7 Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Siri

04/01/2015 11:49 am ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015

Voice command technology has improved greatly over the past few years. It doesn't just listen to your voice and execute a request; there is actual intelligence built in.

Intelligence that can make life easier and give you easier access to information. Plus, when used effectively in the car, voice commands can greatly improve safety.

On Apple devices, the voice command technology is called Siri. According to wikipedia, the name Siri is Scandinavian, a short form of the Norse name Sigrid meaning "beauty" and "victory." Siri was also the intended name for the original developer's first child, but he ended up having a boy. Coincidently, it's also the name of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' first child -- oh wait, that's Suri.

Siri was introduced in April 2010 as an app, and in October 2011 as part of iOS on the iPhone 4S. By October of 2012, Siri was included on all iOS devices. The latest iOS8 update had several Siri updates, including the ability to tell you what song is playing on the radio.

I have to admit, I got a bit of a rocky start with Siri. I'd get frustrated if she didn't interpret what I said and found myself yelling at her. I didn't need another difficult person in my life.

Then I really screwed up our relationship when I changed my language settings to United Kingdom (in honor of Downton Abbey), and found that she only understood me if I talked like Lady Mary. Evidently, Siri didn't like my fake British accent.

How about you? How is your relationship with Siri? If it's strained, you might want to consider these seven ways to improve it.

1. Connect to Wi-Fi or have cellular coverage

Siri works by accessing databases on the cloud to find the answers to your questions. If you're not connected or your signal is weak, she'll let you know.


2. Update your contacts

Siri will text, email, set appointments and set reminders based on your contact information.


3. Let Siri know who you are.

If you don't already have one, create a contact for yourself.

  • Add your first and last name so Siri can get personal with you. She will respond with, "Here are your directions, [your name]".
  • Add your home address, so you can ask Siri "How do I get home?"
  • Add your work address, so when you stray too far from the office at lunch you can say "Siri, how do I get back to work?"

Go to Settings > General > Siri > My Info and select your contact name from the list.


4. Let her know about your personal relationships

Activate Siri by holding down the home button. Say "Jean is my sister" and "Steve is my boss." Then you can say things like "Call my sister," or "Send a text to my boss telling him I'll be late to work."

You can also set up custom relationships. When I got a new puppy, I let Siri know about his vet. I said "Brooks Veterinary Services is my vet."


5. Ask Siri what she can do for you

Not sure what Siri can do for you? Hold down the home button and just ask her. Say "What can you do?"


6. Correct Siri when she's wrong

Silly Siri, she doesn't realize I already have "P cons" and I need "pecans."


Correct Siri when she's wrong, and next time, she's more likely to understand what you're saying.


7. Look at the results

Ask, "Where is a good steak place nearby?" and Siri will give you results from Yelp.


Ask, "How many cups are in a quart?" and Siri will give you results from Wolfram.


If you've been having trouble with Siri, give her another chance. The more you talk to Siri, the more you'll gain a mutual understanding -- and improve your relationship.

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