Using Siri to Send and Reply To Emails on iPhone and iPad

| Computing with Bifocals

Did you know you can use iOS's Siri to send and reply to emails? You can, and in this column I'm going to show you just how easy it is. Siri can fill in the recipient, the subject line, and take dictation for what you want to say.  If you have more than one email address, she'll even ask you which one you want to use.

Here's how to do it.

Sending A Message Using Siri

Open Siri on your device by pressing down the home button until Siri opens. Say, “Write an email to (name) about (subject).

Siri will create a small window that shows the email has been created. If you have more than one email address for the recipient, Siri will ask you which one to use. You will also be asked which of your own email addresses you want to use as the sender if you have more than one.

Then Siri will ask you what you want it to say. You dictate your message and when Siri thinks you are finished, Siri will ask if you are ready to send it. (You can make corrections at this point if needed.) Say "yes" and tap the Send button. Siri will tell you that your message is being sent.

Using Siri to send a message - example

Note: When dictating the recipient name, be sure to limit it to two words, otherwise it will throw the third word onto the subject line. For instance, I had to say "send a message to Nancy Gravley." Then when I chose the email address of the recipient it put in the whole name because that is the way it is listed in my address book. So, now the message is showing that the message is going to Nancy Carroll Gravley.

Replying To A Message Using Siri

With your email open, open Siri by holding down the home button until Siri speaks. When Siri asked how she may help you, say "Reply". She will ask you what you would like your email to say. You dictate a reply. When Siri thinks you have finished she will ask if you are ready to send it. You tap the send button and Siri sends it for you. Easy as can be.

Using Siri to reply to a message - sample

As Apple continues to improve Siri, she becomes more and more useful, and these two techniques are great examples of how helpful she can be. Being able to send an email or reply to one without stopping to type it out is not something you'll need all the time, but when you do, you'll be thankful it's there.

I hope you find these two tips as useful as I do.

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My major problem with this method is that, as you say, “when Siri thinks you are finished” is an exceptionally small pause.  I have never been able to respond to a text message using this method with anything other than a 2 or 3 word reply. 
If I need to do anything more extensive I open the app and use the microphone icon on the keypad to dictate.  The only time limitation here seems to be how much it can listen to before it has to send it to be translated by Apple’s servers.  I can usually get a good 2 to 3 sentences in one go this way, complete with pauses to think of my phrasing.



This is a great reminder of the simplicity with which we can harness a powerful tool. I find that I am too often in environments, like my field site clinic, in which the ambient noise requires one to shout simply to be heard by the person next to you, or in traffic in some bustling city somewhere in the developing world. Assuming I have Internet access, Siri is simply overwhelmed by life. I look forward to that next level of improvement in which background noise can be even better controlled for.

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