How to perform Siri queries without using your voice with Type to Siri on macOS and iOS

Posted:
in macOS edited March 2018
Siri is an extremely handy digital assistant, but at times when it's best to keep quiet, it becomes a challenge to use the voice-centric tool. This AppleInsider guide will fill you in on how to use Type to Siri, Apple's existing solution to the problem that enables Siri to be used with a keyboard, on both iOS and macOS.




Type to Siri is one of Apple's accessibility features for iPhone and iPad, as well as for Mac, which changes how the digital assistant fundamentally works. Instead of speaking the query, users are instead presented with the opportunity to simply write what they wanted to request, then Siri interprets the text and responds in its usual way.

While it is primarily included as an alternative way to use Siri without a voice, Type to Siri also helps in cases where Siri cannot successfully interpret an uncommon word or name. By typing it in, this gives Siri a better chance of understanding what is being asked, as opposed to relying on successfully pronouncing it first time.

Type to Siri on macOS

To enable Type to Siri, click the Apple logo in the Menu then System Preferences. Select Accessibility, which will be on the right-hand side of the fourth row of icons.



Scroll down the list on the left-hand side and select Siri. Select the checkbox labeled "Enable Type to Siri."




As the "Hey Siri" trigger is not available on macOS, it is worth considering setting up a keyboard shortcut. It is available from the Siri Preferences accessible from the bottom of the current Accessibility window, or through System Preferences by selecting Siri.

The top dropdown box of this menu is used to nominate the keyboard shortcut to summon Siri, or to turn this option off. Initial suggestions include the Command-Space shortcut already used for Spotlight Search, Option-Space, and Function-Space, but you can also select your own through the Customize option.



To use Type to Siri, summon Siri by clicking on the Siri icon in the Dock, the Siri icon near the clock on the Menu bar, or by pressing the predefined keyboard shortcut. Once the Siri window appears, start typing the query, as the cursor is already ready in the new Type to Siri text entry box, and hit return to submit.




Siri will provide responses in its usual way, but will keep the new text entry box visible below any displayed results just in case a follow-up query is required.

Type to Siri on iOS

Enter the Settings app, scroll down to General on the left-hand column, and select it. On the right-hand side, select Accessibility.




Scroll down to the Interaction section and select Siri. Lastly, tap the Type to Siri toggle to turn it on.



To use Type to Siri, summon Siri as normal, namely by holding the Home button, or on the iPhone X, holding the side power button. This will bring up a Siri window with a text entry box and the onscreen keyboard, though if you have a physical keyboard connected to the iPad, it will leave the onscreen keyboard off.




Type your query and press done, or hit return on the physical keyboard, to submit. The text entry box will remain while Siri's results are on screen, with the now-hidden onscreen keyboard brought back by tapping the entry box.




Note that you can still bring up Siri by saying "Hey, Siri" and continue with a verbal request but it won't immediately bring up the Type to Siri box in this case. You will either have to wait for Siri to give up listening for query for it to appear at the bottom of the screen, or tap the initial "Hey Siri" query to edit it if you want to type the command without waiting.
jahblade

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Nice tip. Wasn't aware of that functionality at all. 
    jahbladerepressthisrandominternetperson
  • Reply 2 of 11
    kiowavtkiowavt Posts: 74member
    One thing I discovered when one does not want to speak aloud to Siri to find things or dictate. You can hold the phone/microphone close to your mouth and whisper and it works rather well. Try it. Worked way better than I expected for when one wants to be rather quiet.
    repressthis
  • Reply 3 of 11
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 175member
    Most of the time Siri doesn't work with my iPhone 7 does anyone else with a iPhone 7 have the same problem?
  • Reply 4 of 11
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,622member
    Nice tip. Wasn't aware of that functionality at all. 
    You can find all sorts of neat stuff in the Accessibility preferences panel.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    remereme Posts: 74member
    Agreed, nice tip.  But honestly, when I'm typing a question, it's more likely to Google.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    mwhite said:
    Most of the time Siri doesn't work with my iPhone 7 does anyone else with a iPhone 7 have the same problem?
    Functions as advertised on my iPhone 7. My GF has an 8 Plus and it often gives her grief. All of her services tied to iCloud are wonkie AF. This has been a persistent promblem dating back multiple generations of iPhones she has own. Something corrupted her iCloud account and now everything from Reminder app to iClould email works like it’s permanently stuck in beta. I think she just needs to start a new iCloud account. Who knows?  :/
    mwhite
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Siri is an extremely handy digital assistant, but at times when it's best to keep quiet, it becomes a challenge to use the voice-centric tool. This AppleInsider guide will fill you in on how to use Type to Siri, Apple's existing solution to the problem that enables Siri to be used with a keyboard, on both iOS and macOS.


    Scroll down the list on the left-hand side and select Siri. Select the checkbox labeled "Enable Type to Siri."





    Siri doesn't show up on Accessibility screen for me on Sierra (10.12.6). Is this a High Sierra thing?
  • Reply 8 of 11
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,809member
    reme said:
    Agreed, nice tip.  But honestly, when I'm typing a question, it's more likely to Google.
    You can also type instructions like " turn on my living room lights." Not just for queries.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,504member
    In iOS wouldnt it be just easier to swipe and type in your question? It doesn’t require turning on type to SIRI in accessibility.
    What’s up with answers.com btw?

    edited March 2018
  • Reply 10 of 11
    mwhitemwhite Posts: 175member
    mwhite said:
    Most of the time Siri doesn't work with my iPhone 7 does anyone else with a iPhone 7 have the same problem?
    Functions as advertised on my iPhone 7. My GF has an 8 Plus and it often gives her grief. All of her services tied to iCloud are wonkie AF. This has been a persistent promblem dating back multiple generations of iPhones she has own. Something corrupted her iCloud account and now everything from Reminder app to iClould email works like it’s permanently stuck in beta. I think she just needs to start a new iCloud account. Who knows?  :/
    I had a 6s it worked great with Siri then received the 7 from my daughter she got the X and sold the 6s to my sister, I wish I had the 6s back again so I think it's with the phone, it's still under warranty so I think I will make a 140 mile trip to get it checked out and have the battery changed.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    I don't have it either, and I use Sierra, so I guess it must be ...
    Siri is an extremely handy digital assistant, but at times when it's best to keep quiet, it becomes a challenge to use the voice-centric tool. This AppleInsider guide will fill you in on how to use Type to Siri, Apple's existing solution to the problem that enables Siri to be used with a keyboard, on both iOS and macOS.


    Scroll down the list on the left-hand side and select Siri. Select the checkbox labeled "Enable Type to Siri."





    Siri doesn't show up on Accessibility screen for me on Sierra (10.12.6). Is this a High Sierra thing?
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