In Apple’s commercials, they focus on the basics of using Siri, many of which we’ve covered in our Siri how-to guides. In iOS 6, Siri learned some new tricks, allowing you to find restaurants, movies, sport scores and can even update your social status on Twitter or Facebook. The capabilities of your personal assistant continue to grow and here are a five cool Siri tricks that you might not know.
Create a secure password
If you are looking to create a secure password, Siri can help you using Wolfram. Initiate Siri by pressing and holding the home button. Ask Siri, “Wolfram password” or “WolframAlpha password“. You’ll see a card that shows ‘generate a random password’. Beneath you’ll find a randomly generated 8 character password. You can either use the generated password or any of the six additional passwords. You’ll also see some neat details on the security of the password, known as password entropy.
Control your alarm clock
You set your alarm for work or school, but invariably your internal clock wakes you up before it goes off. Before you grab your morning cup of coffee, you reach for your iPhone to turn off the alarm. Instead of fumbling through your apps to find the Clock app, you can tell Siri to “Turn off my alarm“. Sure enough, she’ll jump into action and turn off your alarm. These frees you up to do important things, like getting a good cup of java. This also works in reverse, so before getting some shut eye, you can ask Siri to “Turn on my alarm“.
Siri as a tip calculator
Siri is a math whiz. You can perform all sorts of calculations. Next time you are out at a restaurant, let Siri calculate the tip. “Siri, what’s 20 percent of $124.43“. Sure you can easily calculate this with ease, but why not use your personal assistant. It’s quick and you’ll receive spot-on calculations.
It’s Good To Be The King
By default, Siri will call you by your proper name or at least the first name on your contacts card. Setting up relationships with Siri can go a long way towards her being more effective and understanding your commands. That’s not to say you cannot have a little bit of fun. Activate Siri and say, “Call me my King” or any name that you’d like to be addressed. The next time she addresses you, you’ll be royalty, at least in the confined walls of your iPhone or iPad.
Siri is great for providing weather and you can ask her for more than just tomorrow’s forecast. Siri can provide you with the humidity, windchill and windspeed. Just say the reading you’d like and you’ll receive the current conditions, plus the weather forecast for the next five days.
Correct Siri’s Mistakes
Every now and then, Siri will make a mistake. Depending on your accent or clarity of speech, this might be more often than you’d like. Thankfully there are two ways to keep Siri working with the right information.
The first is a hands-on approach. If Siri makes a mistake, take a look at your device. Scroll to the top of the screen and you should see your query transcribed, and any sections Siri doesn’t understand will be underlined in blue. Tap on your query to edit it.
But if you’re using voice commands already, you probably don’t want to switch to typing. Correcting Siri verbally might be a challenge if the software doesn’t understand your accent, but if you’ve just found yourself mumbling, speak clearly and repeat yourself. Or, if you’re trying to dictate a message or email, try using the following commands:
- “Change it to”: Siri will change your message to whatever you follow this with.
- “Add”: Siri will add whatever follows to your message.
- “Read it back to me”: Siri will read your message out loud, so you know if it’s now correct.
You can also correct message recipients on the fly, by saying “No, send it to (name) instead.”
Get Around Location Restrictions
With Siri still in beta, the software in available in many areas that aren’t quite ready for it. Unfortunately, that means all the location-based features are missing in those places. Rather than try to answer questions like “Where is the nearest Starbucks?” or “Is it raining?” with possibly incorrect information, the information is completely unavailable.
While you wait for Siri’s location services to be enabled in your area, you can get around some of these limitations. To get Siri to tell you the weather in your area, include your location in the query. “What is the weather in Vancouver, Canada?” will get you an answer even while asking Siri what the weather is while in Vancouver won’t. Use the nearest major city when you ask — smaller towns aren’t often recognized.
If you want Siri to find you directions home, you’re going to have to be able to look at your phone. Instead of asking Siri to find you the route home, ask Siri to search Google for your address, then click the Places tab in the results. This should show you the location you’re looking for, with a button for getting directions through Google Maps. You can do the same by searching for a business name or type.
Use Different Search Engines
If Google isn’t working out for you, you can make Siri search Yahoo! or Bing instead. Saying “Search Bing for X” or “Search Yahoo! for Y” works, or you can change your default search engine in Settings > Safari > Search Engine.
Despite still being in beta, Siri offers some amazing functionality, with new features widely anticipated when Apple releases iOS 7. How do you use Siri? Have any Siri tips and tricks that we haven’t mentioned and does she call you by your given name? Let us know in the comments or in this Siri tips and tricks discussion in our forums.