Siri: Everything You Need to Know

Friday May 10, 2019 3:06 PM PDT by Juli Clover

Siri is the voice assistant on Apple devices, equivalent to Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, and Google's Google Assistant. Siri is available across most of Apple's devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and HomePod.

You can ask Siri all kinds of questions, from simple queries about the weather to more complex questions about everything from sports scores to the number of calories in food. Siri can also enable or disable settings, find content, set alarms and reminders, place calls and texts, and so much more.


This guide covers the basics of Siri, including some of the commands you can use to activate Siri, devices that have Siri included, and devices that support more advanced hands-free "Hey Siri" commands.

Activating Siri

On an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, Siri can be activated by holding the Home button on compatible models or holding the Side button on devices without a Home button.

On the Mac, you can click on the Siri app icon on the dock or the menu bar, or press and hold the command key and the space bar. On a Mac with a Touch Bar, you can press the Siri icon on the Touch Bar. On 2018 MacBook Air and Pro models or the iMac Pro, you can activate Siri with a "Hey Siri" command.


On the ‌Apple Watch‌, you can say "Hey Siri" to activate Siri. On ‌Apple Watch‌ Series 3 or later with the latest version of ‌Apple Watch‌, there's a Raise to Speak feature that lets Siri respond to commands even without the Hey Siri trigger word. Just hold the watch near your mouth and speak. Siri can also be activated by holding down on the Digital Crown.

On first-generation AirPods, a double tap activates Siri, and on second-generation ‌AirPods‌, Siri can be activated with the "Hey Siri" command.

On ‌HomePod‌, say "Hey Siri" or press on the top of the ‌HomePod‌ to activate Siri.

On ‌Apple TV‌, hold down the Siri button on the remote (the button with the microphone) to activate Siri.

Devices Compatible With Siri

Siri is on almost every Apple device, and it's built into macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. You can activate Siri on Macs running macOS Sierra or later, all ‌Apple Watch‌ models, the fourth and fifth-generation ‌Apple TV‌, all modern iPhones, the ‌AirPods‌, and the ‌HomePod‌.


Devices That Support 'Hey Siri' Without Power

Most Apple devices have support for the "Hey Siri" activation command, but more recent iPads, iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches offer hands-free "Hey Siri" Siri support even when not connected to power. That means you can use the "Hey Siri" trigger phrase at any time to activate Siri.

Compatible devices are listed below:

  • ‌iPhone‌ 6s and later
  • Second-generation ‌AirPods‌ (‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌ or ‌Apple Watch‌ connection required)
  • 5th-generation ‌iPad‌ and later
  • All iPad Pro models except the first-generation 12.9-inch model
  • 5th-generation ‌iPad‌ mini
  • 3rd-generation ‌iPad‌ Air
  • All ‌Apple Watch‌ models
  • ‌HomePod‌
  • 2018 MacBook Pro
  • 2018 ‌MacBook Air‌
  • ‌iMac Pro‌

When multiple devices that can respond to "Hey Siri" commands are available, the devices will use Bluetooth to determine which one should respond to the request so not all of them answer at once. According to Apple, the device that heard you best or the device that was most recently raised or used will respond.

If you have a ‌HomePod‌, the ‌HomePod‌ will often take precedent and respond to "Hey Siri" requests even when other devices that support the feature are nearby.

Countries Where Siri Support is Available

Siri is available in more than 35 countries around the world, including the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia and Europe.

A full list of countries where Siri is available can be found on Apple's Feature Availability website.

Certain Siri features like translations, sports info, restaurant information and reservations, movie information and showtimes, dictionary, calculations, and conversions are limited to a smaller number of countries.

What Siri Can Do

Below is a list of some of the commands and questions Siri is able to respond to, and some of the actions Siri is able to take.

  • Make calls/Initiate FaceTime
  • Send/read texts
  • Send messages on third-party messaging apps
  • Set alarms/timers
  • Set reminders/check calendar
  • Split a check or calculate a tip
  • Play music (specific songs, artists, genres, playlists)
  • Identify songs, provide song info like artist and release date
  • Control HomeKit products
  • Play TV shows and movies, answer questions about them
  • Do translations and conversions
  • Solve math equations
  • Offer up sports scores
  • Check stocks
  • Surface photos based on person, location, object, and time
  • Apple Maps navigation and directions
  • Make reservations
  • Open and interact with apps
  • Find files (on Mac)
  • Send money via Apple Pay
  • Check movie times and ratings
  • Search for nearby restaurants and businesses
  • Activate Siri Shortcuts
  • Search and create Notes
  • Search Twitter and other apps
  • Open up the Camera and take a photo
  • Increase/decrease brightness
  • Control settings
  • Tell jokes, roll dice, flip a coin
  • Play voicemails
  • Check the weather

Siri How Tos

Passive Siri

Siri is an active assistant that you can interact with, but Apple has also integrated Siri into other aspects of iOS and watchOS, allowing Siri to make proactive suggestions that you can act on.

