So, I am a little embarrassed to admit it but I bought an Amazon Echo to check out how Alexa compares with Siri. I’m a gadget guy so we will see if we find it useful and if not, I am sure I can find it a home on eBay. I use Siri more and more these days. My most common uses are asking her to settle trivia disputes with Grace or setting the timer for 5 minutes. But there is a lot more that Siri can do!
Make Relationships with Siri
When you speak Siri commands, you can refer to people by relationship, rather than name. So, if you want to call your father, you can say “call my father” instead of saying “call Bruce Leibowitz.” But to do this, you need to introduce Siri to your family. First, make sure you have a “card” in the Contacts app for yourself, and then go into Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, scroll down to find and tap My Info, and select your card. Next, make sure you have a contact card for your father, and then tell Siri, “Bruce Leibowitz is my father.” Or, if Siri doesn’t hear you correctly, open Contacts, edit your card (not your father’s!), scroll down, tap “add related name,” tap the default relationship to pick “father,” tap the info “i” icon, select your father’s card, and tap Done.
You can even use Siri to remember other types of relationships. Artie used to bring manure from his uncle’s farm for my garden and ended up with the nickname, “the spreader”. If I tell Siri “Art Hendrickson is my spreader” I can now just say “text my spreader…” and Siri knows who I am talking about. This works for nicknames but also for lawyers, accountants, doctors or any nickname you want to tell Siri about.
Take a Picture
Instead of fumbling to launch the Camera app on your iPhone you can just say “take a picture” and Siri will automatically open the Camera app and you can snap away.
Need to know how many millimeters are in 4 inches? Just ask Siri and you will find that there are 101.6 mm in 4 inches. This works for currency exchange rates, too. Ask Siri how many Euros are equal to $100US you will find that 87.73 Euros is the exchange rate today. Siri has some other strong calculation features too. You can ask Siri how many calories there are in that fish sandwich or to calculate a 20% tip on your restaurant bill. You can ask her to solve math problems involving fractions and other math functions that will be faster than opening the calculator app and punching in the numbers.
Okay you can use Siri to look up baseball stats or other information to settle a dispute but what if you are at loggerheads and just want to get a random answer and don’t have a coin to flip. You can ask Siri to “roll the dice”, “flip a coin” or pick a random number.
Name that Tune
Siri is integrated with Shazam to help you figure out what song is playing. Just ask her “what song is playing?” and she will listen and let you know and probably try to sell you the song, too!
Find that Photo
Siri can search your photo library for you. I know how frustrating it is if your are like me and have literally thousands of photos. You can say something like “find that photo from Daytona Beach from last March” and Siri will launch Photos and take you right to any photos taken at that place and time.
Siri Takes You Out
Siri can make your restaurant reservations for you, too! Tell Siri “make a restaurant reservation for four at 7PM” and she will respond with available restaurants nearby and if you have the Open Table app installed can make the reservation for you or give you the phone number to call.
Are We There Yet?
If you are using your iPhone for navigation you can just say “ETA” and Siri will let you know how much longer you are gonna be on the road.
Leave Me Alone
Siri can do a lot for you but sometimes you just want alone time. You can tell Siri to turn on “do not disturb” and you will not be bothered. Or tell her to “turn on airplane mode” and she will turn off Wi-Fi and cellular signals.