Siri Command List

Siri Command List

When Apple released the iPhone 4S, the world was also introduced to Siri, the voice activated personal assistant. Whilst voice recognition is not a new concept, the way that Siri works is different to software previously seen. You are not required to phrase commands in a specific way, or remember keywords – instead, you speak normally and Siri will ask for more information if needed.

There are a huge range of tasks that Siri can help with, and although it is still in beta (as of January 2012) Siri could change how we use our mobile devices forever.

Whilst we are all used to speaking to other people on the phone, having a conversation with your phone can be an alien concept. The attitude that a lot of people have is “why use Siri when you can simply type in the information / query etc yourself?”. Hopefully this guide will inspire and encourage a change in the way you use your iPhone 4S.

Meet Siri

You can access Siri in one of two ways: either press and hold the home button, or hold the phone next to you ear. Depending on your settings (Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Siri on/off), you may need to unlock your phone first. You will see a purple microphone icon and hear two beeps to indicate that Siri is listening to you.

Siri can provide information and examples of the kinds of tasks it can help you with. You can access this information either by simply asking Siri “what can you do?”, or by pressing the little ‘i’ icon next to the mic icon to bring up a list:


By clicking on one of the entries, you can bring up suggestions of things you can ask Siri. For example:


This article will start with a recap of the built in apps which Siri works with, and then move on to a more detailed look at the types of task Siri can help you with.

Apps Siri works with:

Alarms, World Clock and Timer
Find my Friends
Wolfram Alpha (you do not need to purchase the app)
Wikipedia Search

When speaking to Siri, you don’t need to specify which app you would like used; Siri is clever enough to figure it out.

Siri can also interact with social media apps, such as Twitter and Facebook (more about this later).

Phone commands and contacts

You can ask Siri to call anyone in your list of contacts.

e.g. “Call John Smith”

If there are two or more phone numbers for that person, then Siri will ask you to clarify which number you would like to use (for example, home or mobile). If you already know that you want to call someone on their mobile, you can just cut to the chase.

e.g. “Phone John Smith mobile”

If you have entered a home and / or work phone number in your own contact information, then “Call home” or “Call work” will dial it for you.

If you want to call someone who is not in your contact list, Siri will dial the number you read out.

You can add more detail to your contacts by entering their relationship to you. This can be quite time consuming to do on screen, but Siri actually makes it quite easy.

e.g. “Johnny Depp is my husband”
“Jack Jones is my brother”

However, from our tests it does not seem possible to use Siri to update the relationship between other contacts.

You can use Siri to update other contact details, such as phone numbers and birthdays.

Once you have updated your relationships within your contacts, you do not need to specify their name to Siri. For example, “Phone my husband” will call Johnny Depp.

You can also contact other iPhone / iPad users using FaceTime:

e.g. “FaceTime my brother”
“FaceTime Jane Jones”

If you simply want to bring up contact information, just say their name and Siri will bring up the details. You can say “Show me Jane Jones’ contact details” if you want, but it will result in the same information.

Siri can give you specific information about a contact - you just need to ask.

e.g. “When is Jane’s birthday?”

However, general questions do not seem to work. For example, Siri does not understand if you ask “who has a birthday in August?” or “are there any upcoming birthdays this week?”

Email and messages

Siri can read out any new text messages you have received, but it cannot read out emails.

e.g. “Read my new text messages”

Once a text has been read, Siri gives you the option to reply to it.

You can also ask Siri to send new emails and text messages for you:

e.g. “Send a message to my husband”
“Tell my brother that we need to meet for lunch soon”
“Email James Smith”
“New email to Jack and Jane about the holiday”
“Email my brother to say thank you for lending me the book”
“Find all email from James”

Note that if you do want the Siri voice to read out emails (or any other text for that matter) you can use VoiceOver – Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver.

Here seems to be a good point to talk about dictation. Siri will automatically include punctuation to make certain words grammatically correct. For example, the apostrophe will automatically be included if you say “Let’s meet for lunch”, and if you say “one pound fifty” Siri will write “£1.50”. However, you may need to state other punctuation and typography explicitly. Here is a list of things you can say:

Open bracket (
Close bracket )
Open square bracket [
Close square bracket ]
Open Brace {
Close brace }
Colon :
Comma ,
Exclamation mark !
Full stop .
Question mark ?
Semicolon ;
Slash / forward slash /
Back slash \


Ampersand &
At sign @
Asterisk *
Copyright sign ©
Dollar sign $
Euro sign
Greater than sign >
Less than sign <
Number sign #
Percent sign %
Pound sterling sign £
Registered sign ®
Tilde ~
Underscore _
Smiley face :)
Frowny face :-(
Winky face ;-)

Other useful dictation commands:
All caps - Makes the next word capitalised
All caps on… all caps off - Makes the words in between all capitalised
No caps - Makes all letters in the next word lower case
No caps on… no caps off - Makes all words in between all lower case
Space bar - Forces a space when there otherwise wouldn’t be one
New line - Moves the cursor on to a new line (like pressing the return button on a keyboard)
New paragraph - Starts a new paragraph

The above commands can also be used when dictating to your iPhone (by pressing the little microphone icon on the keyboard).

