Tech Coach Column—Siri

Tech Coach ColumnSiri
By LTCL Librarian Karen Scott

Siri is Apple’s virtual assistant that you can activate on all of your Apple devices, like iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. And with hands-free activation, I find Siri especially helpful and safe to use while driving. To activate Siri, I connect my iPhone through CarPlay and use my car’s voice command button on the steering wheel. Then I can ask to send a text, get directions to the nearest gas station, or find out what time H-E-B closes.

How do I activate Siri?
There are multiple ways to activate Siri. On iPhone and iPad, just say “Hey Siri,” or press and hold the power button. Once you see the multicolored, swirling orb show up at the bottom of your screen (that’s Siri) you can speak your request. On Apple Watch you can say “Hey Siri,” press and hold the Digital Crown, or simply raise your wrist to your mouth and speak your request. Visit your device’s Siri settings to verify which features are turned off/on and modify them to your preferences.

Here are some common commands:

  • When planning outfits for a trip, say “Hey Siri, what’s the weather like in Los Angeles?”
  • If you’re baking and your hands are covered in flour you can say “Hey Siri, set a timer for 45 minutes.”
  • Or play your favorite podcast by saying “Hey Siri, play the latest episode of ____.”
  • Immediately get directions to someone’s house (as long as you have their address saved to their contact) by saying “Hey Siri, take me to ____’s house.”

Some users are concerned that Siri is listening to your conversations all the time, but Siri is programmed to only listen for the “Hey Siri,” command. Sometimes Siri will wake up if you use words or phrases that phonetically sound like the command, but you can always end Siri by pressing the power button or swiping up like you would to get out of an app. If you’re still unsure about this feature, you can turn it off in Settings and only use Siri when activated by the power button on your device. It is also worth noting that your Siri conversations are not connected to your Apple ID, so your questions and information remain private.

If you’re just looking for a laugh, Siri also has a sense of humor. Try asking questions like “How old are you,” “What’s your favorite animal,” or say “I see a little silhouetto of a man,” and hear Siri deadpan recite lyrics from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Happy Siri-ing!

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