11. Check Your Mac’s Free Space
Apple can be pretty stingy when it comes to base storage capacities in Mac SSDs. The company hopes to address this issue with the introduction of a feature called Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra, but it’s still a good idea to keep tabs on your available free space.
If you don’t want to launch a Finder window or turn on detailed desktop icons for your Mac’s storage drives, you can just ask Siri “How much free space do I have?” Siri will answer the question with the overall remaining space and, if desired, you can drill down further to see how your Mac’s storage space is currently allocated.
12. Search the Web
If you’re focused on finishing that report before the deadline, you don’t want to break focus for a Web search. With Siri on the Mac, you can search the Web without needing to leave your document or project.
Just ask Siri to “Search the Web” for a desired phrase or even a specific type of content, such as images. Not only will you receive the results in Siri’s window, but you can also drag and drop results such as URLs and images directly into your documents, apps, or mail messages. Talk about handy!
There’s one small issue that might be of concern to some users, however. Thanks to a deal that Apple inked with Microsoft back in 2014, Spotlight and Siri will search the Web via Bing instead of Google, and there’s no way to change it. Bing is a fine search engine for most users, but those who prefer Google’s algorithms may find this to be a deal breaker.
13. Send Text Messages & Tweets
Need to send an iMessage or text, or want to tweet an interesting thought? Don’t bother launching Messages or the Twitter app. Just ask Siri!
For iMessage/Text, tell Siri to “Text” or “Message” a contact, followed by the content of your message. If you have multiple contacts with the same first name, Siri will ask you to clarify the intended recipient. Alternatively, you can refer to them by their full name while dictating to Siri.
When it comes to Twitter, you’ll need to set up your Twitter account in System Preferences > Internet Accounts first, before Siri will be able to tweet for you. This also works for other compatible social media accounts: Facebook and LinkedIn.
Don’t worry if you misspeak during your initial dictation; Siri will always show you the tweet or message before sending it to confirm the correct recipient and message contents.
14. Be Your Personal DJ
Feeling in the mood for some tunes? Just ask Siri to queue up a hot playlist! Siri can recognize the metadata of your iTunes music collection and will play specific tracks, artists, albums, or playlists as requested. If you mention an artist or genre that’s not in your local iTunes library, Siri can access your Apple Music subscription and play tracks or radio stations (e.g., “play some country music,” or “play this week’s top 40 songs).
15. Customize Siri’s Voice & Shortcut
We’ll wrap up this list with something that’s not about what Siri can do, but rather how you can customize Siri to fit your preferences. Just head to System Preferences > Siri. Here, you can change Siri’s language, voice (including male and female versions in multiple accents), input microphone (if you have an external mic), and the keyboard shortcut which launches Siri (by default, holding down Command-Space).
Finally, if you’re just a bit too creeped out by the prospect of a self-learning AI living in your Mac, you can disable Siri altogether by unchecking the designated box on the left of the window. But just be careful, because we’re pretty sure that once Siri goes all Skynet on us and takes over the world, she’ll remember which of the meatbags turned her off.
Just the Beginning
These 15 Siri Mac tips are just a sample of what Siri is able to do in macOS Sierra, and thanks to Siri’s cloud-based nature, her list of capabilities is growing. Do you have your own favorite Siri functions, or ones you’re most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!
Base design for featured image via Rami Brika.