Chapter 5. 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. That’s described in Chapter 3.

Second, there’s Siri the voice-controlled minion. You can say, “Wake me up at 7:45 a.m.,” or “What’s Casey’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—a voice that, in iOS 13, is much more natural-sounding.

You can even ask her, “What song is that?” or say, “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 iPhone 6s and later models can respond even when unplugged and running on battery power.)

In the beginning, only Apple decided what Siri could understand. Now, though, the creators of certain apps can teach Siri new vocabulary, too. For example, you can say, “Send Nicki a message with WeChat,” “Pay Dad 20 dollars with Square Cash,” “Book a ride with Lyft,” or “Order me an Uber.” And thanks to the Shortcuts app (“Siri Shortcuts”), you can actually create your own Siri commands.

Voice Command

In 2010, Apple bought Siri, a company that made a voice-control ...

Get iPhone: The Missing Manual, 13th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.