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.

How to activate Siri on a Mac

If you decided not to activate Siri when setting up your Mac, you’ll need to visit System Preferences to enable its features before you do anything else.

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

Siri system preferences

Firstly, ensure Enable Ask Siri is checked. This will unlock all of the additional options.

Also, check Listen for “Hey Siri” if you want Siri to wake up when you use the “Hey Siri” voice command.

Choose your preferred language, the voice (both sex and accent) Siri will use, and whether you want voice feedback with responses. If you’re likely to be using Siri in public places without using headphones, it’s advisable to turn this option off.

Next, choose the keyboard shortcut you’d like to use to wake Siri up. You can select from several 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.

How to talk to Siri on your Mac

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

  • Say “Hey Siri” – Listen for “Hey Siri” must be enabled in preferences.
  • Press the Siri button or use a keyboard shortcut.
  • Use Type to Siri.

Say “Hey Siri”

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

Press the Siri button or use the keyboard shortcut

On a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, press the Siri icon on the Touch Bar, and make your request. You can also hold the icon until you have finished speaking.

Siri Touch Bar

On macOS Sierra and later, click the Siri icon in the menu bar or Dock. Or press and hold the Command (⌘) key and space bar until Siri responds. Then say what you need.

If Siri doesn’t close automatically, click the close icon in the window or swipe right to close.

How to enable ‘Type to Siri’ on a Mac

In recent macOS updates, Apple has 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 activated in macOS before use.

How to activate Type to Siri on a Mac

  • Open System Preferences and navigate to Accessibility.
  • Check Enable Type to Siri.

If you haven’t already set up your keyboard shortcut, click on the Open Siri Preferences button at the bottom of the system preferences window.

Type to Siri

The Siri preferences pane will open up; select your preferred shortcut from the Keyboard Shortcut dropdown menu. Choose Customize if you want to pick your own.

Once Type to Siri is enabled, pressing the Siri icon in the menu bar will now trigger Type to Siri instead of prompting for spoken commands.

On Mac computers with a touch bar, tapping the Siri icon will also activate Type to Siri.

How to use Type to Siri

  • Trigger Siri by using the keyboard shortcut.
  • Type your query into the pop-up window, and Siri will process your request.
Siri results

Disable voice feedback

It’s worth noting that even though you are using your keyboard to communicate with Siri, results are spoken back to you as well as being displayed on the screen.

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

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.