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How to use Siri on macOS Sierra

Roman Loyola | June 29, 2016
A look at using the Apple's virtual assistant on the Mac.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

At Apple's Worldwide Developer's conference earlier this month, we learned that Siri would be the marquee feature in Apple's next operating system for the Mac-macOS Sierra. Yes, Siri: Apple's voice interface that was introduced nearly five years ago on the iPhone (and was a stand-alone iOS app before the company was acquired by Apple). If you use Siri often on your iOS device, then you'll find Siri on the Mac to be quite similar. But since the Mac experience involves file management, you'll notice that Siri can be a handy tool for finding, opening, and organizing files.

(Note: This article covers how Siri works using the developer preview of macOS Sierra, the next version of the Mac operating system. Since this is pre-release software, Apple could makes changes to Siri between now and when Sierra is officially released in the fall. If Apple makes any changes, this article will be updated appropriately.)

How to launch Siri

When you install macOS Sierra, the installer will ask if you want to enable Siri. If you don't want to enable Siri at installation, you can activate it later in the System Preferences.

When the Sierra installation is done, you'll find Siri icons in two locations: In the Dock, and in your menu bar. By default, Siri's Dock icon sits next to the Finder icon on the far left side. You can move the Siri icon in the Dock by dragging it.

Up in your menu bar, you'll see Siri next to the Notifications icon on the far right. I think it's the only color icon that Apple uses for its menu bar apps. (On my personal menu bar not pictured here, I have two third-party menu bar apps that use color icons.)

You can launch Siri by click on either of these icons. You can also set a keyboard shortcut in the Siri System Preferences. There's also an option to activate Siri by pressing the fn key andSpace at the same time. While using the Sierra preview, there isn't a way to set a Trackpad gesture to launch Siri.

One thing that I often do with my iPhone is that I inadvertently launch Siri. This mostly happens when I am pulling my iPhone out of my pocket-my finger grabs a hold of the Home button and Siri launches. Inadvertently launching Siri isn't as easy (for me) on the Mac, though I could see it happening with a mistyped keyboard combination. If it does happen, there's no way to deactivate Siri except by moving your cursor to and clicking on the "close window" button on screen.


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