On the ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and ‌Apple Watch‌, Siri can make various kinds of recommendations. When you're running late for a scheduled meeting, for example, Siri might suggest that you call your boss either on the Home screen or when you swipe down to search and access the Siri Suggestions options.


In Messages and Mail, Siri can suggest things like phone numbers or addresses based on what you've typed, and in Safari, Siri can offer up search suggestions. Siri can do other things like suggest ‌HomeKit‌ scenes to activate, suggest a time to leave when you have an event scheduled, suggest events to add to your calendar from your email, and more.

Siri suggestions are all based on your personal device usage habits, so what you see will vary.

There's also a feature in iOS called "Siri Shortcuts," which are shortcuts and automations that let you complete multi-step tasks on your ‌iPhone‌. Siri Shortcuts are so named because Siri will suggest them to you and because you can activate Shortcuts with a Siri trigger word.

Siri Videos

We've done several videos highlighting different Siri features, and our most recent can be found below.


Siri Privacy

Siri does send data back to Apple, but searches and requests are not associated with your identity to keep your personal information safe.

Apple does not sell your data to advertisers or other organizations, and end-to-end encryption is used for all data syncing between your devices and the cloud.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Siri, know a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Related Articles

Spotify Now Supports Siri on Apple Watch

Thursday April 2, 2020 6:21 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Spotify now supports Siri voice commands on any Apple Watch running watchOS 6, as spotted by 9to5Mac. With the latest version of the app, rolling out on the App Store, Apple Watch users can say "Hey Siri, play music on Spotify" or any other voice command with "on Spotify" to control Spotify playback without opening the app directly. Spotify gained Siri support on iPhones and iPads as of iOS ...

Siri Now Provides Coronavirus Advice From CDC and U.S. Public Health Service

Saturday March 21, 2020 6:26 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
iPhone users who ask Siri about COVID-19 can now complete a questionnaire about their symptoms and potential exposure to the virus to better understand their health situation, as noted by CNBC. Apple says the answers are sourced from the CDC and U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Apple today also shared a COVID-19-related PSA from the...

Bluetooth-Based Occupancy Sensor RoomMe Now Supports Siri Shortcuts

Monday February 10, 2020 11:27 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Intellithings today announced that its Bluetooth-based smart home occupancy sensor RoomMe now supports Siri Shortcuts. RoomMe, successfully funded on Indiegogo in 2017, leverages the unique Bluetooth signature of a person's smartphone or smartwatch to identify who that person is and which room they are in, and automatically adjust settings such as temperature, lighting, music, and more to...

Apple Plans to Allow Siri to Default to Frequently-Used Third-Party Messaging Apps Later This Year

Wednesday October 2, 2019 4:39 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to release a software update later this year that will make Siri more flexible with third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger, the company told Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Specifically, the update will enable Siri to default to the messaging app that a person uses most frequently to communicate with a given contact. For example, if an iPhone user almost ...

Spotify Testing Siri Support on iOS 13

Friday September 27, 2019 6:01 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Spotify has added Siri support to the latest beta version of its iOS app, allowing users to ask Siri to play songs, albums, and playlists in Spotify on an iPhone running iOS 13 or later, as noted by The Verge's Tom Warren. Apple opened up its SiriKit framework to third-party music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio apps in iOS 13 and iPadOS, enabling users to use Siri to control audio playback ...

Apple Working on Siri Feature Allowing Back-and-Forth Conversations About Health Problems

Friday September 6, 2019 6:17 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple is working on a new Siri feature for release by iOS 15 in fall 2021 that will allow users to have a back-and-forth conversation about health problems, according to internal documentation obtained by The Guardian. The report does not offer any further details about the feature, but Siri will presumably become more capable of responding to physical and possibly mental health questions....

Apple Will Continue to Review Computer-Generated Siri Transcripts Regardless of Opt-In Status

Wednesday August 28, 2019 10:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has published a new support document with several questions and answers about its Siri quality evaluation process, also known as grading, to address any privacy concerns that customers may have. As a refresher, it was recently discovered that Apple hired contractors to listen to a small percentage of anonymized Siri recordings — and review their corresponding computer-generated...

Apple Apologizes Over Siri Privacy Concerns, Will Resume Grading Program in Fall With Several Changes

Wednesday August 28, 2019 8:05 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced that it will resume its Siri quality evaluation process in the fall with several privacy-focused changes. Going forward, Apple will only gather audio samples from users who opt in to the grading program, and those who participate will be able to opt out at any time. And when a customer does opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to the audio samples, and ...

Apple Contractors Listened to 1,000+ Siri Recordings Per Shift

Friday August 23, 2019 2:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has suspended the grading program that used contractors to listen to Siri recordings for quality control purposes, but in a new report, The Irish Examiner (via The Verge) gives some additional insight into how it worked. According to one of the contractors who worked on Siri grading in Cork, Ireland, employees were expected to listen to more than 1,000 Siri recordings per shift. Most...

