Apple’s Siri digital assistant can do a lot of things for you, from getting your local weather forecast, to seeing what movies are playing nearby, or even booking a reservation for a restaurant. Not everything Siri can do is well publicized though, and Apple hid a few interesting and useful features to make her even more useful. All you need to know is how to ask for them.
Below is a list of 12 of the most compelling hacks we’ve found in seeing what Siri can do.
1. She’s a calculator
Want to calculate something without typing it into a calculator? Just ask Siri. She uses Wolfram Alpha to compute any mathematical problem you ask, so if the Wolfram Alpha site can do it, chances are Siri can, too.
2. Look it’s a plane
Ask Siri “what planes are flying overhead,” and she will retrieve a list of planes currently flying over your location, complete with a direction to look for them.
3. Fix those pronunciations
Siri without a clue how to pronounce certain names? Let her know. Say “learn how to pronounce…” and say the contact name. You’ll be able to walk her through the right pronunciation in under a minute.
4. Are we there yet?
If you’re using navigation functions on your iPhone, Siri can give you an time of arrival based on that information. Just say “ETA” and she will give you the estimated time that you should expect to arive at your destination.
5. Eat healthier
Calorie conscious? Siri is too. She can estimate the number of calories in many foods, both generic and some more specific. For example asking “How many calories in a Big Mac?” will return 520 calories, McDonald’s calorie guideline for that sandwich.
6. Convert anything
Again, Siri uses Wolfram Alpha for a lot of calculations. One thing the site can do is quickly is conversions. Just tell Siri what you’d like to convert from and to and she will do the rest.
7. Figure out a tip
Need to know what tip you need to leave? Let Siri figure it out. “What’s a 20% tip for a $56.80 bill split among four people?” will return not only the total tip that should be left, but also what portion of that tip everybody will owe.
8. Coin flips and die rolls
Need to pick who’s taking out the trash tonight? Ask Siri to flip a coin, and she’ll randomly tell you either heads or tails. Want to play a game of chance? Siri can roll the dice for you.
9. Find someone
If you use Find My Friends or a friend is sharing location information with you, asking Siri to find that particular person pops up their location on a map.
10. Find peace and quiet
iOS includes a Do Not Disturb function that allows you to silence the device during periods when you need to be free of distractions. Saying “do not disturb” to Siri turns on this function. You can even turn off the phones cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity by saying “airplane mode.”
11. Remember holidays
We all know certain holidays like Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day because they’re on the same calendar day every year. But other holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving do not. Use Siri to remember what days these holidays fall on. Can’t remember a birthday? As long as you have birthday information saved in your contacts, you can also ask Siri what days are your friend’s birthdays (While you’re at it, ask Siri to set a reminder too to buy them a gift).
12. Be a trivia king
Arguing over what movies Kevin Spacey has starred in? Ask Siri and she’ll return you those movies, along with ratings from Rotten Tomatoes. Want to know how many points Kobe Bryant scored last year? Siri can answer that too, with official stats from the NBA. Let Siri settle those arguments for you quickly and easily.
Follow Ed on Twitter @edoswald