How to Use Siri in macOS

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Since macOS Sierra, Apple has included its well-known personal assistant, Siri, for the Mac. Siri for Mac differs from iOS' version of Siri in several ways, taking advantage of the larger real estate of a Mac's display and the Finder file system. Users can also easily transfer or pin Siri's search results to the Notification Center or documents they're working on. To help you get started with Siri for Mac, we've put together a guide outlining what it's capable of.

    Activating Siri


    There are three ways to activate Siri in macOS. Two of the methods are visually obvious while the third is not.

    [*]The Dock icon sitting in between the Finder and Launchpad logos.
    [*]The Menu Bar toggle in between the Spotlight search and Notification Center icons.
    [*]The keyboard command. Hold the Command and Space buttons for approximately two seconds.

    Siri can be enabled two ways. While you're installing macOS, there'll be a prompt asking you whether you'd like to enable Siri. Additionally, Siri can be enabled and disabled in the Siri section of System Preferences. There are several other options for Siri in System Preferences, including language, voice, voice feedback, mic input and customized keyboard shortcuts.

    Click here to

    Article Link: How to Use Siri in macOS
  2. enthusiastic macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Needs keyboard input imo. You can't talk to Siri on a Mac always.
  3. tp31 macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2016
    Does anyone know why I don't get weather icons (i.e. sun, clouds, rain) for the forecasts when I ask Siri for the weather? It's a fresh install of Sierra.

    Attached Files:

  4. DoubleU macrumors regular

    Aug 10, 2008
    Check what details are showing up in Notification Centre, it looks like you're missing 'High' and 'Low' data as well as the icons so there may be an issue with the information being pulled in.
    Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 15.59.25.png
  5. hofer macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    I played around with Siri last night. For some reason I cannot get her to launch applications. I have tried saying both "open" and "launch" with the name of the application, but every time she says "cannot find an application with that name, do you wish to search for it in the app store?" this is true for all apps, Apple's and third party apps. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Article Link: How to Use Siri in macOS Sierra[/QUOTE]
  6. Jcknows0 macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2013
    0 Infinite Loop
    On a phone I can understand. I'm not sure why I need to speak to my desktop or laptop
  7. FilipeTeixeira macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2013
    Makes sense. Pressing a button to activate a voice activated assistant.
    BTW what's the emoji for sarcasm?
  8. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I don't like search in Windows 10, but Microsoft got one key thing right: voice search and "regular search" are one unified thing.

    Spotlight and Siri should be one icon in the menu bar, at the least, and probably should all be lumped together as "Siri," retiring the Spotlight brand.
  9. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    I don't understand why we can't just speak to the Mac for Siri to be activated. We can do this with Windows 10 by saying "Hey Cortanta" and not pressing any buttons or clicking anything.
  10. edc77 macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2015
    Have you got Little Snitch installed?
  11. actinide macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2016
    System preferences --> Siri --> push button to disable
  12. tardegrade macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2009
    Devon, UK.
    I'm impressed with the OS update but honestly Siri is just as hopeless on my Mac as it is on my iPhone. I gets roughly a third of requests right and then rarely interprets those requests correctly.

    I've got a Moto G Android phone as well and comparing Siri to OK Google, which gets almost everything right first time and actually provides the desired results as well, is just a night and day difference.

    It's shocking how far behind Apple are in this respect. Must try harder.
  13. tywebb13 macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2012
  14. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
  15. tywebb13 macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2012
    Well do you want to do it apple's way, or MY way?

    Apple don't want you to activate siri via voice command. But it's my computer, not apple's. So I am the one who will make that decision, not apple.

    Do it my way and you can activate it via voice command, regardless of what apple want.
  16. dorje macrumors newbie


    Oct 12, 2005
    Well for me Siri is a bust. It doesn't work with ethernet. I live in an environment where WiFi is spotty at best, so for reliability I am wired with Gigabit ethernet. It appears that in an Apple-centric world, ethernet is a thing of the past evidenced also by the new Gen AppleTV which still supports only 20th Century ethernet (10/100 Base T). Can't stream video over that bandwidth.

    If Siri is the one big thing that Sierra offers, I'll be downgrading back to Yosemite.
  17. dpace32 macrumors regular

    Aug 24, 2008
    Doesn't work with homekit :( first command I tried was to ask siri to shut off the lights...
  18. MagnusVonMagnum, Sep 21, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016

    MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2007
    If they already offered that now, how could they brag about that feature in macOS 10.13 "Death Valley" ??? ;)

    I'm wired with Gigabit here, but I can activate WiFi as well in conjunction with it specyfying it to use Gigabit first (e.g. this gets "Maps" working correctly as it apparently needs WiFi for some odd reason to detect location for reasons unknown seeing as the router feeds both). Likewise, I see no reason why Siri would "need" WiFi. I also don't understand the fixation with it given Gigabit is almost always much faster and more reliable than even the best 802.11AC connections.

