How to Use Siri on a Mac

In addition to common requests like checking the weather, setting reminders, or monitoring stock prices, Siri on macOS allows you to trigger system commands, such as increasing volume, opening applications, dictating, and using Siri Knowledge.

In this article, we show you the following:

  1. How to enable Siri on a Mac.
  2. How to talk to Siri on a Mac
  3. How to use Type to Siri on a Mac.

How to enable Siri on a Mac

If you decided not to enable Siri when setting up your Mac, you’ll need to visit System Settings to switch it on before you do anything else.

Click on Siri & Spotlight in System Settings to view the Siri configuration pane. The screenshot below may differ depending on your version of macOS.

Siri preferences in Settings
Siri preferences in Settings

Firstly, ensure Ask Siri is toggled on, a this unlocks additional options.

Turn on Listen for “Hey Siri” if you want Siri to wake up when you use the “Hey Siri” voice command. You’ll be asked to speak a few common phrases to help Siri recognize your voice.

Siri setup questions
Siri setup questions

Keyboard shortcut

Choose the keyboard shortcut you’d like to use to wake Siri up instead of saying “Hey Siri”. You can select from several predefined options or pick Customize to create your own.

Language and Siri voice

Pick from the dropdown list to choose your preferred language, and click on Select to pick the voice (sex and accent) Siri will use.

Siri responses

Choose whether you want to hear voice feedback when interacting with Siri. If you’re using Siri in public places without headphones, it’s advisable to turn this option off.

Turn off Voice Feedback if you don't want Siri yelling responses back at you
Turn off Voice Feedback if you don’t want Siri yelling responses back at you

How to talk to Siri on a Mac

There are three ways to talk to Siri on your Mac:

  1. Say “Hey Siri” – for this to work Listen for “Hey Siri” must be enabled in system settings as described above.
  2. Click on the Siri icon in the menu bar or Dock.
  3. Use a keyboard shortcut.

Say “Hey Siri”

On a Mac (2018 or later), say “Hey Siri”, then speak your request the same way as you would on other Apple devices.

Hey Siri, what’s the weather going to be like today?

Click on the Siri icon in the menu bar or Dock

Trigger Siri by clicking on the icon at the top right of the menu bar, next to the date and time, or in the Dock.

Use a keyboard shortcut

Use the shortcut you selected earlier to activate Siri, then say what you need.

Once Siri is activated, speak naturally and make your request.

Hey Siri, remind me to buy milk later.

Hey Siri, what’s on my calendar today?

Hey Siri, turn the volume up.

Siri can control settings on your Mac
Siri can control settings on your Mac

We’ve written a handy guide showing you the kind of things you can ask Siri.

How to enable ‘Type to Siri’ on your Mac

In recent macOS updates, Apple introduced several enhancements to Siri for desktops and laptops. One of these is Type to Siri, which allows you to trigger the virtual assistant by using your keyboard shortcut and typing in a query.

The feature needs to be enabled in macOS before use:

  • Open System Settings
  • Navigate to Accessibility > Siri.
  • Check Enable Type to Siri.
Enable 'Type to Siri'
Enable ‘Type to Siri’

If you haven’t already set up your keyboard shortcut, click the Siri Settings button and follow the instructions described earlier in this article.

When Type to Siri is enabled, activating Siri will trigger a text input window instead of prompting for spoken commands.

How to use Type to Siri on a Mac

  • Trigger Siri by using the keyboard shortcut, or clicking on the Siri icon.
  • Type your query into the pop-up window, and Siri will process your request.
Performing a calulation using 'Type to Siri'
Performing a calulation using ‘Type to Siri’

Disable Voice feedback

It’s worth noting that even though you are using your keyboard to communicate with Siri, results may be spoken back to you and displayed on the screen, depending on your settings.

So it’s prudent to turn your device volume down or disable voice feedback altogether in public places when you don’t want your results to be overheard.

Want to discover more about using Siri, Apple’s popular virtual assistant? We’ve written a helpful collection of tutorials full of techniques for using apps, dictation, using Siri Shortcuts, and a comprehensive beginner’s guide to activating and using Siri.