Activate Siri on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, HomePod and HomePod Mini

When turning on a new Apple device, you’ll be asked to activate and configure Siri as part of the setup process. So if you did that, skip to our guide on how to use Siri.

If you passed on that initial setup, or are looking to re-enable Siri on an existing device, read on.

Activate Siri on an iPhone or iPad

Get yourself up and running quickly, use the guide below to activate Siri on your iPhone and iPad.

Once this setup process is complete, you’ll be able to trigger Siri with the voice command “Hey Siri”, and without the need to press the side (or home on older iPhone models) button.

If you restored your apps and data from an iTunes backup or iCloud when setting up your device, you may have found that Siri was turned off when the process finished. If so, you’ll also need to follow these instructions.

Siri Requirements:

  • iPhone 4s or later.
  • An Internet connection (wireless or 4G upwards is best).

Setting up Siri on iOS:

  • Navigate to Settings > Siri & Search.
  • Toggle on Press Side Button for Siri.
  • Choose your language, your voice feedback preferences and select your contact details in My Information. This is so that Siri knows who you are and can begin creating ‘relationships’ such as ‘wife’ or ‘brother’ with other contacts in your address book.
  • Switch on Listen for “Hey Siri” if you wish to activate Siri using your voice, without pressing the side/home button. This means you can ask questions, set alarms, send emails, call friends – in fact pretty much everything Siri can do – just by saying the phrase “Hey Siri” when your device is within listening distance.
Hey Siri
  • Your device will now take you through a short sequence of requests, where it asks you to repeat “Hey Siri” several times and then a couple of short phrases.
  • Toggle on all of the Siri Suggestions options. These options allow Siri to make suggestions in apps or when you use Search, Look Up or Keyboard.

Secure Siri

Apple promise to keep your data safe when using Siri.

Siri is designed to do as much learning as possible offline, directly on your device. Searches and requests are not associated with your identity — so your personal information isn’t gathered to sell to advertisers or other organizations. And end‑to‑end encryption ensures that data synced between your devices can’t be accessed, even by Apple.

Apple Website

But when it comes to access to Siri on your device, it’s your personal choice on how secure you want your iPhone or iPad to be.

Some people like to use a passcode to prevent access to Siri on their device. Others prefer the convenience of being able to quickly access their email and apps without taking any extra steps.

Use your Passcode to Secure Siri

Surprisingly, in its default state Siri will override your passcode.

This means that a stranger could pick up your device – or use the ‘Hey Siri’ command – and make phone calls, send texts, send e-mails, and access other personal information without having to enter the security code first.

However, you can prevent Siri from overriding the passcode:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Touch ID and Passcode.
  2. Scroll down to Allow Access When Locked.
  3. Switch Allow Access When Locked for Siri to the OFF position.
  4. Exit the Settings menu.
Secure Siri

There have been reports of people being able to ask Siri to display information on other people’s iPhones. Thankfully, most of the occurrences have been for good reasons, such as returning a lost handset. Over time Siri is getting more intelligent at recognising your voice and not reacting to strange voices.

Activate Siri on a Mac

If you initially declined to activate Siri on your Mac, you’ll need first to visit System Preferences to activate the service.

Click on the Siri icon in System Preferences, to be presented with several options. (The screenshot below may differ depending on your version of macOS).

Mac Siri Settings

You can choose your language, the voice Siri will use and whether to offer audio feedback.

If you’re likely to be using Siri in public places without using headphones, it’s advisable to turn this option off.

Then choose a keyboard shortcut used to wake Siri up. You can select from predefined options or opt for Customise.. to create your own.

Finally, you can check the box to Show Siri in menu bar. A small icon will appear at the top right of your screen; clicking on it will activate Siri as an alternative to using a keyboard shortcut.

Activate Siri on an Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini

Siri is enabled by default on the Apple HomePod and HomePod Mini, but extra steps are required to allow access to personalized features, such as:

  • Reminders
  • Messages
  • Notes

Apple calls these Personal Requests.

Your HomePod must be logged in using your AppleID, set as the primary share location, and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your other iOS devices.

The next step is to enable Personal Requests on your iOS device:

  • Connect your iOS device to the same Wi-Fi network as HomePod.
  • Confirm that you’re signed in with the Apple ID used to set up HomePod (in Settings > Name).
  • Tap iCloud > Share My Location, then turn on Share My Location. Tap From and choose This Device.
  • Go to Settings > Siri & Search and enable Listen for “Hey Siri” or Press Home for Siri.
  • Open the Home app on your iOS device, press and hold HomePod.
  • Tap Details, and enable Listen for “Hey Siri” and Touch and Hold for Siri.
  • Open the Home app on your iOS device, tap the round red arrow at the top left of the screen, tap your name under People, and turn on Personal Requests.

You will now be able to use the features using the “Hey Siri” voice command, or by pressing the top of the HomePod.

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