How to Use Siri on iPhone 12

This virtual assistant just keeps getting smarter

What to Know

  • There are two ways to access Siri on iPhone 12 models: long-pressing the right-side button or with a voice command, like "Hey Siri."
  • Siri no longer takes over your whole screen, instead working via a colorful icon and widget responses.
  • You can use Siri to announce messages to other Apple devices like HomePods and AirPods via an intercom-like mode.

This article explains how to enable and access Siri on the iPhone 12, what you can do with the voice assistant, and how to use the intercom feature.

How to Enable Siri on iPhone 12

Before you take advantage of the new features that were released in Siri in iOS 14, you first need to ensure that Siri is enabled on your iPhone 12.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Select Siri & Search.

  3. The on the Siri & Search page, make sure the following three options are enabled:

    • Listen for "Hey Siri": This lets you say the wake phrase "Hey Siri" to begin an interaction with the voice assistant.
    • Press Side Button for Siri: This allows you to wake Siri by long-pressing the button on the right side of the phone.
    • Allow Siri When Locked: This lets you use Siri without unlocking your phone.

How to Use Siri on iPhone 12

Once Siri is enabled on your iPhone 12, to access it, all you need to do is either say "Hey Siri" or long-press the button on the right side of the phone.

With the Siri update in iOS 14, the voice assistant no longer takes over your full screen. Instead, you'll see a colorful icon at the bottom of the screen to indicate that Siri is listening to your question or request. Then, when responding, the responses will appear as widgets and banners on a portion of your phone screen, but they still will not takeover the whole display.

Improvements to Siri in iOS 14

The iOS 14 update to Siri (which is the version installed on iPhone 12 at the time of release) included a number of updates to the voice assistant's appearance and abilities. Beyond the appearance changes that were mentioned above, these features were also added or improved:

  • Better Answers: Siri manages more than 25 billion requests per month, according to Apple. To field all those requests, the virtual assistant has had to learn a lot. In fact, Apple claims that Siri has 20 times more facts than it did a few years ago. And the virtual assistants ability to use the web to provide answers has also improved.
  • Smarter Suggestions: Among the improvements to Siri is a useful widget for Shortcut Suggestions that allows Siri to suggest actions that you do regularly. For example, when you get in the car Siri might suggest opening maps, or ordering a coffee from your favorite coffee house. And, you can have these suggestions on your Today view or on your home screen (or both). Whatever works for you.
  • ETA Sharing: If you're meeting another iPhone user and you want to give them an ETA, you can ask Siri to "Share my ETA." Siri will then send your ETA, via Apple Maps, to that person. There are a couple of caveats, though. You have to have already started directions in Apple Maps, and your Apple ID email will be used to share your estimated arrival time.
  • Voice Messaging: Siri can record and send audio messages for you using iMessages or MMS text messages (which means you can even send audio files to Android users). Just say "Send an audio message to" and Siri will record and send the audio. You'll have the option to listen to it, cancel it, or rerecord it before you send the message. You'll also have the option to do this through CarPlay.
  • Better Translation: The translation services that have always been available through Siri have improved with iOS 14. There are now 65 language pairs and you don't need to be connected to the internet for the translation to take place. What's more, the translations are much smoother than they have been in the past.
  • Cycling Directions With Maps: If you need cycling directions, you can now ask Siri, "What are cycling directions to [name of place]." If Siri doesn't understand or recognize the place you've requested directions for, the voice assistant will offer suggestions and then redirect you to Apple Maps for the appropriate directions.
  • Automated Reminders From Mail: In iOS 14, Siri gained the ability to recognize possible reminders from email and make suggestions. If you find you create a lot of reminders from email, this will be a useful feature to keep you on your game.

How to Use Siri as an Intercom

One additional feature that you may find using when using Siri on the iPhone 12 is the intercom feature that's available if there are multiple Apple devices in your home. The intercom feature is available across Apple smart home devices, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, AirPods, and even CarPlay.

To use the feature say, "Hey Siri, tell everyone [your message]." Siri will send the messages to connected devices, and recipients can respond by saying, "Hey Siri, replay [their response].

Messages that are sent via the intercom feature will play on HomePod devices and AirPods, and will appear as notifications on devices such as iPhone and iPad.