A Beginner’s Guide to Siri On the Mac

Siri can be a useful tool for performing tasks on your Mac without needing to type or navigate through apps. You can ask Siri to launch apps, change preferences, do math, check email, play music, search for files and photos and many other computing tasks. You can also ask Siri to look up information online.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: A Beginner’s Guide to Siri On the Mac.

So if you're new to Mac you may have not yet started using Siri on your Mac that often. There's a ton that it can do so let's just look at some basics to get you started.

First, let's go to System Preferences and go to Siri to see how to set it up. Now you can setup the language, the voice, whether or not there's voice feedback, if you turn it Off you'll get responses but they're just text on the screen, and also you can choose the microphone if you have more than one connected to your Mac. You can choose how to activate Siri.

Now you can always use the button in the top right corner to activate Siri. You don't need to use the keyboard. But if you want to use the keyboard you can choose from some good options here like Command Space, Option Space. Both of them you have to Hold, you can't just press them. You can also have Fn key and space. That one you can just press.

You can also Customize and choose anything you want. You can also just turn it Off if you want nothing on the keyboard to activate Siri. Then if you don't want Siri in the Menu Bar, because you're going to use the keyboard to activate Siri, you can turn that off here. If you wanted to disable Siri completely, here. But let's look at some of the stuff you can do with Siri on your Mac.

There are so many things you can do with Siri. Here's just a sampling. So when I first click I can immediately talk. What time is it? It's 11:24 AM good morning. Now Siri isn't listening anymore until I activate it again with the keyboard shortcut, hit the Siri button here, or hit the microphone button here. Then I can ask Siri something else. So Siri can do all sorts of math for you which can be really useful if you're busy writing or programming or something and you don't want to go to a separate interface just to get a simple math answer. What is 6 times 9. It's 54.

So Siri can also be used to launch apps. Launch Pages. It doesn't just have to be Apple apps either. It can be third party apps that you have installed. You can also get to System Preferences pretty easily. Bring up System Preferences. Or to specific parts of System Preferences. Bring up Keyboard Preferences.

But there are certain things that you can do without even going to Preferences. For instance, Set the volume to 20%. I decreased the volume. Turn on Do Not Disturb. OK I turned on Do Not Disturb. You can also access things inside your apps. For instance you can ask Siri to play music. You can ask it to play a playlist or an album or an artist or just everything. Play my music. In this case it will launch iTunes and start playing.

You can do similar things with Photos. You can even get more detailed and ask for Searches. Show me my photos with water in them. You can see it brings it right up and does my search. You can also even have it check your email. Check my email. You have twenty five emails since September 15th, 2016. So in this case it doesn't even have to launch the Mail app. Now I can click on one of these to jump into the Mail app to see them.

You can also use some of the basic apps like Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and everything through Siri. Create an event for 5 PM today. OK, I setup your event for today. Shall I schedule it? No. To continue you can confirm, cancel. Alright Gary I'll leave it off your calendar. You can do a lot right here. Set a reminder for 5 PM to bring my laptop home. OK I'll remind you. It adds it in there and you even have a Remove button. I deleted it. So I can kind of handle corrections and things right inside the Siri interface without ever even bringing up Reminders.

Of course when people think Siri they think a lot of external data so you can do things like, What's the weather going to be like tomorrow. It should be nice tomorrow up to 73 degrees. When do the Rockies play today? The Rockies play the Giants at 1:10 PM. What movies are playing today? I found The Nut Job 2 playing now. You can ask for specifics. Specific movie times and things like that.

You can also ask it to look on Maps. Find Moab, Utah on a map. OK, here's Moab. Then I can click that and it will launch the Maps app. There's so much else that Siri can do. It can work with Messages, it can work with the web, you can do searches. You can even do special things with searches like, for instance, if I were to search the web for some images, Search the web for images of waterfalls. Here are some images of waterfalls I found on the web.

See it doesn't just bring up Safari. I brings up this little grid of images here and I can jump into Safari but I can also drag and drop right from this interface. If I was working say on a pages document and needed a place holder image to go into my document I can use Siri, drag and drop into Pages, and I would get that image right there.

So Siri can be really useful. I encourage you to play around with using it and find out how it can help you with your daily work.

Comments: 7 Responses to “A Beginner’s Guide to Siri On the Mac”

    Lynda Farabee
    2 years ago

    When using Siri on a computer, it appeared you just clicked the mic icon. But on iDevices, do you have to hold down that icon. Seems so unnatural to keep holding your finger down.

    2 years ago

    Lynda: On iPhones and iPads you can hold down the Home button, but you can also just press the home button and release (about a 1 second press). No need to keep holding. Of course you can also use “Hey Siri.”

    Nannette Mercurio
    2 years ago

    I have OS X El Capitan version 10 11 6 and I do not have the Siri Icon. How do I get it? This tutorial does not address that

    2 years ago

    Nannette: Siri on the Mac was introduced with macOS Sierra. So you’ll need to upgrade to Sierra (or High Sierra next week) to get Siri.

    Richard Scotte
    2 years ago

    Thanks for the feature on Siri – I found it very useful. I can find a lot of useful tasks for the app fro now on. RS. Canberra Au.

    Nannette Mercurio
    2 years ago

    Thanks, I update every time one comes to me. And I haven’t seen any updates for Sierra. Will I get a notification for the High Sierra next week?

    2 years ago

    Nannette: Sierra came out a year ago. Go to the App Store and look for it. High Sierra comes out on the 25th. Unless you have an older Mac, your should be able to use either.

Comments Closed.