    Odd in a way isn't it? Odd that my PowerMac Digital Audio had Gigabit STANDARD clear back in 2001 (a lifetime ago in computer years) yet even though Gigabit costs only pennies more than 10/100 these days, the industry chooses to pocket those few cents rather than offer improved performance. Other than a few oddball small company units, I don't believe ANY of the major media players out there offer Gigabit. But then there's no real reason to either given streaming simply doesn't need it.

    Utter nonsense. 50Mbps is more than sufficient for Netflix 4K streaming video and AppleTV 4th Gen isn't even capable of any form of 4K, but only 1080p maximum. Even Bluray's maximum quality setting tops out at 36Mbps! A 10/100 Ethernet card is more than capable, even with overhead as high as 20%, you're talking about an 80Mbps connection.

    Blu-Ray 4K (UHQ) tops out at 128Mbps which would be slightly more than a 10/100 card can handle (assuming one would want to rip and transmit it untouched around the house, assuming anyone can break its copy protection any time soon), but most streaming services will use far less.

    Why would you want to use Yosemite when it's god-awful SLOW compared to El Capitan in terms of GUI performance (i.e. on my 2012 Mac Mini Quad-i7 Server, El Capitan is about as fast as Mavericks/Mountain Lion was due to Metal support with 3D actually being faster if I'm to take my Borderlands 2 frame rates as any account which could not handle native resolution here in Mavericks, but plays perfectly smooth in El Capitan at native resolutions and high settings even with Borderlands 2 itself not using Metal).
  19. Artimus12 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 13, 2011
    I'm still trying to figure out why no "Hey Siri" option???
  20. tp31 macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2016
  21. tywebb13 macrumors 68020

    Apr 21, 2012
  22. jayducharme, Sep 22, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016

    jayducharme macrumors 68040


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    I solved my Siri problem. I have an OWC Thunderbolt dock attached to my iMac. The dock has a "USB Audio Codec" driver built into it. Even though I selected the internal microphone for Siri, apparently the iMac kept defaulting to the Thunderbolt audio. When I unplugged the dock, Siri functioned fine. Then when I reattached the dock, Siri continued to recognize the internal mic.

    One anecdote: when I tested out Siri, I said, "Good evening, Siri." The response was, "Good evening, but it's actually 8:07 in the morning." If nothing else, I can use Siri for an occasional laugh.

    EDIT: Well I spoke too soon. The USB Audio Codec took back control after a few minutes and Siri went dead. I guess I could plug a mic into the OWC input and use it that way. But it seems like a software fix would solve the problem.
  23. Felix01 macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
  24. telepati, Sep 22, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016

    telepati macrumors regular


    Jan 20, 2009
    Hi I have problem with the Siri. Siri doesnt show icons when the ask weather and no plus sign taking note? is it bug or can fix that?

    Edıt: I can see the all icons in Notification Center. But Siri doesnt show these icons.


    Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 19.21.27.png
    Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 19.21.17.png
    Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 21.54.54.png
  25. dorje macrumors newbie


    Oct 12, 2005
    "Why would you want to use Yosemite when it's god-awful SLOW compared to El Capitan in terms of GUI performance"

    I preferred not use El Capitan chiefly because it crippled the Disk Utility which I liked to use to manually optimize my several external disks; eliminated “root” access with it’s SIP restrictions; eliminated support for a few of my third party utilities that helped monitor disk performance; and eliminated the Apple menu access to Location and Network prefs. So I stayed with Yosemite for my video editing machine (MBP 17” 2011). A couple of these issues have been addressed with Sierra (the Apple Menu issue; Raid formatting in DU - albeit an apparent last-minute menu design kluge) but I am going to wait for additional OS updates before I decide whether or not to move to Sierra on the editing machine which runs solely on ethernet connected to my Arris Surfboard 6141 (Comcast Blast 180 Mb/s download).

    I have updated my MBA 13” 2013 i7 machine to Sierra which I use in the wild pretty much exclusively. Setting aside the criticisms I have above, I haven’t noticed any speed improvements with Sierra vis a vis Yosemite over AC Wi-Fi - although many off-site locations that I frequent may not yet support AC wireless(??). Siri support just doesn’t excite me that much simply because it doesn’t work as well as advertised.

    With regards to streaming video, our site ( features almost 200 MP4/M4V video streams with max resolutions of 720p or lower, none of which will work if re-rendered in 4K or even 1080p (depending on file size) given today’s bandwidth restrictions - zero. We’ve tried.
    In house, our 3rd Gen Apple TV (1080p max) gags when streaming content at 10/100 BASE T speeds. We have to wait 30 minutes or more for the download to progress before we can begin watching content especially for movies -- the Comcast Blast download speeds being choked off by built-in device bandwidth restrictions.

    Thanks for the informed feedback.

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