If you’re like me, at times you can experience a love/hate relationship with Siri. You press the home button and ask her to phone a friend or family member, only to have her completely misunderstand your request, mangling what you thought was the proper annunciation of the name. We’ve all been there and my Long Island accent certainly doesn’t help matters. Thankfully, there are ways to improve Siri with a few easy steps and improve her accuracy. Read on for how to set relationships with Siri using your contacts. This tutorial works for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Siri relationships

Why This Works
Before we start, just a quick reason for why it makes sense to go through the setup process. Let’s take Khloe Kardashian as example and we’ll assume she has multiple contacts named Kim in her Contacts. Therefore Khloe cannot tell Siri to call or text her sister Kim without using her full name. That could lead to the dreaded response, “I cannot find Him Kardahiam in your contacts, would you like to search the web”. For Khloe, it would be easier to simply say call my sister Kim. You don’t have to be famous to want to improve your Siri experience.

Use Siri To Set Relationship

If you feel you’ve had a pretty good experience with Siri understanding your requests, you can try to tell Siri about your relationships. Here’s how I’ve added my mother:

  1. Press the home button to evoke Siri
  2. Say, “(Insert contact name of your mother) is my mother
  3. Siri will locate the contact and confirm the relationship.

Set relationship Siri
What ultimately happens is that Siri will append your contact with the relationship. Now I can tell Siri to call Mom, which is much easier for her to understand.

How To Set Up Multiple Relationships Using Contacts

When setting up relationships, there are two elements. Your contact is what gets edited and it pulls information from other contacts on your iPhone. When Siri added my mother as a relationship, she added to my contact card. The best place to start is your contact, so let’s navigate to Contacts > Your Contact Card. You can get there by opening up the Contacts app or opening the Phone app and tapping on the Contacts tab. When you locate your name, it should say ‘Me’ next to your name.

  1. Tap on your contact card
  2. Tap on the edit button at the top right
  3. Scroll down. Just below birthday you should see any existing relations or a blank relationship
  4. If you tap on the relationship name (father, mother), you can change that to any from the list we’ll provide below. Tap on the blue arrow to search and find the correct person to associate to this relationship. If Luke Skywalker would tap here and select ‘Darth Vader’ from his contacts.
  5. Enter as many relationships as you’d like to your contact card.

Contacts relationship

The following is a list of default relationships setup in Contacts that you can use with your existing contacts.

  • mother
  • father
  • parent
  • brother
  • sister
  • child
  • friend
  • spouse
  • partner
  • assistant
  • manager

When you start to think about who you call most often, I’d venture that it covers the bulk of most users daily phone calls. While I’ve used phone calls as the primary example here, you can of course use Siri to text, send email and more. If you spend a few minutes to set Siri relationships, you will improve her efficiency ten fold, which will improve your overall iPhone experience.

Original publish date: February 10, 2013. Updated March 5th, 2015.