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16 things you should know how to do with Siri

Dan Miller | April 28, 2014
Siri is, of course, a marvel of modern technology. But it's also one of those things that a lot of us don't use as much as we could or should. So a couple of Macworld editors, particularly Senior Editor Dan Frakes, put together the following list of 16 things we think everybody should know how to do using Siri.

5. Create a calendar event Siri can add events to your calendar thanks to commands such as "Make an event for 10am Friday called Training." But you can get a lot more specific. Add "to calendar name" to choose a specific calendar; say "with contact name and Siri will add that person as an attendee — and will even send the person an invite if they're in your Contacts list.

You can also edit events: "Move my Friday 10am Training event to 1pm" moves the event to the afternoon; "Add Serenity Caldwell to Monday's 12:30 meeting" adds her as an attendee. (Many people don't realize Siri can also check your calendar. Say "When's my meeting with Dan Moren?" and Siri will tell you. Say "Show me Tuesday" and Siri shows you your scheduled events for that day.)

6. Set a timer The built-in Clock app offers useful timer feature, but Siri makes it much more convenient. Say, "Set a timer for 10 minutes," and Siri creates (and starts) a new 10-minute timer in the Clock app — you never even have to open the app.

7. Set an alarm Similarly, "Set an alarm for 7am" creates a new alarm-clock alarm for 7am.

8. Get directions You can have Siri get you directions to a destination, using iOS's own Maps app, by saying, for example, "Show me how to get to San Jose." But Apple's Maps app doesn't currently support transit or walking directions, or you may prefer a different mapping app. Add "via transit" to the end of your command, and Siri will display a list of installed and App Store third-party routing apps. Tap one — such as the Google Maps app — and Siri will launch that app, preconfigured with your destination. (You don't even need to choose a transit app, which makes this a great tip for using Siri with third-party navigation apps, such as Navigon.)

9. Create and edit notes Notes is a forgotten app on many iOS devices, but Siri makes it a lot more useful, if not any less simplistic. Say, "Make a note" or "Note that" and you can quickly dictate a new note. Alternatively, say, "Make a note called note name" and you can then add text to that note by saying "Add text". You can add to a note later by saying, "Add text to note name."

10. Create reminders You may know that you can use Siri to schedule reminders by saying something like, "Remind me to call Dan at 10:30am tomorrow." But Siri can do a lot more than that. For example, Siri can do reminder math: "Remind me to cancel my trial subscription in 14 days." You can also have Siri configure geofenced (location-based) reminders: "Remind me to call the Y when I get home." (You can also say "Show me my reminders" at any time to quickly view your tasks.)


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