When iOS 8 was released, one of the most useful features it added was “Hey Siri”. This new command allows you to complete functions hands-free while your iPhone or iPad is being charged. This works on any device with Siri capabilities, and is enabled within the Siri settings by selecting “Allow ‘Hey Siri'” (open the Settings app, then go to General, and then Siri). Once enabled, you can activate Siri on your device by simply speaking the command “Hey Siri” followed by the action that you would like performed.
I have been using this functionality on a daily basis since updating to iOS 8. While I am in the car, I always have my iPhone docked so that I can listen to music or podcasts on my iPhone. While it is plugged into my car dock, I simply say “Hey Siri, text my Wife”, and I am immediately prompted to speak my message. After I speak the message, Siri repeats it back to me and asks me if I am ready to send my message. I simply answer yes, and my message is sent. After I am done with Siri, I simply say, “Hey Siri, go away” and I am returned to my music.
Once you have Siri on screen, you can also continue to give commands without pressing any buttons. This is again accomplished by starting your command with “Hey Siri”. So for example, after sending the text message above, I could ask Siri to read my text messages to me by saying “Hey Siri, read text messages”. Siri would tell me how many unread text messages I have and then would proceed to read the messages. After each message is read, I would also be prompted whether to send a reply.
Although I find this functionality most useful while in my vehicle, I also use “Hey Siri” at home. After I wake up in the morning, I can find out the time by asking “Hey Siri, what time is it?”. I can check the weather by saying “Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?”, and I can check my schedule by asking “Hey Siri, what’s my schedule like?”. If I wake up before my alarm is set to go off, I can even say, “Hey Siri, turn off my alarm.”
If you want to use the “Hey Siri” command when your phone is not being charged, you first have to manually start Siri by holding down on your Home button. After Siri is on the screen, additional commands can be done hands-free by saying “Hey Siri” followed by your command.
Of course “Hey Siri” is only useful if Siri can understand you. I have found that Siri does a much better job of understanding my commands in iOS 8, but your mileage may vary. See our previous post for a list of commands that can be used with Siri.