How to Use Siri on the iPad

Siri has grown a lot since it was first introduced to the iPad.  She can schedule meetings, take voice dictation, remind you to take the trash out to the street, read your email and even update your Facebook page so long as you have connected your iPad to Facebook.  She can even speak to you in a British accent if you prefer.  

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How to Turn Siri On or Off on the iPad

A woman in bed using an ipad.
Getty Images / Compassionate Eye Foundation / Siri Stafford

Siri is probably already turned on for your iPad.  And if you have a newer iPad, you may have already set up the "Hey Siri" feature.  (More on that later.)  But there are a couple of settings and features you might want to check out to make sure your iPad is secure.

  1. First, open the Settings app on your iPad. (Find out how...)
  2. Scroll down the left-side menu and choose "Siri." 
  3. You can turn Siri on or off by tapping the green on/off switch at the top of the Siri settings.  Remember, you will need an active Internet connection to use Siri.
  4. Do you want to have access to Siri on the lock screen?  This is an important setting.  While you can't launch apps without unlocking the iPad, you can gain access to parts of the calendar and even set reminders without unlocking the iPad.  This is a great feature if you use Siri a lot, but it does open your iPad up to others using these same features.  If you are worried about your privacy, you can flip the switch to turn off Siri on the lock screen.  Find out more about securing your iPad from prying eyes.
  5. You can also change Siri's voice.  The "Siri Voice" settings are dependent upon the language chosen.  For English, you can choose between a Male or Female and between an American, Australian or British accent.  Choosing a different accent is a great way to catch the ear of people around you who might think it is really cool that your Siri doesn't sound like any other Siri they've heard.

What is "Hey Siri"?

This feature allows you to activate Siri with your voice by proceeding any normal question or directive with "Hey Siri".  Most iPads will need to be connected to a power source like a PC or a wall outlet for this to work, but starting with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, "Hey Siri" will work even if not connected to power.   

When you flip the switch for Hey Siri, you will be asked to repeat short sentences in order to optimize Siri for your voice.  

Funny Questions You Can Ask Siri

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How to Use Siri on the iPad

First things first, you will need to let your iPad know that you want to ask Siri a question. Similar to the iPhone, you can do this by holding the Home Button down a few seconds.

When activated, Siri will beep at you and the screen will prompt you for a question or directive.  There will also be glowing lines floating at the bottom of the screen indicating that Siri is listening. Simply ask a question, and Siri will do her best to comply.

If you want to ask additional questions while the Siri menu is open, tap the microphone. The glowing lines will appear again, which means you can ask away. Remember: the glowing lines mean Siri is ready for your question, and when they aren't glowing, she is not listening.

If you turned on Hey Siri, you do not need to press the Home Button to get started.  However, if you are actively holding your iPad, it's usually easier to simply press the button.

Does Siri have trouble pronouncing your name? You can teach her how to pronounce it.  

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What Questions Can Siri Answer?

Siri is a voice recognition artificial intelligence decision engine that has been programmed with various databases that will enable her to answer many of your questions. And if you got lost in that explanation, you are not alone.

Forget the technical stuff. Siri can perform a lot of basic tasks and answer various questions. Here is a range of things she can do for you:

Basic Siri Questions and Tasks

  • Call [name]. Example: "Call Tom."
  • Send text to [name] [text]. Example: "Send text to Tom: What did you say the name of that band was?"
  • Launch [app]. Example: "Launch Evernote."
  • Search the web for [whatever]. Example: "Search the web for best iPad strategy games."
  • Listen to [band name, song name]. Example: "List to The Beatles."
  • Get me directions to [shop/restaurant name/address]. Example: "Get me directions to Six Flags over Texas" or "Where is Gilmer, Texas?"
  • Will it rain [date]?. Example: "Will it rain tomorrow?" or "What is the weather like?"

Siri as a Personal Assistant

  • Remind me to [do something] at [date/time]. Example: "Remind me to walk the dog tomorrow at 10 AM."
  • Schedule a meeting for [meeting] at [date/time]. Example: "Schedule a meeting for work at 3 PM on Thursday."
  • Change my meeting from [date/time] to [date/time]. Example: "Change my meeting from 3 PM on Thursday to 4 PM on Friday."
  • Tweet [what you want to say]. Example: "Tweet: I am having a cup of coffee."
  • Update my Facebook status to [what you want to say]. Example: "Update my Facebook status to: Just watched Doctor Who and loved it."

Siri Will Help Feed and Entertain You

  • Show me nearby [type of food] restaurants. Example: "Show me nearby Mexican food restaurants."
  • Find me [type of food] in [city]. Example: "Find me pizza in Dallas."
  • Book a table at [date/time] for [restaurant]. Example: "Book a table at 6 PM for Via Real."
  • What movies are playing? This will list out movies playing at nearby theaters. You can also add "in [city]" to check movies that aren't near your current location.
  • Show me a trailer for [movie]. Example: "Show me a trailer for The Avengers."
  • What movies has [actor] starred in? Example: "What movies has Tom Hanks starred in?"
  • What movies has [director] directed? Example: "What movies has Penny Marshall directed?"
  • What is the cast of [tv series]? Example: "What is the cast of How I Met Your Mother?"
  • Who wrote [book, movie, tv series]? Example: "Who wrote Harry Potter?"

Siri Knows Sports

  • Who are the [sports team] playing tonight? Example: "Who are the Rangers playing tonight?"
  • What is the score of the [sports team] game? Example: "What is the score of the Giants game?"
  • How are the [sports team] doing? Example: "How are the Yankees doing?"
  • Who is leading the league in [stat]? Example: "Who is leading the league in rushing yards?"
  • How many [stat] does [player] have? Example: "How many rushing yards does Maurice Jones Drew have?"

Siri Is Gushing With Information

Siri is pretty intelligent, so feel free to experiment with different questions. Siri is connected to a number of different websites and databases, which means you can ask her a variety of questions. Here are some examples of Siri performing calculations and finding information for you:

  • What is 18 "percent" of 32 "dollars" 57 "cents"? Siri is great for figuring out how much you should tip or performing simple math. She can even plot out equations.
  • What is the price of AAPL? If you love to keep an eye on your favorite stock, Siri has your info for you.
  • Where is area code 212? A good way to check where that unknown call originated.
  • How much are 20 British pounds in dollars? Siri can do a lot of different monetary conversions, making her pretty good for vacations.
  • How old is Mitt Romney? Your query will need to be about someone famous enough for her to recognize, but you can ask a variety of questions about well-known people.
  • What time is it in London? Not only can Siri give you the time in locations around the world, she'll also be able to give you facts like when the sun will rise in that location.
  • What is the definition of a mouse? She may not be able to define Keynesian economics, but she can get most terms right.

17 Ways Siri Can Help You Become More Productive