Most Useful Siri Commands on macOS

by

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.


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.

asksirimac
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.

Top Rated Comments

avanpelt Avatar
36 months 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.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CLS727 Avatar
36 months 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)
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
36 months ago
The best command is “Turn off Siri”
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CmdrLaForge Avatar
36 months ago
I have deactivated Siri on all my Apple devices. I cannot find it useful at all.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SBlue1 Avatar
36 months ago
The one and only use it is capable of doing on my iPhone is missing entirely on the Mac: setting a timer. :(
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
36 months 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!)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
macbook pro flexgate

Apple Extends 13-Inch MacBook Pro Backlight Repair Program

Sunday January 17, 2021 10:31 am PST by
Apple this week extended its worldwide 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program, authorizing coverage for eligible notebooks for up to five years after the original purchase date or up to three years after the start date of the program, whichever is longer. The previous cutoff was four years after the original purchase date. Apple launched the program on May 21, 2019 after...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro magsafe

MagSafe is Coming Back to the Mac: A Look Back at Apple's Original Magnetic Charging Technology

Friday January 15, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Surprise late night rumors last night provided us with our first in-depth look at what we can expect from the new MacBook Pro models that are coming in 2021, and there are some significant changes in the works. Along with additional ports, a new flat-edged design, and the removal of the Touch Bar, Apple's updated MacBook Pro machines will readopt MagSafe. MagSafe in the 2021 MacBook Pro...