As mentioned previously, Siri interacts with social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter… to an extent. Although Twitter is fairly well integrated into the iOS 5 software, you cannot connect directly using Siri. If you ask Siri to make a Tweet for you, Siri will politely decline. The way to do it is to send updates by text. You can set up both Twitter and Facebook as contacts in your address book, and texts sent to the relevant number will appear as Tweets or status updates.

You can find the relevant numbers here:

Twitter -

Facebook -

Calendar, Reminders and Notes

You can use Siri to add new events to your calendar, and also to change or cancel existing events. If you want information about the events in your calendar you can just ask Siri for the details you’re after.

e.g. “Schedule a meeting with James at 2pm tomorrow”
“Move my 2pm meeting with James to 3pm”
“Cancel lunch with Susan”
“How is my calendar looking for tomorrow?”
“Where is my next meeting?”
“When am I meeting James?”
“Add Susan to my meeting with James”

Reminders are also a useful feature, and are quick to set up using Siri. You can also create location based reminders, which alert you when you get to (or leave) a specific destination.

e.g. “Remind me to call Susan tomorrow at 11am”
“Remind me to buy milk when I leave here”
“Remind me to email James about the book on Saturday”
“Remind me to feed the neighbour’s cat when I get home”

Siri will also record new notes for you.

e.g. “Create a note”
“Note that I need to buy milk, bread and cheese”
“Find my reading list note”

Unfortunately Siri cannot edit notes or delete them.

Clock, alarm and timer

You can ask Siri to set up or change existing alarms, and Siri will also give you world clock information. Here are some examples of the features:

e.g. “What time is it?”
“What time is it in New York?”
“Set an alarm for tomorrow at 7am”
“Wake me up in 8 hours”
“Delete the alarm for tomorrow morning”
“Delete all alarms”

Siri cannot edit existing alarms or set repeating alarms, but once you have set one up you can manually add a repeat if you want.

You can also use Siri to start a timer for a specific period of time, during which you can use “pause” and “resume” commands if needed.


There are a range of functions available if you want to listen to some music. You can ask Siri to play a specific song, album or playlist for you, or all music by a specific artist or genre.

e.g. “Play Wasting Light”
“Play all Foo Fighters, shuffled”
“Play classical music”
“Shuffle my party playlist”
“Next track / song”
“Previous track / song”
“What song / artist is this?”

If you have enabled Genius through iTunes, you can ask Siri things like “Play more songs like this” or “Genius this track”.


By this point you have hopefully discovered that you can phrase questions in a variety of ways to Siri – asking about the weather is a good example of that.

e.g. “What’s the weather like this weekend?”
“Will I need my umbrella tomorrow?”
“Will I need a scarf and gloves tomorrow?”
“How’s the weather looking in London this week?”
“What time did the sun rise today?”


Siri will check out stock prices for you using the built in Stocks app. You can ask about how the share price for specific companies is doing, or you can ask more general questions about the markets.

e.g. “What is Google’s share price?”
“How does Google’s P/E ratio compare with Microsoft?”
“What is the FTSE100 today?”
“How are the markets doing?”

Find My Friends

If any of your contacts have enabled ‘Find my friends’ you can ask Siri where they are.

e.g. “Who is near me?”
“Where is Johnny?”
“Is my husband at home?”

Searching for information

We all know how useful it is to have the internet at your finger-tips. How great is it when you can bring out your phone to prove that you are right? Well now Siri can help too. Ask any question you like, and Siri will try and find the answer using the resources available. By default, Siri will use Google for all internet searches. If you want to use a different search engine, you have to specify that in your question. Note that you do not need to download the Wolfram Alpha app for Siri to be able to use it as an online resource.

e.g. “Search the web for Cheshire Cheese”
“Look up Bill Gates on Wikipedia”
“How many planets are there in the solar system?”
“Bing MC Hammer”

Funny questions

One of the most entertaining uses for Siri is asking it funny questions. Here are a selection to get you started!

“I love you”
“Close the pod bay doors”
“What’s the best phone?”
“Talk dirty to me”
“What is the meaning of life?”
“Beam me up”
“Where can I hide a body?”
“What is your favourite colour?”
“What do you look like?”
“Knock knock…”
“Sing me a song”
“What’s the speed of an unladen swallow?”
“What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?”

So there you have it! Have a go and enjoy seeing what Siri can do.


Becky Cunningham
First release
Last update

More resources from Becky