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My Top 15 Siri iPhone Voice Commands to Save You an Hour a Week

June 10th, 2013 By: Ash

Why I use Siri

I find it surprising to see how under-utilised Siri is, given the incredible speed, convenience and other productivity benefits it has to offer.

Siri has dramatically raised my productivity and reduced my stress levels (from not having to poke at my phone screen walking down the road). I just talk to my phone and it executes. It’s that simple!

The hardest part was getting myself into the habit of using Siri to interact with my iPhone instead of reaching for the keyboard on the screen. By applying a mindful approach I was able to master this very quickly.

Once that was done I felt like I was swimming in an abundant sea of time. Using mindfulness to cultivate the “Siri Habit” has been one of the best time saving hacks I’ve come across.

Note if you find this article useful you might want to check out my follow up post called Another 15 Siri Voice Commands for the iPhone to Win You Back Another Hour a Week

How to activate Siri

  • Hold down the home button on your iPhone for a couple of seconds until you hear two brief beeps and see the image above appear on your phone.
  • Once you see that image release the button

How to get the best results when using Siri

  • Use the apple headphones and speak into the mike on the headphones (this gives you the best results) or hold the phone up to your mouth and speak directly into the mike (near the home button)
  • Speak slowly and clearly pronouncing each word and syllable (the slower your internet connection the slower you have to speak)

Specific Siri Voice Commands that can make your life a lot  easier while reducing your stress levels

There are several things you can do on your iPhone using Siri such as launch apps, call friends, send emails, read SMS messages … all without touching your screen.

Here are some specific voice commands you can use to save yourself hours a week (if you interact with your iPhone as much as I do) as you execute on your daily activities.

I’ve listed these commands in order of usefulness to me (the most useful being at the top).

Feel free to “say” any or all of these things to your iPhone (4S or above) and watch the magic happen!

  1. Call (Name) – To make a phone call
  2. Launch (App name) – To launch an app
  3. Tell (Name) I’ll be right there – To send an SMS message saying “I’ll be right there”
  4. Play (artist name) – Play music by that artist
  5. Post to facebook – Posts status update to facebook
  6. Email (person’s name) about the trip – Sends an Email
  7. Give me the directions home – Provides directions home (provided home has been designated on your iPhone)
  8. Set up a meeting at 9 – Sets up a calendar meeting
  9. What is Apple’s stock price? – Get a stock price quote (very useful)
  10. What movies are playing? – Tells you which movies playing in local theatres
  11. Remind me to call mom – Creates a reminder on the Reminders app (this can also be used to update your OmniFocus inbox if you use the GTD approach)
  12. Wake me up tomorrow at 7AM –  Sets iPhone alarm clock to 7am tomorrow
  13. What is (name)’s address? – Brings up person’s contact and address
  14. Note that I spent $12 on lunch – Very handy way to add Notes to your iPhone
  15. Define mitosis – WolframAlpha (for the tough questions) Love this one

There’s another one that almost made it to my top 15 : “What’s the weather like today?” – Returns a weather report via apple’s native weather app but I didn’t find this one to be particularly accurate and that’s why it didn’t make it onto my list

Siri gets a speed bump

A couple of months ago I noticed Siri’s performance improve dramatically (overnight) which leads me to assume some heavy duty updates were made to their servers. Anyway since then accuracy and response times on Siri have really improved.

A very comprehensive list of Siri voice commands

For a very comprehensive list of Siri commands check out this link from TUAW

Video of Siri in action

Here’s a video demo of Siri below.

Final Thoughts:

The funny thing is that most people know that Siri can a lot of this stuff but they don’t use it. Why? I think it’s force of habit. It took me some mindful focus to replace my tendancy to type on my iPhone with speech. Now when I want to send an SMS I don’t touch the screen of my phone … I just hold down the home button and I’m done in less than half the time it used to take me.

Remember next you have the urge to type something into your phone ask yourself “should I be talking to my phone right now instead of typing?” Over a period of 3 days this question transformed the way I used my time. I hope it does the same for you


What are your experiences with Siri? Are you facing any challenges with it? Let us know. Just click on the comments icon on the left at the end of this blog and go for it. Do you tend to forget to use Siri? What are some strategies you could put in place to change this? I look forward to hearing from you.

If you found this useful please share it with your friends on Facebook, twitter, linkedin or  google+

Leave a Comment


Thanks for taking the time to put together this article. Very useful.

Comment by Joe on December 21, 2013 at 11:59 pm

You’re most welcome. Thanks for your kind words.

What are your favourite Siri commands? Which ones do you tend to use most?

Comment by Ash on January 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

Thx, usefull!

Comment by Jan on September 7, 2014 at 7:21 pm

You’re most welcome. I’m glad you found it useful. Which Of the 15 commands did you like best?

Comment by Ash on September 9, 2014 at 8:19 am

I am going to start using these. Ty

Comment by Joyce on September 22, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Really glad to hear it Joyce.

Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have about implementing these 15 commands via this comments section and I’ll be happy to help.

Comment by Ash on September 23, 2014 at 11:36 pm

Glad to hear it Joyce.

Comment by Ash on September 23, 2014 at 11:39 pm

I will try these, and hopefully save loads of time!

Comment by Joyce on September 23, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Can Siri read out emails and messages ?

Comment by Vivek on December 15, 2014 at 1:29 am

Hi Vivek

It most certainly can. Hold down the home button for a couple of seconds and say “read me my texts”.

You can even get Siri to reply to the text by saying the word “reply” after it has read the text to you.

Hope you found that helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

Comment by Ash on December 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

I don’t use Siri because I have to speak out loud. When I an around others this is not ideal, and I find it irritating when others do it.

Comment by Andi on January 29, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I tend to use my EarPods and hold the speaker very close to my mouth and speak very softly and clearly into the mic. So much so that the person sitting next to me usually can’t hear me. I find this works very effectively.

Comment by Ash on February 5, 2015 at 4:41 am

This is a really good tip particularly to those
new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one.

A must reead post!

Comment by Rosalind on August 15, 2015 at 7:36 am

Hi Rosalind,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your kind words. Much appreciated. What did you find most useful about this post?

Comment by Ash on August 16, 2015 at 10:11 am

How do I use Siri to answer iPhone 4s incoming calls?

Comment by Dawn on December 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Great question Dawn. Unfortuantely I’m not aware of a way in which this can be achieved using Siri. Why do you need to use Siri to accept a call (as opposed to tapping the accept button on the iPhone screen)?

Comment by Ash on February 14, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on Siri.

I asked Siri, on Sunday evening, to wake me up at 7am on Monday and, right on time the following morning, I heard Siri telling me (verbally) to wake up. However, I have since tried asking Siri to alert me, for various reasons, at various times of the day, but rather than hearing Siri speak I am alerted by an annoying jingle. Can you advise me: why Siri has chosen to use an alarm sound, rather than speech?
Kind regards

Comment by Alan on September 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Hi Alan,

Apologies for the delayed reply. I’ve responded to you via email




Comment by Ash on November 5, 2016 at 6:16 am

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Productive Insights (PI) offers valuable productivity related content to busy people who want to win back a few hours each week. It also discusses mindfulness in daily life which is aimed at creating a deeper sense of purpose and meaning in everyday activities.

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