How to Make Siri Understand You Better

If you have an iPhone, using Siri as your main voice assistant just makes sense. But, if you’ve been having some issues lately getting her to hear you properly, here are some things you can do:

Redo the Voice Training for “Hey Siri”

If you take advantage of “Hey Siri” on your iPhone, you could benefit from redoing the voice training that you were actuated to do when you first set up the feature.

  • Open up the Settings app, tap the “Siri & Search” category, and then turn off the “Listen for ‘Hey Siri’” toggle.

  • Wait a few seconds, and turn the toggle back on. You’ll be prompted to set up Hey Siri, so just hit the “Continue” button.

Next, you’ll be asked to say “Hey Siri” a few times (as well as a couple of other phrases) so that Siri can learn your voice. To help optimize this is to place your iPhone on a table but within eyesight so that you can read the screen. This supposedly helps Hey Siri to hear you better if you ever call for her when your iPhone isn’t directly in front of you.

  • Then you hit the “Finish” button.

Odds are that retraining Siri will fix many of the problems you’re having, but we do have a few more tips for making Siri easier to use…

Take Advantage of Phonetic Contact Names

If you have a friend with a name that’s either difficult to pronounce or spelled in an odd way. Chances are that Siri pronounces the name wrongly every time and has a hard time understanding the name when you say it. You can train her to hear it correctly.

To start, summon Siri and say “Show me [name].” In this case, we’ll use Tom Hage as an example because Siri pronounces it as “Hay-je,” when it should be pronounced “Hay-gee.”

After Siri brings up the contact info for that person, say “You’re pronouncing it wrong.” Siri will then ask you how to pronounce the first name (Tom). Say “Tom.”


Siri then brings up a selection of different pronunciations. Since “Tom” is a pretty common name, Siri won’t have much trouble pronouncing it correctly. Choose the best pronunciation by tapping on “Select” next to the best one.

You’ll then repeat this same process, but for the last name (Hage).

Siri will then be able to identify who you’re talking about when you say that person’s name, rather than get confused by the pronunciation.

You can also teach Siri who someone is by a different name, such as referring to “Jane Smith” as your mom, instead of having to say her name.

Give Smarthome Devices Unique, but Simple Names

If you use Siri to control smarthome devices around your house, consider giving these devices simple names to make voice commands a bit easier.

You probably already did this when you first set up your smarthome gear, but if not, do so. Devices can be renamed from the device’s own app or within the Home app.

The steps for renaming devices within their own apps vary, as a result the details are not here. But in the Home app, you can long-press or 3D Touch a device and then tap the “Details” option. From there, tap on the name of the device, and then type any name you want.

For instance, if you originally named your thermostat “Ecobee3,” you’re probably better off changing it to “Thermostat” so you can just tell Siri to turn the “Thermostat” down to 68. More than likely it’s already named something simple and logical, but if not, now is your chance to do that.

Remember: You Don’t Have to Pause After Saying “Hey Siri”

If you have Hey Siri enabled for hands-free voice activation, remember that you don’t have to pause after saying the wake word.

Many users wait a second or two before shouting out their voice command to give Siri time to start listening. However, she begins to listen the instant you say “Hey Siri.”

The same also goes for other voice assistants, like Alexa and Google Assistant.

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