Train­ing Siri

Build stronger re­la­tion­ships us­ing your voice-con­trolled per­sonal as­sis­tant

Mac Format - - SECRETS OF SIRI -

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.

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