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Handheld Devices

How to use Siri on the iPhone

Siri replaces the Voice Control feature introduced with the iPhone 3GS, allows you to speak commands to your phone and have it do your bidding. In the latest version of iOS 6.0 it enables you to search for businesses, sports information, local restaurants and movie screenings, all by using the power of your voice.

Start up Siri

You activate Siri the same way as you did Voice Control on older iPhones: by holding down the Home button on the iPhone itself, or by holding down the control button on your wired or wireless headset.

What to say? You can ask Siri to do all kinds of things. It's great at working with text messages, simply say: "send a text to Dave that says hello, what time are we meeting tonight" and Siri will do exactly that (if you know more than one Dave, it'll ask you which one -- so you'll need to speak out your answer). Excitingly, you can also do the same with your emails.

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What does Siri know?

It knows a lot about weather and restaurants, sports and movie times. Apple says that understanding the words you say is the easy part, and that Siri's true genius is in figuring out what you want when you say those words and getting you the answer. Siri now also works with Apple's Maps application in the UK, so you can search for directions and local businesses.

Speak and spell

When you get a text message, you can instruct Siri to read the message, and it will. You can then tell Siri to reply to the message, dictate the entire message, have Siri read it back to you to confirm that it makes sense and then send it.

Wake me up

It's much easier to set an alarm or timer using Siri than it is to unlock your phone, find the Clock app and tap within the app. Just say, "set a timer for three minutes," and your phone begins to count down until your tea is ready. "Set an alarm for 5 am" does what you'd expect, instantly.

Take note

Say to Siri: "Remind me to record my favourite show" and "Note that I need to take my suit to the cleaners" work, too. These are short bursts of data input that can be handled quickly by voice, and they work well.

What's special about Siri?

Users not only can talk to Siri as if it were a person, they seem to want to. Beyond merely understanding what you have to say, Siri works because it has a personality. Siri's personality is one of its biggest draws. It's not just fun but funny. When you ask Siri the meaning of life, it tells you "42" or "All Evidence to date points to chocolate."

See also Funny things to ask Siri in the UK

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