Siri: Your Email Reply Assistant

| TMO Quick Tip

As you may know, you can use Siri to send emails (by saying something like "send an email to John Appleseed, subject 'tomorrow'"). But did you know that you can use her to reply to existing messages, too? Hot diggity-dog, my friends.

You can handle this in a few different ways. To try out the first method, start by opening the message you'd like to reply to.

Then hold down the Home button on your iOS device to invoke Siri and say "reply." When you do, Siri will ask you what you'd like your message to say, and you can just dictate the content to her.

The second way, though, is much quicker, and it's really handy for dashing off one- or two-line responses. Start things the same way as you did above, but instead of saying "reply" to Siri, say "reply [whatever content you want the message to contain]."


This works within the Messages app, too. Simply invoke Siri when you've got a text message open that you'd like to reply to, and follow the same instructions that we went over for emailing.

And finally, if you're one of those folks who asks Siri to check your emails for you, you can reply to a message after you do that, too, as below:

However, I find this method to be…clunky, to say the least (especially if you have more than one message), so I almost always use one of the two ways I discussed first. But hey, whatever floats your boat, TMO readers. It's your Siri, and you can reply if you want to.

Oh, that was awful. I feel guilty for how bad that "joke" was. Not guilty enough to delete it, but still.


Lee Dronick

Thank you! And you can always use the microphone icon when the keyboard is open, but your technique save a step.


Melissa, I enjoy your articles and for some reason, maybe style, when I see your name, I smile.

Melissa Holt

Thanks for the suggestion, Lee! I’m always curious as to how many people even notice that microphone icon.


Melissa Holt

Aw, shucks, mhikl. You couldn’t have given me a bigger compliment than that, so thanks muchly! :D



Aw, my iOS is set to Australian English - where I am - and Siri does not understand anything because of my French accent. Too bad, Siri.

Melissa Holt

Hey vbroido,

She may not understand you perfectly right away, but supposedly she will learn over time. Here’s what Apple says:

“…The more you use Siri, the better it will understand you. It does this by learning about your accent and other characteristics of your voice. Siri uses voice recognition algorithms to categorize your voice into one of the dialects or accents it understands. As more people use Siri and it’s exposed to more variations of a language, its overall recognition of dialects and accents will continue to improve, and Siri will work even better.”

So it might be worth trying her for a while.

Hope that helps!

Lee Dronick

“She may not understand you perfectly right away, but supposedly she will learn over time. Here’s what Apple says:

“…The more you use Siri, the better it will understand you. It does this by learning about your accent and other characteristics of your voice”

I can attest to that. I am very much appreciating the technology as time goes by and I am looking forward to Siri on my Macs.


I’d really like to be able to use it so I will give Siri another chance - even though I only find it useful when I drive and it’s only scary to see what it wants to write in my name smile


I have given up on siri. At first I thought it was my Australian accent but after a while I came to realise that siri just does not have the capability to do the things I want, such as: delete that email. Siri invariably gets words wrong and I don;t have the time to train siri. I wanted siri to work but it feels underdone.



You’re right, that was bad; so bad, in fact, that it was delightful. As one who frequently tells such bad puns that my wife looks at me nonplussed and asks, ‘Was that supposed to be funny?’, I can appreciate the art.

As for Siri, although I bought my iPhone in the USA, and have a US carrier (AT&T), I had to give up on the default female incarnation, as she seemed to find me incomprehensible. I switched to the UK male voice, and we’ve got on like a house on fire.

@vbroido: you might want to play with another voice option to get the right match, but you will need to give it time to adapt to your accent, cadence and speech patterns.

Many thanks, Melissa, for the reply tip. I had not tried simply, ‘Reply…’ followed immediately with the message. That saves precious seconds, which in my normal work day, matter.

Keep up the good work, and the humour.

Melissa Holt

Thank you for the kind words, wab95! I can’t promise to keep up the humor, as some wouldn’t even consider it that to begin with. wink

Let’s just say that I’ll keep doing whatever it is I do. Groans are almost as good as laughs, right?


Lee Dronick

When i bought my first iPhone the Apple Store employee gave me some tips on using the keyboard. One of the best tips was to practice typing in Notes so that I can take my time learning the technique and not feel rushed such as when composing an email.

Whe Siri came on the scene I did something similar, practiced dictating in Pages. I also practiced while on WiFi so that I am not eating up my cell service data bandwidth; Siri sends your dictation to a server for speech to text translation.


Nice article… I use the microphone icon religiously. One drawback with Siri is it is difficult to impossible to retrieve past activities if you dismiss them. Be great if Apple created a way to thread/store/access all that stuff. I would also appreciate the ability to automatically review my Siri dictations so I can tell if she messed something up while I am driving. Half the time it takes me longer to get a message straight than to drive to the destination I am sending the message to.

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