Amazing things you never realised Siri on the Apple Mac could do

Use Siri to control the hardware on the Apple Mac and enable Type to Siri to type your queries instead of speaking them.

Siri started as an assistant on the iPhone and iPad, but it has also been in macOS for the last couple of versions too. Here are some of the less obvious uses for Siri in macOS High Sierra.

Siri can perform useful tasks like getting weather forecasts, finding information, creating appointments in Calendar and so on. However, there are some less obvious uses for Siri on the Mac and it also has learnt some new tricks in the latest version of macOS.

Control the hardware

Siri can control certain hardware settings, for example, click the Siri orb in the menu bar or press Shift+Ctrl+S to activate it and then say “Turn on Bluetooth”. Siri responds with “OK, I’ve turned on Bluetooth.” It also displays a Bluetooth switch from System Preferences like this.

Turn on Bluetooth with Siri on the Apple Mac

Siri can also be told to “Turn off Bluetooth.

What else can it control? How about the screen brightness? Say “Increase the brightness.” and Siri responds by turning up the screen brightness and saying “It’s a little brighter now.

Increase the screen brightness with Siri on the Apple Mac

The brightness can be turned down with “Decrease the brightness.” When the maximum brightness is reached, Siri responds with “OK, this is as bright as it gets.

Increase the screen brightness with Siri on the Apple Mac

Predictably, the audio volume can be adjusted too. Just say “Increase the volume.” Siri increases the volume, but also displays a volume slider so that you can make manual adjustments if you want to. You can substitute sound for volume and Siri understands.

The sound can be decreased and Siri also recognises “Mute” and “Unmute” to disable or enable the sound.

Control the volume with Siri on the Apple Mac

Of course, there are keys on the keyboard to adjust the brightness and volume and to be homest it is quicker and easier than activating Siri and telling it what you want. However, controlling Bluetooth with Siri saves you having to go to System Preferences if you do not have the menu bar icon enabled.

Type instead of speaking

Some people do not like talking to their computer and sometimes it just isn’t possible, such as when using your MacBook in a library. Sometimes you may be in a public place like a coffee shop surrounded by people and don’t want them to hear everything you are doing.

For various reasons, talking to Siri is not always possible or desirable. For this reason you can type your commands and questions into Siri instead. You can use Siri in silence.

Enable Type to Siri

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click Accessibility
  3. Select Siri in the list on the left
  4. Tick the checkbox, Enable Type to Siri

Enable Type to Siri to interact with Siri using the keyboard instead of speech on the Apple Mac

Use Type to Siri

This is straightforward and either press the Siri shortcut Shift+Ctrl+S or click Siri in the menu bar. Click in the Siri box and type your command or question. For example, I entered “Make an appointment to meet bob for lunch tomorrow at 1.30 pm.

Type in commands and questions to Siri on the Apple Mac

That is a fairly complicated command, but Siri coped well with it. It asked which email address to use because I have two in Contacts.

Create a Calendar appointment using Siri on the Apple Mac

Siri then proceeded to create the appointment in Calendar and presented buttons to cancel or confirm it.

Create a Calendar appointment using Siri on the Apple Mac

If you are a fast typist, Type to Siri could be more useful that speaking to Siri. It is certainly useful to anyone that wants to interact with Siri silently.

 

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