How to use Siri's new features in iOS 6

Siri has learned a few new tricks in iOS 6, including how to launch apps, update your Facebook or Twitter status, and make restaurant reservations. Here's how you can use them.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Siri was useful on iOS 5, but it often felt like it should be capable of more. With iOS 6, Siri has gained some new capabilities, all of which are nice additions to the personal assistant on iOS.

Siri can now make reservations, give you movie info, keep you up-to-date on sports, launch apps, and post to Twitter and Facebook on your behalf. Let's start by taking a look at the process to make a reservation using Siri.

Twitter and Facebook

Having to type out a tweet or status update for Facebook is so 2011. In 2012 and beyond, thanks to Siri, you'll be able to have your updates sent for you by simply speaking.

To tweet, launch Siri and say something like "Tweet Siri is so cool"; Siri will compose a tweet on your behalf with your message. If you want to mention someone from your address book, add a hash tag, or include location in the tweet, you can. You'll need to have the person's Twitter name in your contacts in order to mention him, however.

Saying something like "Tweet mention CNET How To is full of iOS 6 how to tips hash tag iOS 6" will result in:

"@CNETHowTo is full of iOS 6 how to tips #iOS6"

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

You can also use Siri to make status updates with Facebook. Saying "Post to Facebook" is the easiest way to start the process, and anything you say after "Facebook" will be placed in your status update.

However, a word a warning: Not long after iOS 6 became available for download, users noticed that, by default, people can make Facebook and Twitter updates using Siri even if the phone is locked with a passcode . That means your prankster friends could easily grab your phone while you're not looking and post updates to your Facebook and Twitter pages without ever needing to know your passcode.

To block the use of Siri on a locked device, go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Siri. Then slide the toggle button to the off position. Just be aware that this means you won't be able to use Siri to do anything from the lock screen without entering in your passcode.

Reservations

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
In order for Siri to create a reservation for you, you'll need to have the OpenTable app from the App Store installed and set up. Siri doesn't actually call the restaurant; instead it interfaces with OpenTable.

Once you have that app installed, launch Siri and ask for a reservation for the night, time, and number of guests you want. You can request a specific venue or let Siri give you some recommendations. You'll also be able to read Yelp reviews directly from the venue's information card should you be uncertain about a place.

Once you've found a time and place that'll work, tap on it, and then select Make Reservation. Siri will then launch the OpenTable app with the venue, time, and number of guests already filled out for you. Confirm your reservation and you're all set.

Sports

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
Keeping up-to-date on sports scores and stats is more than a hobby; for some, it's a way of life. At least, that's what my sports fanatic friends tell me.

To have Siri help you keep up with stats, schedules, or scores, you need only ask. Asking Siri questions like:

  • Who's leading the league in home runs this year?
  • What's the score in the Broncos game?
  • Which school is ranked No. 1 in college football?
  • How many touchdowns does Peyton Manning have this season?

Questions such as these, plus many more, will all come back with answers provided by Yahoo Sports. The only real limitation to the types of sports content you can get from Siri is that it needs to be current. Asking Siri how many home runs Babe Ruth hit was an answer it needed to search the Web for.

Movies

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
Siri can now provide you with movie reviews, find movies based on actor or director names, and show you movies currently playing in the theater.

Ask Siri to show you movies directed by Steven Spielberg and you'll be presented with an impressive list. Tapping on any movie will show you the Rotten Tomatoes reviews and give you the option to purchase the movie from iTunes. The same can be done by giving an actor's name.

Want to go see a movie? Tell Siri. You'll be shown a list of movies currently in the closest theater, along with their showtimes and Rotten Tomatoes reviews. You can't purchase tickets to the movie yet.

Launch apps
Last but not least, Siri can now launch apps you have installed on your iOS device. Commands such as "launch Mail" or "launch CNET" will launch the respective apps. The only requirement is that the app is installed on the device you're trying to launch it on.

Siri has learned a lot, but is it enough to keep people using it? Only time will tell. Now if you'll excuse me, I was just reminded I need to make a dinner reservation at a sports bar to watch the football game this weekend. Thanks, Siri.

Have you spotted any other Siri tricks that are new to iOS 6? If so, let us know in the comments below and we'll add them to our story.

Updated September 20 at 4:30 p.m. to add the ability to post to Facebook and Twitter status using Siri from the lock screen.

 

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