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10 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Could Do

Siri keeps getting better and better. Here are some things that you may now know Siri can help you with. For instance, you can get random numbers, create and populate lists, get baseball statistics, set recurring events and more.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On this episode let me show you some things that you may not have known that Siri can do.

Let's start off by looking at some Siri commands that have to do with time. You can ask Siri how many days, or hours, or minutes, or seconds until a specific time. So, for instance, say you've got a graduation coming up next year and you want to count down the days. How many days until June 5th? It's three hundred and four days until then.

You can have Siri set alarms, set timers, and even create an event in Calendar. So let's look at those. Let's set an alarm. I do this all the time. It's much easier than actually setting it on the screen. It's very easy, it's quick, and it's accurate.
Set an alarm for 6 AM tomorrow morning. I've set an alarm for 6 AM. I find that you can even ask Siri things like, wake me up tomorrow at 6 AM and it will set an alarm like this.

Let me turn this off and let's look at setting a timer. Set a timer for eight minutes and 30 seconds. OK, I set it. Just remember; A watched iPhone never boils. Now you can pause the timer, you can remove the timer very easily as well. Cancel that timer. OK, I stopped the timer and reset it to 8 minutes.

Now I recently did a video about creating recurring events in the Calendar app on your Mac. As a lot of people pointed out, and most of us know, you can't do that on iOS, its never been a feature on the Calendar app on iOS to set recurring events. But you can actually do it using Siri. Not all the options are available but you can do the basic stuff. Create a recurring event for every Tuesday at 9 AM called breakfast. OK, I set up your event starting Tuesday. Shall I schedule it? Yes. Your recurring event is scheduled, starting 9 AM Tuesday.

So you probably know you can do simple math with Siri. You can ask Siri to add numbers and multiple numbers and things like that. But you can also do some more complex things and some very useful things like this. What is $87.53 plus 21%. Let me have a look. The answer is about 105.91 US dollars. So that's useful and you can use that for tipping. You can also ask for complex things like What is the area of a circle with a radius of 78 cm. Checking. OK I found this.

You can also ask Siri to help you with random numbers. So, for instance, you can be very general like this; random number. It's 53. Or more specific; random number between 40 and 53. The answer is 49. Or you can do things like this. Flip a coin; it's heads. Roll a die; Rolling...it's six. Roll a D 20. OK....18 this time. Pick a card; OK... the 9 of diamonds.

You could also create and populate lists with Siri. These are lists that will be in the Reminders app but you don't even have to go to the Reminders app to do it. Create a new list named Grocery. I've created it. Just tell me if you'd like to add an item to this list. Add milk to the grocery list. I've added it. Add cheese to the grocery list. I've added it. Add bread to the grocery list. I've added it. Show me the grocery list. Here are your reminders on your Grocery list.

You can ask Siri to translate for you but it only really works well for single words. Still it's kind of useful. Translate bathroom from English to French. Let me have a look. Here's some information.

What works better is definitions because Siri will actually read the definition to you. Define renaissance. Renaissance means the revival of art and literature under the influence of classical models in the 14th-16th centuries.

So this one always seems to impress people. You can have Siri tell you what song is currently playing. Now if it's the song playing on your iPhone and you're asking Siri on your iPhone it's obviously going to figure it out quickly. But if nothing is playing on your device it will actually listen with the microphone and will identify the song. It's pretty accurate. So let's give it a try. I'm going to blank out the song here, so I don't run into any copyright issues, and try to leave in Siri's response. What song is this? Let me listen. I can name that tune. I think it's Drive my Car by the Beatles.

So, I'm a baseball fan and at the beginning of this season Apple announced a deal with Major League Baseball to bring a lot of really good detailed information to Siri and it's really impressive. You can do things like this: Who won the World Series in 1980? Let's see...The Phillies won the World Series 4-2 over the Royals. They won the last game 4-1 on October 21, 1980. So you can see it's pretty detailed information. How many RIB's did Hank Aaron have? Looking up Hand Aaron. Hank Aaron had 2,297 runs batted in during his career. That's pretty impressive. I'm not that impressed that it would bring up all the stats but that it understood that I wanted to know about RBI's in particular.

Okay, so maybe you're an expert and you knew everything single one of these tips. Here's something maybe you didn't know.
You can actually correct Siri by typing text. Now we've all run into situations where Siri has misunderstood a word we've said. You can actually correct that or if you actually spoke the wrong word you can actually go back and correct it without having to ask Siri all over again. Here's a simple example but you can use this in much more complex situations.

