Weapons of voice: our 11 favourite ways to use Siri

Thought Siri was just a joke machine? Here are our favourite practical uses for Apple's voice assistant...

Apple's Siri has been busy recently, learning in-jokes for Game of Thrones fans (try asking her "is Jon Snow dead'?) and helping the Cookie Monster shoot Apple's latest ad.  

Which is all very nice, but is Apple's voice-controlled assistant useful for anything other than one-liners and pop culture easter eggs?

Actually, yes, as we found when we polled the Stuff team on how we Siri to help us in our daily lives. Since the iPhone 6S introduced hands-free 'hey, Siri' mode (without the need for your phone be plugged into power), we've been increasingly call on Siri in all sorts of situations - here are our favourites:


1. Setting cooking timers

Say this: "Hey Siri, set a timer for five minutes'

Long before the Cookie Monster discovered Siri, we were bellowing at her to set oven timers as we rinsed marinade from our fingers.

It's not the kind of functionality that'll give Google DeepMind sleepless nights, but it is surprisingly useful once you make it a kitchen habit.

2. Instant Shazam-ing

Say this: "Hey Siri, what's this song?"

We still regularly call on Shazam's ability to name any song that's playing within earshot, but sometimes the few seconds it takes to find and open the app can be enough to miss out on putting a name to that melody.

That's why this is one of our favourite Siri commands – whether you're driving, cooking or just tuned into the last few seconds of a radio show, it'll speedily hunt down the song's info and, if you're an Apple Music user, file it in your collection if you say "add to my music".

3. Turning out the lights

Say this: 'Hey Siri, time for bed'

You can now get Siri talking to Philips Hue lights (without the need for IFTTT recipes) thanks to Apple HomeKit.

The new Hue Bridge (which comes as part of the Starter pack) is HomeKit-enabled out of the box. It lets you customise the phrases that prompt Siri to turn out the lights. And, as the video above shows, we've been playing all sorts of light-based games, including 'turn my lights orange' (for those, er, Holland-themed house parties).