Chapter 6. Siri Voice Command

Siri, the iPhone’s famous voice-recognition technology, is actually two features. First, there’s dictation, where the phone types out everything you say. It’s described in Chapter 4.

Second, there’s Siri the voice-controlled minion. You can say, “Wake me up at 7:45 a.m.,” or “What’s Chris’s work number?” or “How do I get to the airport?” or “What’s the weather going to be like in San Francisco this weekend?”

You can also ask questions about movies, sports, and restaurants. Siri displays a beautifully formatted response and speaks in a calm voice.

You can even ask her, “What song is that?” or “Name that tune.” She’ll identify whatever song is playing in the background, just as the popular Shazam app does. It’s creepy/amazing.

You can operate her hands-free, too. Instead of pressing the Home button to get her attention, you just say, “Hey Siri.” (The 6s and 7 models can respond even when running on battery power.)

Until iOS 10, only Apple decided what Siri could understand. Now, though, the creators of certain apps can teach Siri new vocabulary, too. For example, you can now say, “Send Nicki a message with WeChat,” “Pay Dad 20 dollars with Square Cash,” and “Book a ride with Lyft” or “Order me an Uber.”


The kinds of apps Apple permits to tap into Siri are in these six categories: audio or video calls, messages, payments, photo searching, booking rides, and starting workouts. Notably absent: music apps. You still can’t say, “Play some Dave Brubeck on Spotify,” ...

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