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Ask a question, and your phone responds immediately.

By October 26, 2015June 6th, 2022No Comments

Do you regularly use the Siri personal assistant on your iPhone or iPad? If you don’t, or aren’t sure if you have Siri, visit this Apple web page to get the scoop. If you have Siri, but only use it infrequently, you are missing out on some serious computing power.

First, Siri works best when you have a decent Internet connection (Wi-Fi is best, but not mandatory). You need to enunciate clearly, which at first might require you to repeat a question or command.

To invoke Siri, hold down the HOME button on your iPhone or iPad until you hear the double beep.

Common Siri commands you can use:

  • “Call Ernie Svenson'” (assuming my name is in your Contacts application). Siri may ask you to clarify which number to use if your contacts show more than one phone number
  • “Text Ernie Svenson,” (then follow the prompts to dictate the message). If the message that Siri is not what you proposed, say, “EDIT,” and re-dictate.
  • “What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?” (Siri knows where you are and gives you local information).

Some unusual questions that lawyers might want Siri to help with include:

  • “What is 45 days from July 20, 2016?”
  • “What is 25 days before August 27th, 2016?”
  • “Where is the nearest courthouse?” (Siri will tell you how many courthouses she found and if you click on one it will open in Apple’s Maps app).
  • “Where is the courthouse in Baton Rouge, Louisiana?” (Siri will return results and you can pick just like above).

Siri is pretty good at getting map data and other data from the Internet, but in most instances, the free [Google Search app][googleapp] is best. It now features Google Now, a personalized information service that will automatically tell you traffic conditions on your daily commute and more. This PC Magazine web article will quickly show you how to set it up, and what it can do.

You have to tap the app to access it, and you’ll be doing that a lot once you learn to use it. So put it on your dock so you can access it fast. After you open the app, you tap the voice icon (looks like a microphone) and speak your search. The Google app also requires an internet connection but is faster in accessing results. For internet searches, the Google app is much better than Siri.

Here are some sample searches that produced quick, useful results:

  • “Federal court in Baton Rouge”
  • “Where is Patois restaurant?” (If I’m in New Orleans when I search I don’t have to tell Google to limit the search; it assumes I want a nearby restaurant.)
  • “What movie won best movie in 1948?” (Hamlet)
  • “Where is the nearest gas station?”
  • “United Flight 900”
  • “How do I make risotto?”
  • “What is pancetta?” (has no problem with my pronunciation of the word)
  • “Who wrote 100 years of Solitude?” (assumes I’m asking about a book and gets right answer)
  • “Who was the 28th President of the United States?” (plays an audio response)
  • “What is 15% of 68?”
  • “How do you say cucumber in Spanish?”

If you’re not taking advantage of voice commands using Siri and Google search you’re wasting time. Think about this the next time your friend asks, “What was that other movie that Ang Lee directed?” Don’t try to guess. Whip out your iPhone or iPad and ask Google.

If you want a handy reminder of many of the common Siri commands, click here and download a 3 page PDF cheat sheet that you can print and keep by your desk. For more resources check out these links:

Get the Google App here.
Learn to set it up here.
Learn more about Siri here.
Get this great book: Talking to Siri

And if you like these kinds of tips you should sign up for the free PaperlessChase email newsletter, which will deliver useful information like this automatically.

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