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Four ways to get things done with Siri

Lex Friedman | March 6, 2013
You can have a lot of fun with Siri, the artificially intelligent, voice recognition-based assistant built into newer iPhones and iPads. But fun though Siri may be, it turns out the little voice inside your iOS device can also help you become increasingly productive. From reminding you to perform a task, to sending meeting invitations, to keeping track of book recommendations--Siri proves to be surprisingly helpful for taking care of everyday things. Here's an assortment of tasks to get done with Siri.

Shared reminders: And if you want to create a shared list of reminders--say, so that you and your spouse can both check in on a grocery list or remember to get the kids from school--you can handle that with Siri, too.

Reminder overview: If you're on your lock screen (or anywhere else on your iOS device, for that matter) and want to check your reminders, just tell Siri, "Show me my reminders" to get the list. You can check off completed tasks from that view.

2. Take notes

You can save notes with Siri in a variety of ways. You might prefer "Note to self: My new great song idea is about gnomes." You can also say, "Make a note" or "Note that" to kick off a note.

The importance of titles: The best way to manage notes with Siri is to remember to give your notes meaningful titles--which really means, make the first line of your notes useful.

For example, I might say, "Make a note called Books to read." Siri tells me it's done, and then I say "Add The Road by Cormac McCarthy." I can keep going: "Add The Presidents Club, new line, The Last Testament, new line, and The Teleportation Accident."

Later on, even if you're not working with that note, you can tell Siri: "Add The Gift of Fear to my Books to read note." When it's time to pick out a new ebook to read, just say, "Show me my Books to read note," and you'll be all set.

3. Send iMessages and texts

First things first: "Text" is one syllable; "iMessage" is three. Save yourself some effort and always say "text" to Siri; it will still send an iMessage when possible.

Spouse-savvy texts: If you simply say "Text my wife," for example, Siri will create a new, blank text or iMessage as appropriate to the person you've specified is your spouse. (That's true, by the way, even if your spouse is your husband; Siri's modern worldview uses "husband" and "wife" interchangeably.) Siri will then ask you what you'd like the text to say.

Fewer words=less effort:  I prefer to skip a step: "Text my wife Let's get Chinese food for dinner." Siri understands the recipient and the message, and preps your text accordingly. (You used to have to say something like "Text my wife that I'm on my way home" or "Text my wife; say See you soon," but that's no longer necessary in iOS 6.)

Siri's also content to read your incoming iMessages to you.

4. Make appointments and manage your calendar

"Make an appointment for 2 p.m. on Thursday called Dentist."


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