10 Surprisingly Useful Ways To Use Apple's Siri

  • Author: Niall
  • Niall Harbison,

Since it launched just over a year ago, Apple's Siri has been criticised for being too new for the masses and having too many flaws to properly take on traditional search. Like most people, I stopped using it a couple of weeks after it first launched, but after trying it again on my iPhone 5, I've been sucked back into it to the point where I now think it's something that I can't do without.

I use it on average between 30-50 times per day, and it genuinely makes my life much easier. Now it still has a bunch of flaws and it always fails when I go to do a demo for somebody, but the improvement has been drastic and I'm sure that if you tried Google search a couple of months after it launched, it wasn't perfect either.

Building a truly smart digital assistant that can answer all of your questions takes time and a lot of user data. I'd have to say that although dubious at first I can now see a huge mass market future for it and I know that I am finding more ways than ever to get benefits from it.

Movie Reviews

It turns out that Siri has a wicked sense of humor and to see that at its best, you can ask it about movies in the world. Rather than giving full reviews, the site throws back some hilarious mini-reviews that describe the movies in question perfectly.

Sports Results

This is still fairly new and the amount of sports that it covers (especially outside of the U.S.) is fairly limited. Yet Siri is becoming massively useful when finding out how your local team is doing, or getting fixtures or scores without having to trawl through websites. You can see how this is only going to improve and become indispensable to millions in time.

Restaurant Reviews

Since we all go out to eat on a regular basis, Siri is starting to offer up some really good suggestions. Siri ties into some popular rating services like Yelp to return answers based on actual reviews and the results are surprisingly good.

We'd love to see a future where it used our friend's Facebook likes and see it tying in with a service like Opentable to book the restaurant for you all in one go. We are a couple of years away from that, but try out the restaurant reviews for yourself as you will be pleasantly surprised.

SMS And Email When Driving

Technically, you shouldn't be using your phone in any shape or form when in the car, but let's just say that you had to because of an emergency and typing was not an option. You can fire off really quick replies or messages when stuck at the lights without having to look at the phone. The predicative text is very good and although it does make the odd mistake based on your accent, you'll get used to it and find it very useful.

Tweeting And Updating Facebook

Twitter and Facebook are being integrated further into iOS and one of the best tips is that you can tweet and send messages to Facebook and without having to open the app. You might have to check spelling and other parts of your message before sending, but it works and it is the most efficient way of updating your social media profiles.

Beating People In Arguments

We all sit in restaurants, bars and with friends and have arguments that are invariably resolved by going to Google or Wikipedia. What I've noticed recently though is that I can find the answers twice as fast as my friends by using Siri.

It might seem obvious, but asking your phone is far quicker than having to search for the answers. Of course, it will often default to regular search results, but for simple queries like capital cities, results, and linear questions, it's provided by the likes of Wolfram Alpha. Siri can come out trumps and will do so much quicker than anything else.

Answering Large Volumes Of Emails

Like most people, I get hundreds of emails every single day and I mark most of them to "reply later" during the day - with a view to answering them all when I get some time. Come evening, I'm pretty tired but I've worked out a system that allows me to blast through about 50 emails in 30 minutes using only Siri. They are all a couple of lines long and I have to do them in a quiet room, but I could never get through the volume I do without having it.

Set Your Alarm

The first time you set the alarm through Siri, you'll find it's one of the most satisfying ways of using it because as they say in the commercials: "It just works." Because it's your alarm and you'll be so worried about it actually working, you will probably double-check it a few times but once you do get used to it, you won't look back.

Play A Specific Song

Rather than having to open up your music and scroll through artists, you can literally just ask Siri to open up a specific song and it will take you straight to that tune. You can do it by artist or playlist and it really is a super way of navigating through your music.

Open Apps Quickly

Most apps are easy to find on your phone, but sometimes it can take ages to find the one you're looking for, especially when you need them in a hurry and they're in folders. All those problems vanish though when you just click the Siri button and ask it to open the app for you. You'll be surprised at just how quick it does it for you.