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How to teach contact names and relationships to Siri and Google Now

Ben Patterson | Jan. 19, 2015
Picking up your phone and saying "Call my dad" or "Call Ted" (meaning Ted your boss, not that random Ted fellow you met five years ago) should work like magic.

For iOS

The easiest of several ways is this one:

  • Click and hold the Home button on your iPhone or iPad to launch Siri, then say "[name of contact] is my [husband, wife, boss]."
  • After thinking about it a moment, Siri will ask to confirm the relationship. Done and done.

Here's how to do the same thing using the iOS keypad:

  • Open the Contacts app, tap your own contact card, then tap the Edit button.
  • Scroll down to the "Add related name" field, tap it, select a relationship (like "spouse" or "manager"), then type a name, or tap the little "i" to choose a contact from the iOS address book.
  • Does Siri need help recognizing the names of your friends, colleagues and loved ones? Find one of their contact cards in the Contacts app, scroll down to the "add field" button, then tap it to add a phonetic name or a nickname.

If you use iCloud to store your contacts, you can edit your relationships, nicknames and phonetic name from a web browser.

  • Log into, click the Contacts icon. Search for a contact card, then click the Edit button.
  • Click the Add Field button to add a phonetic first or last name, a nickname, or a "related" person.

Finally, Mac users can use the Mac's Contact app to add nicknames and relationships in pretty much the same way — assuming you're using iCloud to sync your contacts on your Mac, of course.

  • Launch the Contacts app on your Mac, open a contact and click the Edit button.
  • Click the little + button in the bottom corner of the contact card, select More Fields, then pick Phonetic First/Last Name, Related Name, or Nickname.


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