What is Siri?
Siri is the intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. It allows you to use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. But Siri isn’t like traditional voice recognition software that requires you to remember keywords and speak specific commands. Siri understands your natural speech, and it asks you questions if it needs more information to complete a task.
Siri uses the processing power of the dual-core A5 chip in iPhone 4S, and it uses 3G and Wi-Fi networks to communicate rapidly with Apple’s data centers. So it can quickly understand what you say and what you’re asking for, then quickly return a response.
Siri is currently in beta and we’ll continue to improve it over time.
How do I ask Siri something?
To talk to Siri, hold down the Home button on your iPhone 4S. You’ll hear two quick beeps and see “What can I help you with?” on the screen. Just begin speaking. The microphone icon lights up to let you know that Siri hears you talking. Once you’ve started a dialogue with Siri, tap the microphone icon to talk to it again.
There’s more than one way to talk to Siri. When the screen is on, simply bring iPhone 4S up to your ear. You’ll hear two quick beeps to indicate that Siri is listening to you.
Siri also works with headphones and Bluetooth headsets. When you’re using headphones with a remote and microphone, you can press and hold the center button to talk to Siri. With a Bluetooth headset, press and hold the call button to bring up Siri.
Siri waits for you to stop talking, but you can also tap the microphone icon to tell Siri you’re done talking. This is useful when there’s a lot of background noise.
What happens after I ask Siri a question or ask it to do something?
When you finish speaking, Siri displays the text of what you said and provides a response. If Siri needs more information to complete a request, it will ask you a question. For example, if you say “Remind me to call my mom,” Siri will ask “What time would you like me to remind you?”
When you use earphones or a headset, Siri reads back text messages and email messages that you’ve dictated before you send them, and it reads back the subjects of reminders before you create them. This is especially helpful when you’re driving and can’t see the iPhone 4S screen.
Do I have to say things a certain way to get Siri to respond?
No. You can speak to Siri as you would to a person — in a natural voice with a conversational tone. If you want to know what the weather will be like tomorrow, simply say “What will the weather be like tomorrow?” Or “Does it look like rain tomorrow?” Or even “Will I need an umbrella tomorrow?” No matter how you ask, Siri will tell you the forecast.
Does Siri work out of the box, or do I have to teach it?
Siri works right out of the box, without any work on your part. And the more you use Siri, the better it will understand you. It does this by learning about your accent and other characteristics of your voice. Siri uses voice recognition algorithms to categorize your voice into one of the dialects or accents it understands. As more people use Siri and it’s exposed to more variations of a language, its overall recognition of dialects and accents will continue to improve, and Siri will work even better.
Siri also uses information from your contacts, music library, calendars, and reminders to better understand what you say. So it responds more accurately when you ask to make a phone call, play music, or create an appointment or reminder.
If you like, you can reset what Siri has learned about your voice by turning Siri off and then back on in Settings > General > Siri.
What Siri Can Do For You
What types of things can I ask Siri about or ask it to do?
You can ask Siri to make a call, find a business and get directions, schedule reminders and meetings, search the web, and more. You can even ask Siri “What can you do for me?” or tap the “i” in the right corner of the screen when you bring Siri up. You’ll see examples of things Siri can do, along with ways you can ask for things.
Which apps does Siri work with?
Siri works with almost all the built-in apps on iPhone 4S. And it’s smart enough to figure out which apps to use to provide you with answers. It also uses Search and Location Services to help you with your requests. Here’s a list of apps and services that Siri works with worldwide:
How does Siri learn about my key relationships?
Siri also helps you by learning about the key people in your life. The first time you ask Siri to call your sister, it will ask you who your sister is. That information is stored in Contacts along with other relationship information like “mom,” “husband,” and “grandma.”
How do location-based reminders work?
Because Siri knows your current location and other locations like “home” and “work,” it can remind you to do a certain task when you leave a location or arrive at a location. So if you tell Siri,“Remind me to call my wife when I leave the office,” Siri does just that.
To turn off the ability for Siri to use your location, go to Settings > Location Services and set the switch for Siri to Off. Regardless of how Locations Services is set for Siri, information about your location is not tracked or stored outside the phone.
Does iPhone 4S take dictation?
Yes. iPhone 4S supports dictation in any app that has a keyboard. So instead of typing, you can speak and your words will be entered as text.
To start dictation, tap the microphone button on your keyboard and start talking. When you’re finished, tap Done and your words will be turned into text. Dictation for each language is built into the keyboard for that language.
Is Siri accessible to blind and visually impaired users?
Yes. VoiceOver, the screen reader built into iOS, can speak any text that’s displayed in responses from Siri. You can navigate through the responses and have each one read to you. This includes the days of a weather forecast, the body of an email, the details of an answer from Wolfram|Alpha, and more.