iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course
by Josh Centers

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Speaking to Siri

First built into the OS in iOS 5 (it was a third-party app before that), Siri has evolved from a flaky beta into a usually reliable voice-activated personal assistant .

① 	Once you’ve begun a conversation with Siri, you see Siri’s response plus a microphone button. You can tap the microphone button to continue the conversation, but the Home button works too.

① Once you’ve begun a conversation with Siri, you see Siri’s response plus a microphone button. You can tap the microphone button to continue the conversation, but the Home button works too.

Summoning Siri

  1. Hold down the Home button.

    When you hear a chime and see “What can I help you with?” Siri is listening.

  2. Release the Home button (or gain more control by continuing to hold it down).
  3. Speak . Say something like, “How are you doing today?”
    ② 	To activate Siri, press and hold the Home button. You can ask Siri almost anything.

    ② To activate Siri, press and hold the Home button. You can ask Siri almost anything.

  4. Be quiet (and if you are still holding the Home button, release it).

Note: All devices that can run iOS 8 can run Siri, except for the iPad 2.

Setting up Siri

Visit Settings > General > Siri to access the Siri screen. If the Siri switch is not on, turn it on.

Choose a Language

You can change Siri’s language. On the Siri settings screen, tap Language. For example, if you live in Canada and mainly speak English, you can choose a completely different language, such as French (Canada) or Korean, or you can try another English accent, such as Australian.

Keep in mind that Siri doesn’t just speak in a different language or dialect; Siri expects you to speak that way too! So if you like listening to Siri with an Australian accent, beware that your voice will be recognized as though you’re speaking with a similar accent.

Choose a Gender for Siri

To change Siri’s apparent gender, go to Settings > General > Siri > Voice Gender.

Introduce Yourself

You can tell Siri, “Take me home,” to get directions to your house, but first, Siri must know who you are.

Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > My Info; then choose your contact entry from the list. If you don’t have one, make one in the Contacts app.

To check who Siri thinks you are, you can ask “Who am I?

Introduce Your Family

With Siri, you can refer to people by relationship. For example, I can tell Siri to “call my wife” instead of “call Hannah Centers.” You can teach Siri the identity of your mother, spouse, father, parent, brother, sister, and more.

To set this up, make sure you have a card for the person in the Contacts app. If you don’t, make one by tapping the plus + button at the upper right of the main Contacts screen (clear the Search field if you don’t see a +).

With the card created, do one of the following:

New! More Siri Options

Five Useful Siri Commands

Siri understands dozens of commands. Here are five of the most useful.

③ 	Siri can wake you up in the morning…

③ Siri can wake you up in the morning…

④ 	…tell you when the cake is done…

④ …tell you when the cake is done…

⑤ 	…remind you to change the cat litter when you get home…

⑤ …remind you to change the cat litter when you get home…

⑥ 	…or call your significant other. Siri can do lots of things; don’t be afraid to experiment!

⑥ …or call your significant other. Siri can do lots of things; don’t be afraid to experiment!

Third-party Apps for Siri

Apple doesn’t openly offer developers an API to integrate their apps with Siri, but a handful of third-party apps are integrated with Siri. Here are a few examples:

⑦ 	Siri can tell you movie showtimes, and if the Fandango Movies app is installed, you can buy tickets.

⑦ Siri can tell you movie showtimes, and if the Fandango Movies app is installed, you can buy tickets.

⑧ 	Siri can answer nearly any sports question. Tap the Yahoo logo (shown at lower right) to open that tidbit in the Yahoo Sports app.

⑧ Siri can answer nearly any sports question. Tap the Yahoo logo (shown at lower right) to open that tidbit in the Yahoo Sports app.

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“Here’s a party trick: Siri can identify currently playing music—just say “Name that tune!” or ask “What’s playing?””

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