Former Siri Chief Bill Stasior Joins Microsoft to Lead AI Team

Tuesday August 20, 2019 4:14 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Bill Stasior, Apple's former head of Siri development, has joined Microsoft as corporate VP of technology, reports The Information. Starting this month, Stasior will lead an artificial intelligence group at Microsoft and will be reporting to Microsoft's chief technology officer, Kevin Scott. A Ph.D. graduate in computer science from MIT, Stasior was head of Apple's Siri team for seven...

Siri Answers 83% of Questions Correctly in Test, Beating Alexa But Trailing Google Assistant

Thursday August 15, 2019 12:05 pm PDT by Juli Clover
In an annual test comparing Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa on smartphones, Loup Ventures' Gene Munster found that Siri was able to correctly answer 83 percent of questions, beating Alexa but trailing behind Google Assistant. Munster asked each digital assistant 800 questions during the test to compare how each one responded. Alexa answered 79.8 percent of questions correctly, while Google...

Apple Facing Lawsuit for 'Unlawful and Intentional' Recording of Confidential Siri Requests Without User Consent

Wednesday August 7, 2019 2:15 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is facing a class action lawsuit [PDF] for employing contractors to listen to and grade some anonymized Siri conversations for the purpose of quality control and product improvement. Apple's Siri practices were highlighted in a recent report where one of the contractors claimed that Apple employees evaluating Siri recordings often hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and...

Apple Suspends Program That Lets Employees Listen to Siri Recordings for Quality Control, Opt Out Option Coming

Thursday August 1, 2019 10:56 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is suspending a Siri program that allows employees to listen to Siri recordings for quality control purposes, reports TechCrunch. Apple is going to review the process that's currently used, where workers listen to anonymized Siri recordings to determine whether Siri is hearing questions correctly or being activated accidentally. Apple in the future also plans to release a software...

Contractors Working on Siri 'Regularly' Hear Recordings of Drug Deals, Private Medical Info and More Claims Apple Employee

Friday July 26, 2019 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Contractors that are working on Siri regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, recordings of couples having sex, and other private information, according to a report from The Guardian that shares details collected from a contractor who works on one of Apple's Siri teams. The employee who shared the info is one of many contractors around the world that listen to Siri voice...

Spotify and Other Music and Podcasts Apps Can Choose to Support Siri in iOS 13

Wednesday June 5, 2019 6:53 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Hey Siri, play Old Town Road on Spotify. Ask that now and Siri will tell you that it cannot play songs from Spotify, but that could change soon. Apple is opening up its SiriKit framework to third-party music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio apps in iOS 13 and iPadOS, enabling users to use Siri to control audio playback in supported apps. Mockup of Siri support for Spotify It will be up to...

WWDC 2019: Siri Expected to Become More Useful With Third-Party Apps on iOS 13 and More

Monday April 22, 2019 8:26 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
iOS 13 will enable developers to integrate Siri into their apps for several new use cases, including media playback, search, voice calling, event ticketing, message attachments, flights, train trips, and airport gate and seat information, according to 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo. In a report today, Rambo detailed several other developer-focused features that he expects Apple to announce at...

Apple Purchases Machine Learning Startup Laserlike

Wednesday March 13, 2019 12:32 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last year acquired Laserlike, a machine learning startup located in Silicon Valley, reports The Information. Apple's purchase of the four-year-old company was confirmed by an Apple spokesperson with a standard acquisition statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Laserlike's website says that its core...

Apple Seeking Analyst to Monitor Siri Complaints Trending on Social Media

Monday March 4, 2019 7:57 am PST by Joe Rossignol
If you have ever complained about Siri on Twitter or likewise, your feedback could actually make its way to Apple executives. Screenshot via /r/SiriFail A recent Apple job listing seeks an engineering program manager to "monitor what the world is saying about Siri through social media, news, and other sources." This will include detecting "Siri issues that are going viral or otherwise...

Siri Shortcuts Expands to American Airlines, Caviar, and Other Apps, Coming Soon to Airbnb

Thursday February 28, 2019 5:27 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple today announced that American Airlines, Dexcom, Caviar, Merriam Webster, and Spectre have added Siri Shortcuts support to their apps this week. Airbnb, Drop, ReSound, and Smarter also plan to add Siri Shortcuts integration to their apps over the next few months. Apple provided us with a summary of how Siri Shortcuts works in each app:American Airlines: Get updates on all your flight...

Epson Printers Gain Siri Shortcuts Support for Voice-Activated Printing

Tuesday February 19, 2019 5:29 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Printer company Epson today announced the launch of voice-activated mobile printing support for Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. With the addition, iOS users can snap a photo and ask Siri to print to a compatible Epson printer thanks to Siri Shortcuts. You'll need the Epson iPrint app, which now supports Apple's new Shortcuts app on iOS. After the shortcut is installed, you can set...