What's the square root of 77? Let me think about that. It looks like the answer is approximately 8.77496. Now let's say you meant to ask for 87. Scroll down here and I can tap in the text that Siri translated. I can actually change it without having to speak.
Checking. It looks like the answer is approximately 9.32738. So this is very useful when you want to correct a complex query and it's just much easier to just correct Siri this way by typing than it is to try to ask the question all over again.

Comments: 21 Responses to “10 Things You Didn’t Know Siri Could Do”

    8/8/16 @ 12:13 pm

    Most excellent!

    Mr. Luigi
    8/8/16 @ 10:10 pm

    I always thought it was pretty cool that you can ask Siri about air traffic overhead. I live 30 miles from an International airport so asking Siri, “What planes are currently flying overhead?” often yields some really interesting responses.

    Loved the video.

    8/11/16 @ 9:26 am

    Thank you! I didn’t know several of those. I will use them – today!!!

    8/11/16 @ 9:46 am

    Excellent! I’m not using Siri enough. Thanks for motivating me to change that.

    Tricia Hoekwater
    8/11/16 @ 11:06 am

    Great information. New ways to save time and sanity

    David Christensen
    8/11/16 @ 1:09 pm

    I love the idea of Siri. I wish they would get Siri doing more on my local network. Right now I have movies on a hard drive and all the movies are listed in my iTunes. But so far if I ask Siri to play one of these movies it can’t see them. I should beable to ask Siri on my iPad to play a movie that is on my hard drive. I can do it manually Siri should beable to do that.

    8/11/16 @ 2:27 pm

    Great video!
    2 questions:
    A/ I’ve been creating recurring events in my iOS Calendar using “Repeat” since iOS 7 or 8. Did you mean it’s hard/impossible on Mac OS?

    B/ Any tips for those who have turned off Siri in Permissions and then lost the separate Permissions PW?

    8/11/16 @ 2:50 pm

    JF: Compare the repeat options for Mac and iOS. You have much more that you can do on Mac.
    So you enabled parental restrictions with a password and have now lost that password? Not sure, but I think a backup and then restore from iTunes on a Mac will get you out of that, but as you can imagine I have never tried it myself. Maybe a Genius Bar visit will be the first step.

    8/11/16 @ 11:00 pm

    Hi Gary — I guess I don’t understand what you meant by not being able to set recurring events in iOS. Isn’t that what the “repeat” function is for in Calendar? I create recurrent events in Calendar on my iPhone all the time (like patient appointments) by setting it to “repeat” every day, week, month, year or custom interval.

    8/12/16 @ 1:14 pm

    Great Video. More new, neat “stuff”.. Thanks

    Linda Taylor
    8/12/16 @ 11:43 pm

    Thanks Gary. I haven’t played with Siri yet, but I’ll investigate now. After all, I don’t want to be left too far behind! 😉

    Bruce Lustig
    8/13/16 @ 7:54 am

    I did not know that a query could be edited! That is great because I live in Southern Arizona and many location names are Spanish and Siri many times does not know what you are saying. For instance the town of Sahaurita. Rather than yelling at Siri in anger, I can just edit the query. Awesome.

    8/13/16 @ 2:33 pm

    This isn’t bad. How do you get Siri to give you the time between two dates. I tried to get the years/months between October 1, 2004 and now but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Also I tried to get Siri to add a label to the alarm and couldn’t figure out how to do that either.

    8/13/16 @ 2:37 pm

    Michael: Couldn’t seem to get Siri to do that either, sorry.

    Kerrie Redgate
    8/14/16 @ 8:25 am

    Fabulous! Thanks so much, Gary! I’d had no idea SIRI could do so many things.

    8/14/16 @ 10:02 am

    Siri can set a timer down to the second, which I don’t believe can be done manually. Awesome, thanks.

    Adam Snyder
    8/15/16 @ 9:33 am

    Good video Gary.
    I learned a few new tricks from this video.
    I also which she would hear me as plainly, and be as helpful as she did you in this video.

    John Stires
    8/17/16 @ 1:36 pm

    Is there a way to ‘train’ Siri to better understand my voice? I asked, “What time will the moon rise this evening?” and got a list of restaurants. Very typical. Grrr.

    8/17/16 @ 1:41 pm

    John: Siri isn’t on your phone, not really. It is on an Apple server. It is constantly being trained to understand “everyone” — but not you in particular. If it doesn’t understand, just try again.

    Cindy and Ralph Andren
    9/1/16 @ 5:35 pm

    Where do I find siri on my Mac computer?
    I use it on my smart phone but not sure how to use it on computer.

    9/3/16 @ 10:18 pm

    Cindy: It is in macOS Sierra. Unless you have the beta, it should be out later this month (guess).

Comments Closed.