Most Useful Siri Commands on macOS

Starting with macOS Sierra in 2016, Apple introduced support for Siri on the Mac, allowing you to access the personal assistant across all of your Apple devices for the first time.

Siri on Mac can actually do quite a few useful things that aren't available on iOS devices, and because the technology is still rather new on Apple's desktop and laptop machines, we thought we'd highlight some of the most useful Siri commands on the Mac.

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Siri on Mac can be accessed from the menu bar, the dedicated Siri app that can be added to the dock, or through a keyboard shortcut like Command + Space. You can manage your Siri preferences and options by opening up System Preferences and choosing "Siri" from the options at the bottom of the window.


One of the simplest and most useful ways to use Siri is to open apps without accessing the dock or finding the app in the applications folder. You can ask Siri to "open the Calendar app" or "open Evernote."

Open works with any app on your Mac, and it also works with websites and files. Some sample commands:
  • Open MacRumors.com
  • Open Google.com
  • Open the Applications Folder
  • Open the iCloud Drive folder
Siri's "Show Me" command on macOS works hand in hand with the series of open commands. You can ask Siri to show you all kinds of files stored on your Mac, which makes it easier to search for specific content. You can also ask for files within apps like Photos. Some sample commands:
  • Show me my most recent files
  • Show me files from June 2017
  • Show me photos from April 2017
  • Show me photos from last week
  • Show me files from today
  • Show me privacy settings
  • Show me network settings
Siri is also interactive and can be used to turn settings on your Mac on and off, just like on iOS devices. Siri can turn on Night Shift, activate Bluetooth, turn off Wi-Fi, and more. Some sample commands:
  • Turn off Wi-Fi
  • Turn on Bluetooth
  • Activate the screensaver
  • Turn up the volume
  • Turn down the brightness
  • Go to sleep
  • Change my wallpaper
Another useful way to use Siri on the Mac is to get information about the Mac itself. You can ask Siri questions about the hardware installed on your Mac. Some sample commands:
  • How fast is my Mac?
  • What processor does my Mac have?
  • Tell me about my Mac
  • What is my Mac's serial number?
  • How much RAM does my Mac have?
  • How much storage do I have?
Siri can, of course, answer simple queries and provide information, just like you can do on iOS. Commands like "What time is it?" and "What's the weather?" are available, as are more complicated requests like "Find me a good restaurant nearby" or "Get me directions to the mall."

Do you use Siri for Mac? What are the most useful commands you've found? Let us know if we've missed any in the comments below.

Tag: Siri


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4 weeks ago
I genuinely feel bad for the MR writers who have to write these articles touting 'useful' things that Siri can do. I used Siri on my Mac for about two minutes when it was first introduced. Haven't activated it a single time since then. In my opinion, Siri is even less helpful on the Mac than it is on iOS devices. I have a full-size keyboard and a mouse connected to my Mac. Usually, I can do just about anything Siri could do on a Mac just as fast or faster if I do it myself.
Rating: 26 Votes
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4 weeks ago
most useful command for macOS is:

settings > siri > disable

The ONLY device I actually use voice commands on is the new Apple TV (easier than typing in search terms with that little remote)
Rating: 13 Votes
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4 weeks ago
The best command is “Turn off Siri”
Rating: 9 Votes
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4 weeks ago
I have deactivated Siri on all my Apple devices. I cannot find it useful at all.
Rating: 8 Votes
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4 weeks ago

Open works with any app on your Mac, and it also works with websites and files. Some sample commands:
* Open MacRumors.com
* Open Google.com
* Open the Applications Folder
* Open the iCloud Drive folder


Obviously this is all a boon for anyone with accessibility issues, but if you've got a full-sized keyboard under your fingers Siri gets a whole lot less useful than it is on iOS.

I can hit ⌘-space and open those URLs in Alfred or even Spotlight faster than you can say them and wait for them to be recognized (especially assuming Siri's less than stellar recognition rate). Hell, Alfred lets you just type a word and start a custom search immediately on any site you have it set up with.

Also, in the Finder ⌘⇧A opens the Applications folder and ⌘⇧I opens the iCloud Drive folder -- both way faster and less irritating than trying to say all that and hope it's recognized.

I guess they don't consider dictation part of Siri, but it can be pretty useful. It's gotten a lot better than it used to be. Again, on a full size keyboard it always seems a little more cumbersome than just typing but I suppose if you're a slow typist or just don't feel like it or have carpel tunnel or something then it's nice to have. (I just dictated this last paragraph and didn't make any manual correctons. Not bad!)
Rating: 6 Votes
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4 weeks ago
The one and only use it is capable of doing on my iPhone is missing entirely on the Mac: setting a timer. :(
Rating: 6 Votes
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4 weeks ago
I should be a little more forgiving with Siri. While I use keyboard shortcuts/hot keys, the fact is that the average user probably doesn’t. People on these forums are much more likely to be enthusiasts than the average Mac or PC user. We have to keep that in mind when criticizing a feature that may be very useful to others while being unnecessary for us.
Rating: 5 Votes
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4 weeks ago
Siri, hide all the trolls on MR.
Rating: 4 Votes
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4 weeks ago

See, and this lies at the heart of the problem with Siri and other voice assistants. Physically, it’s lower effort to just talk to an assistant. But something about the psychology of it–that humans are tool-harnessing beings–makes it actually seem like more effort to talk to some assistant than to just move my mouse and type a few keys, not even mentioning the fact that it’s almost always the quickest solution, too. I have a light that’s plugged into an Alexa-controlled smart outlet, and I find it More intuitive to just turn the light on by walking over to the switch and turning it on rather than talking to my echo

I think the inherent doubt of talking to a machine with a low recognition or "understanding" rate makes it more of a cognitive chore. If I start asking Siri things, I know from experience that I may be subjecting myself to several rounds of frustration and repetition -- but I know that if I just type the damn thing, it's going to be right the first time. That, along with the awkardness of having to formulate my query in Siri's terms, makes me way less likely to use it.

On a related note, I'd also argue that while dictation is not really a great way to write. The comparative slowness of typing (at least at the 50-100 wpm rate that I think many of us are at) forces you to slow down at least a little bit as you formulate sentences. Every time I try to "write something down" with dictation, it's even more wordy and sloppy than my regular writing.
Rating: 3 Votes
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4 weeks ago
Unfortunately the command ‘Go to sleep’ sometimes results in Siri saying ‘I never sleep’ which is not ideal.
Rating: 2 Votes
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