Since macOS Sierra, Apple has included its well-known personal assistant, Siri, for the Mac. Siri for Mac differs from iOS' version of Siri in several ways, taking advantage of the larger real estate of a Mac's display and the Finder file system. Users can also easily transfer or pin Siri's search results to the Notification Center or documents they're working on. To help you get started with Siri for Mac, we've put together a guide outlining what it's capable of.

Activating Siri

macsiri1
There are four ways to activate Siri in macOS. Two of the methods are visually obvious while the third is not. The availability of the fourth handsfree method depends on the model of Mac.

  • The Dock icon sitting in between the Finder and Launchpad logos.
  • The Menu Bar toggle in between the Spotlight search and Notification Center icons.
  • The keyboard command. Hold the Command and Space buttons for approximately two seconds.
  • Saying simply "Hey Siri" handsfree to invoke the assistant.

Siri can be enabled two ways. While you're installing macOS, there'll be a prompt asking you whether you'd like to enable Siri. Additionally, Siri can be enabled and disabled in the Siri section of System Preferences. There are several other options for Siri in System Preferences, including language, voice, voice feedback, mic input and customized keyboard shortcuts.

What Siri for Mac Can Do

macsiri2
Siri for Mac can do most of the same things Siri for iOS can do. It can give you sports scores or tell you about the weather. Schedule an event on your calendar, remind you what you need to get done today or find movie times. Here's a full list of the things that carry over to the Mac.

  • Launching and searching for apps.
  • FaceTime and Messages
  • Sports scores, team schedules, league standings, and player and team information.
  • Photo search.
  • Maps and navigation.
  • Twitter and Facebook posting, plus Twitter search.
  • Movie information, showtimes, movie theater locations, movie reviews and award trivia.
  • Apple Music, radio and music identification.
  • iTunes, iBooks and Podcasts.
  • Reminders, calendar stocks, weather, contacts, clock, Find My Friends, email and notes.
  • Web search and Q&A, like unit measurements, facts and figures, and simple math.
  • Settings / System Preferences

Siri has two new abilities that are built specifically to take advantage of the Mac:

  • Finder
  • About this Mac

Siri's Mac-Specific Abilities

Unlike Siri for iOS, Siri for Mac's dialogue box only takes up a portion of the screen. This allowed Apple to build Siri to be better utilized for multitasking. For example, Siri can be used to send a message to a friend while you're writing an email or working on a document. It can also find restaurant reservations for you while you're in the middle of a conversation with a friend.

Because Siri is built for multitasking on a Mac, some of its results are more interactive, allowing you to combine them with other apps. These are some of the things you can do with Siri's results in macOS Sierra.

HowtoSiri

  • Pin photo results or sports team schedules to the Notification Center by clicking the + icon.
  • Drag files from Siri's Finder search to the desktop.
  • Drag and drop search results from photo searches into emails, messages, documents and the desktop.
  • Drag and drop map locations into emails, messages and documents.

Siri's Settings category is referred to as System Preferences to better match macOS' verbiage, but Siri can also do some things on a Mac that it can't do on an iPhone. These are new settings abilities Siri has gained:

  • Putting your computer to sleep.
  • Changing your desktop wallpaper.
  • Changing your display settings.

Finally, there are some specific hardware requests that Siri can fulfill. In addition to asking Siri to turn up your volume or turn off your Bluetooth, Siri can tell you about your Mac.

macsiri7

  • How fast your Mac is.
  • How much memory your Mac has.
  • What your Mac's serial number is.
  • How much free space your Mac's hard drive has.
  • How much iCloud storage you have.
  • What version of macOS you're running.

All of Siri's Mac abilities can be used at any time. Siri will pause any audio or video you might have been playing when you activated it. This includes audio and video in your web browser, like SoundCloud tracks or YouTube videos.

Siri's dialogue box will also stay on your screen no matter where you are, whether on the desktop or in a full-screen app. It'll also stay in place as you navigate to different spaces. Siri can be deactivated by clicking the small "x" in the top right corner of its dialogue box.

Related Forum: macOS Sierra

Top Rated Comments

SandboxGeneral Avatar
65 months ago
I don't understand why we can't just speak to the Mac for Siri to be activated. We can do this with Windows 10 by saying "Hey Cortanta" and not pressing any buttons or clicking anything.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tardegrade Avatar
65 months ago
I'm impressed with the OS update but honestly Siri is just as hopeless on my Mac as it is on my iPhone. I gets roughly a third of requests right and then rarely interprets those requests correctly.

I've got a Moto G Android phone as well and comparing Siri to OK Google, which gets almost everything right first time and actually provides the desired results as well, is just a night and day difference.

It's shocking how far behind Apple are in this respect. Must try harder.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tywebb13 Avatar
65 months ago
I don't understand why we can't just speak to the Mac for Siri to be activated. We can do this with Windows 10 by saying "Hey Cortanta" and not pressing any buttons or clicking anything.
YOU CAN!

I posted instructions a long time ago: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/how-to-enable-hey-siri-activation-on-a-mac-with-sierra.1983003/
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FilipeTeixeira Avatar
65 months ago
Makes sense. Pressing a button to activate a voice activated assistant.
BTW what's the emoji for sarcasm?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
enthusiastic Avatar
65 months ago
Needs keyboard input imo. You can't talk to Siri on a Mac always.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Templar Avatar
65 months ago
I played around with Siri last night. For some reason I cannot get her to launch applications. I have tried saying both "open" and "launch" with the name of the application, but every time she says "cannot find an application with that name, do you wish to search for it in the app store?" this is true for all apps, Apple's and third party apps. Has anyone else experienced this?

Article Link: How to Use Siri in macOS Sierra ('https://www.macrumors.com/how-to/macos-siri/')
I have the same problem, she tells me I don't have the app of that name and I should search the App Store! Other than set appointments and uselessly read out the Nikkei performance she seems incapable of anything useful. She won't search anything, can't find a file and is basically useless - she cannot interpret as well as the iPhone and won't place a FaceTime call, because I don't have the app according to her! Flawed is an understatement - useless is more like it.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
ulysses Blog Publishing

Ulysses 22 Brings New Blogging Options and Visual Customizations

Monday March 22, 2021 5:24 am PDT by
Popular writing app Ulysses today received its 22nd major release, introducing new publishing features and additional options for users to customize the visual appearance of their writing environment. As well as providing a focused writing environment, Ulysses offers ways to publish texts from within the app to various blogging platforms. Version 22 adds the ability to publish to Micro.blog, ...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...