How to Use Siri: A Beginners Guide

Your Apple device is set up and ready to go, but how do you start to use Siri? Learn all the techniques you need to be a Siri ninja! After this, make sure you check out our Things to Ask Siri: A Beginners Guide.

How to Use Siri on the iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone 11 and iPad

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. So now that you’ve been through the process of setting up Siri, how do you start to use it on your device?

How do I talk to Siri on my iPhone or iPad?

There are three ways you can activate Siri:

  • Press and hold the Side button, or the Home button on older devices.
  • Say “Hey Siri”.
  • Using a Bluetooth headset, such as AirPods.

Pressing the Side Button

iPhone Side Button

The Side button is located on the right hand edge of your iPhone.

  1. Press and hold the Side button on your iPhone to open Siri.
  2. You will hear two quick beeps/vibrations to tell you that Siri has woken up and is waiting for you to say something.
  3. Once Siri has opened, 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.
  4. 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.

Saying “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 our guide on how to enable the feature.

You can now activate Siri without the need to press the home button by saying:

Hey Siri…

“Hey, Siri” works in any situation, even if the screen is locked or if an application is open and running. You can change this in your security settings.

Once Siri is activated 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?

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.

Check out our quick start guide, which features a list of the most popular Siri commands for beginners.

How to close Siri on all devices

It’s happened to most of us at some time. We accidentally trigger Siri by pressing the side button, or she/he pops up unprompted, for no clear reason.

So once the Siri icon has appeared, how can it be dismissed?

Just say:

Hey Siri, go away

It’s not particularly polite, but it works.

Use AirPods to activate Siri

If you are using AirPods, you’ll need to double-tap the outside of either one to talk to Siri.

If you own the second generation of AirPods, you can also say “Hey Siri”.

For a headset that uses 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.

Use Siri on your Apple Watch

Siri works differently on an Apple watch in comparison to an iPhone, here is a quick guide to getting started with Siri on your Apple Watch.

Apple Watch
  1. On the iPhone you have paired with your Apple Watch, tap Settings > Siri & Search. Make sure that Listen for “Hey Siri” is on. On iPhone X or later, make sure that Press Side Button for Siri is on. On iPhone 8 or earlier, make sure that Press Home for Siri is on.
  2. On your Apple Watch, tap Settings > Siri. Choose whether you want to turn Hey Siri and Raise To Speak on or off.
  3. On Apple Watch Series 3 or later, scroll down to Voice Feedback, then choose when Siri speaks, from Always On, Control With Silent Mode, or Headphones Only.

Ask Siri a question

You can ask Siri to start a specific workout, open an app, send a message, and much more. There are several ways to talk to Siri. On Apple Watch Series 3 or later, Siri speaks responses to you, and you can activate and use Siri from a paired Bluetooth headset. On earlier models, Siri responds visually on your watch face.

With watchOS 6, you can ask Siri to identify a song and get an instant Shazam result. You can also ask Siri a general question and Apple Watch displays the first few search results along with a brief excerpt from each page. Just tap Open Page to view the page on Apple Watch.

Raise to speak

With watchOS 5 and later and Apple Watch Series 3 or later, you don’t need to say “Hey Siri” to get Siri’s attention.

  1. Raise your wrist to wake your Apple Watch.
  2. Hold your watch near your mouth.
  3. Say what you need.

Here’s how to turn the Raise To Speak feature off or on:

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Siri.
  3. Turn Raise To Speak off or on.

Press the Digital Crown

  1. Hold down the Digital Crown.
  2. When the listening indicator appears, Siri is ready to listen to your request.
  3. Ask Siri what you need.
  4. Let go of the Digital Crown.

Say “Hey Siri”

  1. Raise your wrist or tap the screen of your Apple Watch.
  2. When it wakes, say “Hey Siri” and what you need.

How to use Siri on a Mac

There are several ways to talk to Siri on your Mac.

  • Say “Hey Siri”
  • Press the Siri button or use a keyboard shortcut.

Say “Hey Siri”

On a Mac (2018 or later), say “Hey Siri”, then make your request in the same way as an iPhone.

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 Touchbar

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 use Siri on the Apple TV

Hold down the Siri button on your Siri Remote, make your request, then release the Siri button.

Find out more about using Siri on the Apple TV.

How to use Siri with Apple Carplay

Hold down the voice-command button on your steering wheel, then tell Siri what you need. Siri waits for you to stop talking.

If you have a touch screen with CarPlay, you can also use Siri by pressing and holding the Home key on the screen. You can tap the audio-wave button to tell Siri you’re done talking. This is useful if Siri can’t hear you because there is background noise. Opening certain apps like Phone or Messages can also connect you to Siri.

Siri adapts its behavior depending on how you’re connected. For example, if you’re connected from a wired or Bluetooth headset, from Siri Eyes Free, or from CarPlay, Siri reads your messages so you can approve them before sending.

For more advanced usage, such as dictating an email or longer text message, it’s worth checking our dictation guide.

How to use Siri on HomePod

Here are two ways to talk to Siri on HomePod.

  • Say “Hey Siri”
  • Press the top of HomePod

Press the top of HomePod, then make your request.

If you want to speak for longer, press and hold the top of HomePod, say what you need, then release your finger.

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