iOS: Using Siri to Find Apps, Books, and Music

I’ve mentioned many, many times at this point that I’m in love with Siri. Not in the weird way you may be imagining, though—in a “holy crap, this service is so darned useful” sort of way. After all, it’s much easier to ask Siri what song is playing or how to get to a coffee shop than it is to unlock your device, find and open the appropriate app, and then tap around until you get what you’re looking for.

Here’s a neat and fairly unknown trick you can use, then, with this awesome service: You can ask it to search for purchasable media (like books, music, and apps). When you do so, your device will open the appropriate store and show you the results of the search. So for example, you could invoke Siri and say something like “get ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ by Simon and Garfunkel” to pop into the iTunes Store and look for that item. You could also find books in the same way…

Siri search for

…or apps:

Siri search for MLB app

And as I mentioned, doing so will just bring you to the search results page in whatever store Siri has opened, so it’s not as if you have to worry about the media you’re looking for being purchased automatically or anything.

MLB app in the App Store

I find this most handy in training people who are new to the iPhone or iPad, and in fact, Siri is a great place to start if you happen to be helping one of those folks out yourself. It’s pretty magical to tell someone who’s struggling with using Maps, for example, that he can just ask his phone to direct him somewhere rather than flutzing around with typing in searches and stuff. Hey, I may be stretching the definition of “magical” just a bit there, but I don’t think so.