Unlike most of Apple’s other apps and services, it’s not always obvious when Siri gets new features. Even if you’re an avid Siri user, it’s impossible to catch them all, especially when half of them aren’t even mentioned by Apple. But that’s what we’re here for, and this is everything you need to know about Siri in the latest group of features.
Siri is designed to make interacting with your iPhone and other devices that support it as effortless as possible. This often means interacting hands-free with your iPhone using Hey Siri, but that’s not all Siri has to offer. The virtual assistant gets more intelligent with each new iteration and gives you plenty of tools to navigate your iPhone and get the most out of it.
The latest group of features comes with iOS 16.0 and above. Keep reading to see all the new things Siri can do on your iPhone.
1. Restart your iPhone
You used to be able to reboot your iPhone anytime by forcing it to reboot with a clunky sequence of buttons (which isn’t a good thing to do unless you’re having trouble), using AssistiveTouch, or via voice control. Siri wouldn’t work, as shown in the left screenshot below.
On iOS 16.0 and above, Siri can restart your iPhone for you. Launch Siri from the Side or Home button, Hey Siri, or Type to Siri, then ask it to “restart iPhone” or “reboot phone.” Your iPhone must be unlocked with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode before Siri tries anything. Then it will ask you to confirm that you want to reboot, as shown in the right screenshot below; tap or say “Restart.”
2. Run ready-made shortcuts
On iOS 16.0 and later, Siri can run out-of-the-box shortcuts of your installed apps without any additional settings. This is possible thanks to the new App Intents API, which allows developers to create built-in, ready-to-use shortcuts for their apps. Instead of creating your own shortcuts for common tasks in the Shortcuts app, they’re already ready to go.
Not all apps include shortcuts out of the box, but you can view a list of them all in the App Shortcuts section in the Shortcuts app. To use them, summon Siri and say the title of the app shortcut. Some shortcuts may support synonyms, so you may not need to use the exact phrase to run the command. You can also run them from Spotlight Search or Shortcuts itself.
3. Find out what you can do
Siri can be very useful, but users often don’t know all the ways they can use it. On iOS 16.0 and later, if you launch Siri from the Side or Home button, Hey Siri, or Type to Siri, “What can I do here?” will help you figure out what’s possible. This feature is available for iPhone XS and newer models.
If you’re in an app that supports app shortcuts (see above), the pre-made shortcuts will show up, but you can also ask something like, “What can I do with [App Name].” If there are few or no supported Siri actions for a specific app, Siri will suggest other things you can use Siri for, such as turning on the flashlight.
4. Convert text to emoji
You can use Siri on iOS 16 and later to insert emoji characters into messages and notes by saying the name of the emoji followed by the word “emoji.” For example, you can say “smiley face emoji”, “cat emoji” and “heart emoji” one after the other and Siri will convert them all into the corresponding emoji. Before the update, Siri spelled the words instead.
This feature is available for iPhone XS and newer models. And it works for any Apple or third-party app that allows Siri to add or post text, such as Mail, Messages, Notes, Reminders, and WhatsApp. You can also add emoji using the dictation tool in apps.
5. Hang up calls
You may not always be able to press a button on your iPhone to end a call in the FaceTime or Phone apps, and Siri can now help you in those scenarios. Just say “Hey Siri, hang up” when you want to end a call and Siri will hang up. The other conversation partners will hear you say it, but it is certainly worth it if you want to end a call hands-free.
This feature is available on iOS 16.0 and above for iPhone 11 and newer models. However, it also works on iPhone XS, XS Maximum, and XR when using AirPods or Beats headphones with Siri. It’s not enabled by default, so you’ll need to go to Settings -> Siri & Search -> Hang Up Call and enable the switch. You can also do this from Settings -> Accessibility -> Siri -> Hang up call.
