We all know that new iPhones are coming out this year (yay!), and while there will undoubtedly be both positive and negative changes in the new models, one thing will stay the same: Siri. Ever since she debuted in 2011, Siri has been continuously improved to become one of the sassiest and most talented personal assistant apps around. (While Siri can also be programmed to be male, we like giving women employment ?)
Sure, she can do basic commands like call or FaceTime someone or even beatbox, but Siri can also carry out some neat and slightly more complex orders. Like these 10.
10. Give you a rundown of someone’s latest tweets
I follow Transport For London on Twitter because it’s nice to know if my usual tube route has any delays, but unfortunately sometimes I’m too busy rushing about that I forget or don’t have the time to actually check for updates. This way, I can read their latest tweets as I’m heading out the door without even having to unlock my phone. Score.
What to say: “What is at Gadgette saying?”
9. Send texts
While this might be trickier for contacts with names that are more difficult to pronounce (or contacts who have the same first name) and/or longer messages, it’s so awesome to be able to send texts without ever touching or even looking at your phone. Just tell Siri to text someone your message as though she were your personal assistant, she’ll type out the message and ask if you want to send it, and you just have to say yes. Especially great for when you’re driving home.
What to say: “Text John ‘I’m almost at the bar.'”
8. Set an alarm/wake you up from naps
We’ve all been there: it’s 3AM and you’re falling asleep when you realise that you forgot to set the alarm for the next day, but you’re so exhausted that you don’t even have the energy to open your eyes, let alone unlock your phone, open the alarm app, choose a time (or times), and press ‘set.’ Phew, that was tiring to even write. But guess what? You can just (sleepily) tell Siri to set the alarm for you, and then doze off without ever lifting a finger (until that damn alarm actually goes off).
Bonus: also works if you want to take a power nap and there’s no one around to wake you up.
What to say: “Set my alarm for 7am.” or “Wake me up in 40 minutes.”
7. Post to social media
Goodbye, witty jokes that we suddenly think of but are too lazy to type out and so silently die in the Land of Forgotten Tweets. I wish it’d work with photos as well — I said “Post my latest selfie to Facebook” and Siri wrote a status that said “my latest selfie” — but this allows me to keep my Twitter up-to-date (she can even do hashtags!) even when I’m too lazy to tweet myself. I know, priorities.
What to say: “Tweet [your message].” or “Post [your message] on Facebook.”
6. Find out who a lost phone belongs to
If you ever pick up a lost iPhone, then you can ask Siri who the owner is without unlocking it. While it’s kinda pointless to have the person’s mobile number (when you, um, have their mobile in your hands), their address, house phone, or even just a name you might be able to look up on Facebook/Twitter could prove to be crucial. And while anyone can use Find My iPhone to lock a lost phone and post contact details, this is still a handy feature for when the owner can’t access Find My iPhone or haven’t even realised their phone is lost.
What to say: “Who does this phone belong to?”
5. Write down reminders
It’s like jotting down a grocery list, except you don’t have to do the jotting down, and it’s on your phone (which you won’t leave at home, unlike an actual grocery list). You can also ask Siri to add things to your packing list, your to-do list, and whatever other lists you have under your Reminders app. Yay, using technology to stay organised!
What to say: “Add headphones to my packing list.”
4. Learn to correctly pronounce names
It’s tough for people in real life to pronounce my name, so I’m not surprised that Siri couldn’t. However, it’s very easy to teach her the correct pronunciation — tell her that she’s saying it wrong, and she’ll ask you how to correctly pronounce each part of your name. You might have to tell her more than once, but it shouldn’t really take more than two or three tries.
While this isn’t an actual “task,” it’s obviously useful to teach Siri how tricky names of people whom you regularly contact sound so that there are no miscommunications when you tell her to call someone. And it’ll make it less likely for you to hear that infuriating “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.” Thank. God.
What to say: “You’re saying my name/[insert contact name]’s wrong.”
3. Call you a taxi when you’re too drunk to dial one yourself
Very cool, and very handy. I told Siri I was drunk, and like the trusty sidekick she is, she acted as the voice of reason and gave me the option to call myself a taxi with a list of the nearest companies. You no longer need to fumble about trying to find the Uber app or a friend’s phone number, because Siri’s got you covered.
What to say: “I’m drunk.”
2. Search your photos for you
We’ve all had those moments where we’re looking for a specific photo or a group of specific photos, and your poor finger even starts to cramp up from all that scrolling (have I really taken this many selfies?). Save yourself the trouble of manually having to go two years back, and just ask Siri to find what you’re looking for. So far, she can only search photos by date or by location, but I wouldn’t mind keeping it that way and not having her acquire scary face-recognition features. There’d be something slightly unsettling about Siri knowing what “Mum” looks like.
What to say: “Show me photos from last night/July 2014/Southampton” etc.
1. Give you a list of what she can do
If you want to know everything Siri can do without actually looking it up, guess what? That’s another thing Siri can do! And if you tap on each of the options she gives, you get an even more comprehensive list of exactly what’s included. Thanks for letting me ask you what I can ask you, Siri!
What to say: “What can you do?”
Main image © iStock/selimaksan