While Apple’s Siri battles Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for the voice assistant throne, macOS users should look no further. Starting in 2016, Apple has baked Siri into every macOS version since Mojave, and you can also activate it on older Macs, too. While most of its features duplicate those on iOS, there are a few Mac-specific commands that could surprise you. Here are some of the most surprising things you can do with Siri on your Mac.
Finding Files or Folders
If you need to find a group of files, a folder or an individual file, just ask Siri. Sure, you could do this with Spotlight, but doing it with your voice is so much cooler. Say “Hey Siri, find PowerPoint documents created last week” or “Siri, show me photos from January 2020.” Siri will double-check your command and then take you right to your result.
The days of reading your own email are over. The days of having Siri read your emails to you are just beginning. To start this action, say “Hey Siri, read emails,” and you will see a preview of any unread emails. These emails appear within the Siri window, and if you tap on any of them with the mouse, you can jump to the email and respond. If you don’t take any action, Siri will continue to read through all of your unread emails, letting you hear the subject line, sender’s name and the date and time the email hit your inbox.
Google Web Searches
Google and Siri have been friends for a little under three years, enabling web searches right from the Siri window. All you have to do is say “Hey Siri” and proceed with your query. Search results are displayed within the Siri window and with a quick tap on any result, you can jump right into the web browser. What if you want to find photos of the new MacBook Air on the internet? Just say, “Hey Siri, find photos of the 2020 MacBook Air on the internet,” and you will see the top twelve searches from the Web.
While Google is plenty useful for web searches, what if you already know what site you want to open? This one is easy. Just say, “Hey Siri, open maketecheasier.com,” and it will open up in Safari.
Drag Siri Results
Did you know you can drag Siri results directly into another macOS application or window? Let’s say you want to use one of the MacBook Air 2020 images you found via a Google search for a research paper. Find the image result through Siri, and you can then drag the image directly into a Pages document. You can do this with multiple applications and multiple search results.
About Your Mac
This macOS-only Siri query isn’t one you are likely to use very often, but that doesn’t make it’s any less helpful. In the event you want to know some information about your computer, Siri can help. Let’s say you need to know your Mac serial number to make an appointment at the Genius Bar. Ask “Hey Siri, what is my Mac’s serial number?” ” Alternatively, you can ask Siri how much storage you have, how much RAM or what type of processor is installed. Sure, you can go right to the Apple logo at the upper-left corner on the menu bar to find out of this information but doing it with Siri is so much more fun.
This one is as easy as it is fun. Asking Siri to launch the Safari browser is as simple as saying, “Hey Siri, launch Safari.” You can do the same with any installed application including Apple’s default apps and third-party applications. If you don’t have the application installed, Siri will direct you to the Mac App Store to install the application. It will even open the App Store directly to that page. You can also make your request a little more general and ask Siri to open the applications folder instead.
Control Basic Settings
Who needs to press the buttons to raise or lower the volume for music or movies anymore when Siri will do it for you? “Hey Siri, raise the volume.” Want to increase or decrease screen brightness? Want to activate or deactivate Bluetooth? Wi-Fi? You can do all of these tasks just by asking Siri.
Siri is full of charm and personality. While it doesn’t quite rank up there with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it more than holds its own. For Mac users, it’s really your only choice, so getting to know these Siri surprises can make your day-to-day computing sessions a little easier and a lot more fun. What’s your favorite Siri tip?