Top 5 Siri Productivity Booster Tricks
If you've dismissed Siri due to frustration, or never even gave it a shot, here are 5 simple tips to help get you started. Try them. Once you work out the kinks and get in the habit of using Siri, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it.
1. Use Raise to Speak
Most people hold the Home button for two seconds to bring Siri to life, but there’s a better way to use Siri in public. Raise to Speak launches Siri when you lift your iPhone to your ear, and you are "not" making a phone call. Her voice comes out of the earpiece, not the speaker, and you look as though you are making a regular phone call when you speak to her.
If Raise to Speak is off, go to Settings > General > Siri and scroll to the bottom. There you’ll see the “Raise to Speak” button, which you can switch to "on."
2. Set Up Your Contacts
Make sure to tell Siri about all your most important relationships. You can do this manually in Contacts by selecting your own contact information and filling in the slots for “wife,” “daughter,” and so on. A quicker method is to tell Siri directly: "Bob is my brother.” Just make sure the name is already in your contacts. Say “Yes” when Siri asks you to confirm. This is a great and natural way to contact people: “Call my boss” or “text my assistant I’ll be 20 minutes late.” You can even add custom labels like “accountant” or “lawyer.”
3. Add Phonetic Spellings And Nicknames
Siri stumbled over my name until I added a phonetic spelling to the Contact card. In Contacts, find the person with the troublesome name. Hit “Edit” and scroll down to the bottom. Hit the button that says "Add Field” and select "Phonetic First Name" or "Phonetic Last Name," depending on which one Siri can’t recognize. Now when you ask Siri to say or recognize a name, she'll get it right. You can even do this for place names, like favorite restaurants or places with hard-to-recognize names. Palace of “Ver-Sigh,” for example.
Another useful trick is to add nicknames to contacts. Using a nickname to call someone or send a text is a great, natural way to do things. Again, find the contact, hit “Edit” and “Add New Field” and select “Nickname.”
It takes some getting used to, but using Siri to manage your calendar can be a big productivity boost. Adding new events, for example, can be a lot easier with Siri than any other method, including typing on your computer. The main trick is to include as much information as possible in the command. A rookie mistake is to say, “Schedule a meeting for tomorrow,” to which Siri responds with a query about what time? Better to say "Schedule a meeting with Joe tomorrow at 11a.m." If Joe is in your contacts, he will even receive an email invitation.
Siri has quite a lot of smarts. If you make a mistake, you can easily fix things by saying "change the time" or simply “cancel.” If there is ambiguity, Siri will ask questions to clarify the time or location. She is aware of conflicts with events already on your calendar, and can respond intelligently if you say “Cancel the 5 p.m. appointment” or “Reschedule my meeting on Thursday.”
Siri is good for searching your calendar or changing specific events. She understands “What appointments have I got tomorrow?” as well as “Cancel my doctor’s appointment on Friday.”
5. Location-Aware Reminders
To-do lists never work for me because I always forget to check them. Not so with a reminder that pops up at a particular location. It’s dead easy to tell Siri: “Remind me to get milk when I leave.” And when I step out of the door, the reminder pops up. There’s no need to tell Siri my location thanks to GPS.
There are lots of situations you can use location-aware reminders: “Remind me to feed the fish when I get home,” or “Remind me to say happy birthday to my boss when I get to work.”
I find it useful for errands: “Drop clothes at Locals Dry Cleaners.” Then when I pass the dry cleaners on the way home, a reminder pops up. Of course, you have to put the addresses of the dry cleaners into your contacts and turn on Location Services in Settings > Privacy Location Services.
To add addresses to your contact book, say “Find Walgreens,” then hit the red pin in the map and select the “Create New Contact” button to add it to your contacts.