable Type to Siri on iPhone and iPad

Type to Siri is an accessibility feature designed for users who can't or have difficulty using their voice to control Siri. It's particularly helpful when you have a smart keyboard connected to your device.

To turn on Type to Siri:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Choose Accessibility to list all the accessibility features. 

    Settings, General, Accessibility in iOS Settings
  4. Tap Siri.

  5. Turn on the Type to Siri toggle switch.

    Siri and Type to Siri toggle in iOS Settings
  6. You have the option to leave voice feedback Always On or set it to only work in Hands-Free mode. If you use an iPhone, you also have an option to Control with Ring Switch.

How to Use Type to Siri

Type or speak to Siri when you have Type to Siri enabled, but by default, Siri expects text commands. Activating Siri displays the on-screen keyboard if you don't have an external keyboard connected to your iPhone or iPad. Type in any command you might otherwise speak to Siri, such as Hey Siri, text Dave I will be late or remind me to take out the trash at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

If you don't want to type commands, enable voice dictation by tapping the microphone icon located to the left of the space bar. When you select Voice Dictation, Siri's voice recognition is activated. After you finish speaking your command, tap Keyboard at the bottom of the screen. This trick is a convenient way to quickly switch between verbal and text commands.

Using Type to Siri in Older Versions of iOS

Type to Siri debuted with iOS 11, but you can give text commands to Siri in previous versions. 

When you speak a command to Siri, Siri displays the text of that command on the screen. Tap Edit below the text to type any command even if it's unrelated to the one you initially gave.

This feature is helpful when Siri has difficulty understanding you because it allows you to correct any miscommunication. However, using it regularly is cumbersome given that you must first speak a command.

Don't Forget About Spotlight Search

Siri isn't the only way to control your iOS device using a keyboard. Spotlight Search can search for almost anything on your device, including items stored in apps. If you type the name of a movie or TV show, it shows which apps have it available such as Thor: Ragnarok is available on Netflix and Doctor Who is streaming on Amazon Prime.

The best use for Spotlight Search is to launch any app quickly without searching for the app icon. It can also play songs, search through email, or look for restaurants using Apple Maps and Yelp.