6. Adjust Siri’s pause time
Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Siri on iOS 16.0 and later, and you’ll find a section where you can adjust the length of Siri’s pause time, i.e. the amount of time between when you finish speaking and when Siri answers. If Siri constantly responds to you before asking your entire question or command, change the length from Default to Longer or Longest to ensure your entire request is captured.
7. Stronger security for Siri data synced to iCloud
On iOS 16.2 and later, Siri Shortcuts synced to your iCloud account can be protected with end-to-end encryption. For added security, you should enable the new Advanced Data Protection feature in your iCloud account settings. It requires you to use two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and an iPhone passcode or password, and you must have at least one recovery contact or key.
If Advanced Data Protection is not enabled, Siri Shortcuts, along with other data, defaults to standard security, which “encrypts data in transit and stores it in an encrypted format at rest.”
8. Announce notifications on the speaker
We could already have Siri announce time-sensitive alerts, instant messages, or all app notifications through CarPlay, AirPods, and some Beats headphones. But on iOS 16.0 and above, there is an option to “Announce Notifications on Speaker” from Settings -> Accessibility -> Siri.
Enabling the toggle will reveal an “Announce Notifications” submenu, a shortcut to the same options available at Settings -> Siri & Search -> Announce Notifications.
As before, Siri won’t interrupt you and will listen after reading the notifications to see if you want to respond without having to yell “Hey Siri”. You’ll notice this most on your lock screen or when you’re not using your iPhone, as long as your iPhone isn’t set to silent mode.
9. Announce notifications on hearing aids
If you use a Made for iPhone hearing aid, you can finally have Siri announce notifications when you’re wearing it. The setting on iOS 16.0 and above should be available from Settings -> Siri & Search -> Announce Notifications. If you don’t see it, you don’t have any MFi hearing aids or implants set up on your iPhone.
10. Enable/Disable auto-answer calls
Previously, you had to go to Settings -> Accessibility -> Touch -> Call Audio Routing -> Auto Answer Calls to enable or disable the setting that lets Siri answer calls for you in FaceTime and Phone. On iOS 16 and later, you can ask Siri to enable (or disable) auto-answer, saving you a lot of time. Still, you’ll need to go into the auto-answering preferences to adjust the wait time before Siri picks up.
11. Enable automatic sending of messages
It’s not new that you can use Siri to compose and send a message, but you always have to manually confirm that you want to send it. However, with iOS 16 and later, you can bypass the manual confirmation in Settings -> Siri & Search -> Send Messages Automatically, and you can control whether it works through CarPlay, Headphones, or Hearing Aids. Once enabled, Siri will automatically send the message after four or five seconds unless you cancel it.
12. Shazammed Songs Finally Synced
You could already ask Hey Siri to identify a song that’s playing with Shazam, but the results wouldn’t sync with the Shazam app and Control Center’s Music Recognition controls. On iOS 16 and above, everything finally syncs, so you’ll never have trouble finding a song you’ve Shazamed. Make sure both Shazam and Music Recognition are turned on in your iCloud settings.
13. More offline functionality
On iOS 16 and later, Siri can handle even more requests when your iPhone is offline. This includes interactions with smart home controls (HomeKit devices), notifications, voicemails, and intercom requests. Extended offline support works on iPhone XS and later.
14. More accurate app clip suggestions
App Clips can show up in the Siri Suggestions widget (and Spotlight) when your iPhone thinks you need them, but iOS 16 and later adds precise location suggestions, further increasing the chances of finding the right App Clip on the screen. see the right time. For example, the Siri Suggestions widget can show you a restaurant’s app clip to pay for your meal when you eat out. (App clips are parts of an app that work in place without installing the entire app.)
15. Prefer silent responses
Siri voice feedback settings were pretty confusing on iOS 16.1 and earlier, but iOS 16.2 clarifies things by adding a new “Prefer silent responses” option. In previous iOS 16 versions, there were only choices for “Automatic” and “Prefer Voice Answers”.
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