In this guide, we'll take you through the process of how to activate and use Siri on the iPhone and iPad.
These instructions should apply to most handset and tablet models, including the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12.
When first turning on a new Apple iPhone, you are asked if you want to activate and configure your virtual assistant as part of the setup process; if you did that, scroll down the page to read How to Use Siri on the iPhone and iPad.
If you passed on that initial setup or want to turn on Siri on an existing device, read on.
Note: If you restored your apps and data from an iTunes or iCloud backup when setting up your device, you might have found that Siri turned off when the process finished. If so, you'll also need to follow these instructions.
How to get Siri working on an iPhone or iPad
Setting up or reactivating Siri on your device is a quick process, and once completed, 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.
- iPhone 4s or later.
- An Internet connection (wireless or 4G upwards is best).
- The most recent version of iOS available for your device.
Setting up Siri on the iPhone and iPad
- Navigate to Settings > Siri & Search.
- 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 iPhone or iPad is within listening distance.
- Your device will now take you through a short sequence of requests, where it asks you to repeat "Hey Siri" followed by several short phrases.
- Toggle on Press Side Button for Siri.
- Toggle on Allow Siri When Locked — this is optional; see the section on securing Siri below.
- Select your Language, your Siri Voice feedback preferences.
- Tap on Siri Responses and choose your preferred settings.
- Select your contact details in My Information. This is so that Siri knows who you are and can create 'relationships' such as 'wife' or 'brother' with other contacts in your address book.
- Toggle on all the Siri Suggestions options. These allow Siri to make personalized suggestions in apps or use Search, Look Up, or Keyboard.
How to make sure Siri is secure
Apple promises to keep your data safe when using Siri. According to their website:
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.
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 devices. Others prefer the convenience of quickly accessing their email and apps without taking any extra steps.
Use your passcode to secure Siri
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 emails, and access other personal information without having to enter the security code first.
However, you can prevent Siri from overriding the passcode by toggling Allow Siri When Locked to off in Siri & Search or;
- Navigate to Settings > Face ID and Passcode.
- Scroll down to Allow Access When Locked.
- Switch Allow Access When Locked for Siri to the OFF position.
There have been rare 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 recognizing your voice and not reacting to strange voices.
How to use Siri on the iPhone and iPad
Now Siri is working on your device; it's time for the fun part!
When using Siri for the first time on your iPhone or iPad, you may notice is that the virtual assistant doesn't have an app icon. This is because Siri is built into the operating system.
How to talk to Siri on the iPhone or iPad
There are three ways you can trigger Siri:
- Press and hold the Side button (or the Home button on older devices).
- Say "Hey Siri".
- Use a Bluetooth headset, such as AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.
Pressing the Side button
The Side button is located along the right-hand edge of your iPhone.
- Press and hold the Side button on your iPhone to open Siri.
- You will hear two quick beeps/vibrations and the Siri icon on the screen to tell you that Siri has woken up and is waiting for you to say something.
- Once Siri is activated, ask a question or ask Siri to perform a task such as emailing or texting. Siri will automatically detect when you have stopped speaking, but you can optionally press the microphone icon to show you have finished your question or request.
- On the iPhone X or later, if you need to speak for longer, hold the button until you have finished talking, then Siri will stop listening.
For example, hold down the side button, then say:
Is it going to rain today?
What is 123 times 4?
Where am I?
For further tips on what to say to Siri, check out our guide to the most popular questions to ask Siri.
How to use "Hey Siri"
Open your iPhone settings select Siri & Search. Check that the switch for Listen for "Hey Siri" is turned on. If it isn't, follow the instructions above on how to enable the feature.
Note: For 'Hey Siri' to work, your device will need to be plugged in if it is an iPhone 6 or iPad 5th generation or lower.
You can instantly activate Siri without the need to press the side/home button by saying:
Once Siri is initiated, you can speak naturally and do not need to pause after saying "Hey, Siri".
Hey Siri, how warm is it going to be today?
Hey Siri, send an email to my Dad.
Hey Siri, where is the nearest park?
Have a look at our quick start guide, which features a list of the most popular Siri commands for beginners.
How to use AirPods to activate Siri
You can use your AirPods to make phone calls, play music, and ask questions.
AirPods (1st and 2nd generation) - double-tap an AirPod to use Siri.
AirPods Pro and AirPods (2nd generation) - you can say "Hey Siri" then ask your question.
AirPods Pro - you can set an AirPod to use Siri when you touch and hold the force sensor.
For headsets that use a remote or another type of Bluetooth device, hold down the center button or call button until you hear a chime. Then talk to Siri.
How to close Siri on your iPhone and iPad
It's happened to most of us at some time. We unintentionally trigger Siri by pressing the side button, or she/he pops up unprompted for no apparent reason - usually because someone nearby has said something that sounded like "Hey Siri".
So, once the Siri icon has appeared, how can it be dismissed?
Hey Siri, go away
It's not particularly polite, but it works.
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