Can the iPhone/iPad operate completely hands free?
There are two ways to operate an iOS device without using hands. One is with a switch control. The other way is using Siri as a personal assistant which is what this article is about. If you are blind or have low vision, have physical impairment or just do lots of things at once, Siri is about to become your new bestie.
What is Siri
So first of all, what is Siri? Siri is a feature built into iOS devices (and now Mac as well) which is voice operated and which can perform tasks such as:
- search the internet and read results out loud,
- make a phone call,
- send or receive messages,
- respond to questions about news, weather, and what’s nearby.
- Activate Siri by going to Settings – Siri. Turn Siri on with the toggle switch.
- Turn on Access on Lock Screen and Allow “Hey Siri”. Turning on “Hey Siri” allows you to use voice commands only, as long as you have an iPhone 6 or newer or are connected to power with an older phone. When you turn on “Hey Siri”, you will be prompted to speak some phrases so that Siri can learn to recognise your voice.
- On this settings screen you can also choose which language and accent Siri will use.
- It’s a good idea to select “Always” under the Voice Feedback setting because this means Siri will always be improving her ability to recognise your voice.
- Under the My Info setting, select yourself in your contacts list.
When you want to use Siri, press and hold the home button until you hear a chime or say “Hey Siri” and wait for the chime. Then give your command or question.
You can teach Siri about how people are related to you if you want to. If you tell Siri that Mary Smith is your mother, Siri will find Mary in your contacts list and remember the connection. Then you can say, “Text Mum”. Even without telling Siri about any relationships you can ask her something like, “Hey Siri…what’s Joe Brown’s email address?” or “Call Joe Brown on his mobile”.
How Siri helps you communicate
You can ask Siri to:
- redial the last number
- return that missed call
- FaceTime Fred
- Text Tracey
- Send a message to George
- Reply to a message
- Read a message
- Check my voicemail
- Play my voicemail
- Email Jill about the weekend
- Reply to emails by saying “Reply….”
- Read my notifications
More in the next post about using Siri with other apps.