Siri is perhaps the cleverest, and potentially the most useful, app on your iPhone. Yet many still rarely use it. Whether that’s because we feel self-conscious about talking to an inanimate object, or because we assume it won’t understand what we say isn’t clear. What is clear is that Siri has a great deal more to offer than most of us realize. Here are a few tips to get the most from Apple’s personal assistant.

1. Activate Hey Siri

‘Hey Siri’ was a new feature that arrived alongside iOS 8 that allows you to activate Siri without using your hands. When your iPhone is plugged into a power outlet, all you have to do is say ‘Hey Siri’ and it will activate. To switch the feature on, go to Settings > General and then tap Siri, then set the ‘Allow “Hey Siri”‘ switch to on.

Activate 'Hey Siri' in the Settings app.

Activate ‘Hey Siri’ in the Settings app

2. Ask Siri to take a Selfie

Siri can also help you get in on the selfie craze. With Siri active, say ‘Take a selfie’ and Siri will launch the Camera app. Sadly it doesn’t switch on the front camera, it leaves whichever camera you last used as the active one, so you might have to tap the screen to change it.

3. You can launch other apps too

Siri can launch any app on your iPhone – handy if you can’t remember which folder in which you stashed that app that you once decided would definitely be useful at some point. Just say ‘Launch x’ where ‘x’ is the name of the app you want to launch.

4. Find out who’s saying what on Twitter

Want to find out what friends or celebrities have said on Twitter recently? Siri can help. Just say ‘what has @x been saying’ where x is the Twitter handle of the person whose tweets you want to see. Siri will then display their most recent tweets. For some very well-known users, Siri is smart enough to link their real name and their Twitter handle, so instead of saying ‘@x’ you can just say their real name.

This is what happens when you ask 'What is Barack Obama saying?'

This is what happens when you ask ‘What is Barack Obama saying?’

5. Get directions to anywhere

You’re in the car, you’ve plugged in your iPhone, you’re about to set off, and you realize you don’t know where you’re going. What do you do? Ask Siri, of course! Say ‘Hey, Siri how do I get to x’ or ‘Hey, Siri get directions to x’ where ‘x’ is your destination. Siri will launch Apple Maps, find your destination and start turn-by-turn directions complete with audible instructions, without any further intervention.

6. Convert measurements

How many times have you followed a recipe on your iPhone or iPad and got to a point which calls for ingredients in UK measurements and had to wash your hands so you could tap in a conversion request on your device? No more. Just activate Siri and say ‘How many x are in y’ where ‘x’ and ‘y’ are the units you want to convert between.

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7. Calculate the tip

If your mental arithmetic isn’t up to scratch, or it’s late and you’re tired, you can get Siri to calculate the tip on that restaurant bill. Just say ‘How much is a 15% (or whatever tip you want to give) tip on a £53.26 (or however much the bill comes to) bill.’ Siri will calculate the figure and tell you the answer. Be careful to word it exactly, though. If, for example, you say ‘on top of’ rather than just ‘on,’ Siri won’t understand and will search the Internet instead.

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8. Get the sports results

This works for a number of US sports, but outside the US is limited. In the UK, for example, on EPL results are given for soccer. Try it by, for example, asking Siri ‘What was the Boston Red Sox result?’ Siri will go away, find the information, and deliver the result of the most recent Red Sox result. For a more general overview, you could ask ‘what were the MLB score today?’

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9. Use Siri with Apple Watch

Siri really comes into its own when your options for interacting a with a device are limited – when you’re driving a car, for example. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the Apple Watch, which has no keyboard. To use Siri with an Apple watch, raise your wrist to activate Glances and say ‘Hey, Siri.’ Wait for a multi-coloured wave to appear on screen. That signifies that Siri is listening and you can issue an instruction. Try a command that’s unique to the Watch, like ‘How many steps have I taken today’ or ‘How many calories have I burned.’? If ‘Hey, Siri’ doesn’t work, you can activate it with a long press on the Digital Crown.

You can use Siri on Apple Watch too.

You can use Siri on Apple Watch too.

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