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Complete guide to Siri: Updates in iOS 8.3 & how to use Siri features on iPad/iPhone

David Price | April 24, 2015
Our complete guide to Siri explains how to use Siri, details all the Siri features and commands (including the new questions introduced in iOS 8.3) and helps you get more out of Siri on your iPhone or iPad.

Simply speak your request into the iPad or iPhone. When you've finished speaking, the white line turns into a round microphone icon and Siri will get back to you with an answer. Sometimes it takes Siri a few moments to think about the answer, but it's a lot faster than it used to be, particularly now that iOS 8.3 has arrived.

You can also manually control how long Siri listens to you for, rather than waiting for it to detect that you've stopped speaking. To do this, hold down the Home button while you say your command or ask a question, and release it when you've finished.

In the UK, the male Siri voice was updated in iOS 7.1 to sound less robotic and more natural, and a new female voice option was added. You can switch Siri's gender to female by going to Settings > General > Siri and tapping Voice Gender.

You can ask Siri all sorts of things, and the more you use Siri the more accurate it becomes. You soon become aware of just how useful it can be, and what its boundaries are. It knows a lot about weather, restaurants, films and football, for example, but nothing about Formula One.

It is also hooked up to the Maps application, so it can locate businesses, movie times, restaurants and bars near you. One of the great things about Siri is asking it to find things in your local area.

There are a few scenarios in which Siri truly excels. The first of those is when you're in a hands-free situation, mostly likely when driving a car. (The iPad knows when you're going hands-free and becomes chattier, reading text aloud that it might not if it knows you're holding it in your hand.) Siri is also deeply integrated with the directions feature in Maps, and the iPad works as a fantastic (if slightly oversized) voice-activated satnav.

When you get a message, you can instruct Siri to read the message, and it will. You can then tell it to reply to the message, dictate the entire message, have Siri read it back to you to confirm that it makes sense, and then send it. You can also ask Siri to read out your Mail messages and it'll let you know who sent you a message and what the subject line is.

In the rest of this feature we'll list all the commands and features you can activate using Siri, but Siri itself will offer some tips in this regard. Start Siri going by holding the Home button, then wait without asking any questions: Siri will start cycling through pages of suggested commands.

 

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