Build stronger relationships using your voice-controlled personal assistant
Siri’s ability to decipher what you’re talking about often borders on the uncanny, but it’s the system’s ability to learn that really sets it apart.
You can teach Siri all sorts of things, from what you would like it to call you, to the correct pronunciation of places and names. Teaching Siri your family relationships is one of the best ways to make the system feel natural to use: saying “Tell my mum I’ll be there in an hour” feels much more normal than using your mother’s full name and surname every time you want to contact her. This is surprisingly important: the more informal you can be with Siri, the more comfortable you’ll feel using it. In turn, you’ll use it more and the amount of time you save over picking up your device and interacting with its touchscreen will add up to reach truly impressive levels.
With that goal in mind, we’ll show you below how to give Siri verbal commands that train it to recognise who your friends and family are.
1 Set up a contact
In Contacts, enter someone’s details. We’re setting up a sibling, but the great thing about how Siri handles nicknames is that any contact can have one attached. So, setting someone up as your mechanic is as easy as setting them up as your spouse.
2 Establish a relationship
The next step is to tell Siri who your new contact is to you. This is breathtakingly simple: in this example, simply saying “Will Stevenson is my brother” is enough. Siri will take a second to confirm the relationship with you – and that’s it!
3 Try it out
Send a celebratory text message to make sure everything’s working. You can use your familial name for everything on Siri, from texting to emailing, and from a simple voice call to finding out where someone is using the Find My Friends app.
4 Different connections
Siri recognises loads of relationships. The obvious ones (spouses/partners, boy/ girlfriends, parents and siblings) are catered for, and so are bosses, in-laws, plumbers and so on. In fact, any word you choose can be used as a shortcut to someone.
5 Tricky pronunciations
Phonetic spellings are a good way to head off pronunciation problems. Adding a phonetic spelling is simple: choose a contact with a tricky name and tap Edit. Scroll down and choose ‘add field’, and then choose the name you want to spell phonetically.
6 Spell it out for Siri
Enter your new spelling; a short think about exactly how you’re going to spell it will yield benefits in the long run. You can also try telling Siri how to pronounce a name directly, but typing a phonetic spelling is likely to be more effective.
It’s a cinch to teach Siri about your familial and work relationships using some simple voice commands.