iPhone 4S: My Favorite Siri Commands

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Here are some of my favorite things to make Siri do for me. It’s so gosh-darned convenient to use her, really, but I admit that I partly like doing it because it makes me feel as if I’m captaining the Enterprise. “Computer! How many calories are in a potato? And while you’re at it, give me directions to my dad’s house!” The future is here, people, and it is weird.


1. Calculate Tips

Remember the early days of the App Store, when we were inundated with tip-calculation apps? And then if you wanted to use one, you’d need to unlock your phone, open the app, and enter all the information yourself with the keyboard. Ah, first-world problems. In any case, Siri’s now made those apps obsolete. 

If you scroll down on that screen, you’ll see that Siri has given you handy breakdowns of both standard tip amounts and totals including tip.

If you tell her how many people you have in your party, she’ll even show you how to divide it up between you.

One caution: Siri doesn’t seem very good about parsing “a hundred dollars,” at least on my phone, so unless I say “one hundred dollars,” she gets lost. It’s probably something to do with my silly little regional dialect, ya’ll.


2. Call Businesses

I’m sure you all know that you can ask Siri to find a retailer by saying something akin to “find the closest Target” or “show me coffee shops in New York City.” If you touch on one of the results, your iPhone will open Maps and reveal the location of your requested place.

However, if you’re looking to call a business rather than checking out its address, you can just say “call (whatever store you want),” and then touch the correct one out of the list if there’s more than one matching name. 

As a bonus tip, I find that people often don’t remember that you can use Siri to dial numbers, as well. Just say “call 303-555-1212,” and you’re on your way. You should probably use a real phone number, though.


3. Basic Contact Searches

If you can’t recall someone’s first or last name, no problem. Just ask Siri to find contacts who match the part of the name you do know by saying “show me people named (whatever).”

That’s great and all, but I really wish that Siri could do searches by state (“show me people who live in Colorado”) or by area code. And then she could put them in a group for us! And send an e-mail right to that group! And buy us all ice cream on Jony Ive’s credit card!

Are you listening, Apple? You guys should totally hire me as your “ideas” gal. Right? Hello?

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Arnold Ziffel

I use Siri to calculate my gas mileage while driving.


I use Siri to set my timer for parking meters, laundry and cooking.


Don’t forget about “Open the pod bay doors HAL!”

Lee Dronick



“Play Xxxxxxx” were Xxxxxxx is a playlist in iTunes.


Today I told Siri to remind me of something when I arrive at Millennium Optical.  It didn’t understand. “Millennium Optical” is in my Contacts.  I’ve had an iPhone 4S for 3 weeks now and Siri has never succeeded in reminding me when I arrive someplace.


I don’t use Siri for anything important ever since we had a disagreement over the meaning of “Next Tuesday.”

That said, I was amused that I can ask Siri, “What time is sunset?” and it will reply.

Lee Dronick

I don?t use Siri for anything important ever since we had a disagreement over the meaning of ?Next Tuesday.?

When it comes to upcoming days I get in disagreements with people over the meaning of “next” and “this.” smile


More often than not Siri responds with - “I’m sorry Hal, I can only look for businesses when you are in the U.S. and using U.S. English”


Pronounce the words like they do in the movie (2001, a space odyssey), or change Hal to HAL manually


“Just say ?call 303-555-1212,? and you?re on your way. You should probably use a real phone number, though.’

That is a real phone number.  It’s Nationwide Directory Inquiries for the Denver/Boulder (and I guess Ft. Collins) areas.  You could also use it with your own or any area code in front, which is for saving the cost of a long-distance call.

Melissa Holt

Thanks, iJack?that’s good to know. And here I thought I was being so clever. smile

Lee Dronick

As Jack says the 555 prefix is mostly for Directory Assistance. The numbers 555-0100 through 555-0199 are for ficticous use.

When a form, or a clerk, demands that you provide a phone number and you don’t want to give it because they don’t need it then use xxx-555-0165.  Where xxx is your area code

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