Apple was among the first technology companies to put a voice-based virtual assistant in your pocket. And while Siri now has company among iOS assistants, Apple's digital helper remains a big part of our lives, thanks to its ever-expanding bag of tricks. It started with 2016's iOS 10 update, which let Siri tap into select third-party apps. iOS 11 added even more features to Siri, highlighted by a more natural-sounding assistant.
Sometimes it's hard to remember all the things Siri can do for you, from composing text messages to acting as your personal DJ. To help you remember just how powerful that digital assistant living on your phone can be, here's a look at some of the cool things Siri can do — some of which may surprise you.
Image Credit: Philip Michaels/Tom's Guide
Siri picked up a new trick with the iOS 11.2.2 update, where you can receive a daily digest of headlines from a limited selection of news sources. Say "Hey Siri, give me the news" and Siri will, by default, start playing a news report from NPR through the built-in Podcasts app. Prefer to get your news from a different source? You can ask Siri to switch to Fox News, CNN or The Washington Post for a new audio report of the news.
The feature appears to have arrived for Siri in advance of this year's anticipated release of Apple's HomePod speaker. Note that you have to specifically use the Hey Siri command (though variations along the lines of "what's the news" will launch the audio report); pressing the Home button and asking Siri to give you the news will instead summon up headlines from iOS 11's News app.
Starting with iOS 11, Siri can make sure you're no longer tongue-tied when you're traveling in a new country. The assistant can translate words and phrases into French, Italian, German, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Siri speaks and spells out your translated phrase for you and gives you the option of playing it back, just in case the words don't come trippingly off your own tongue.
Siri's sports smarts are one of the digital assistant's strengths, as anyone who's asked about the latest scores, upcoming games or player stats can tell you. But Siri particularly shines come Super Bowl time, when asking "Who's Going to Win the Super Bowl?" not only gives you the odds but also the kickoff time and the TV schedule. As you get closer to the big game, you'll be able to pepper Siri with questions about the players or alternative programming like the Puppy Bowl. And if you've got an Apple TV with built-in Siri, you can ask the assistant to tune into the game for you on February 4.
Need a ride? If you're running iOS 10 or later, Siri can call one for you. Just say, "Hey Siri, get me a ride to the airport" (or wherever you're going). Depending on which ride-hailing apps you have installed on your iPhone, Siri can offer you an Uber or a Lyft. (It also provides a prompt to find local taxis, though you'll have to call them yourself.) Confirm the request, and Siri will get a car for you without the need to open the app in question.
Ever since iOS 10, your iPhone can remember where you parked your car by recording exactly when and where your phone disconnected from your car's Bluetooth system. Now you can just ask Siri "Where did I leave my car?" and you'll get an answer in map form.
Siri tries its best to understand what you're saying, but sometimes it's quicker just to type a question. iOS 11 adds a feature that helps you make Siri understand your question in the form of a Tap to Edit button that lets you correct any misheard words. Siri will even take a stab at guessing at what you might have been saying.
If you owe a friend a few bucks for the beers you had the other night, you don't have to wade through a bunch of app screens to send the money. Starting with iOS 10, you could tell Siri "send Cameron five bucks," and the assistant would carry out your request using a third-party app like Square Cash or Venmo. Since iOS 11 adds the ability to send money to friends and family using Apple Pay, Siri can handle that now, too — assuming you've set up that feature in Apple Pay, that is.