What is Siri?

Catch up on the basics of Apple's virtual assistant.

Andrew Gebhart Former senior producer
Molly Price Former Editor
Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Hold down the home button on your Apple iPhone, and you can ask a question of Siri -- Apple's version of what we generically call a "virtual assistant." Talk to Siri, and you can search the internet, make a call, set a reminder and even command certain smart home devices to turn on lights, lock doors and trigger scenes. 

Siri runs the smart home with these Apple HomeKit gadgets

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You can also get Siri's attention by holding down a button on attached headphones or saying "Hey, Siri" while wearing AirPods or if your Apple device is plugged in. Here's a list of all the ways to get Siri's attention and almost everything you can ask Apple's assistant. 

Siri is built into all modern iPhones and iPads, as well as Apple's Mac computers and smart watches. Siri is also built into Apple's HomePod -- a smart speaker that responds to your voice commands akin to the Amazon Echo and Google Home

Apple might be following Amazon's lead with the HomePod, but Siri helped popularize the concept that gave rise to the Google Assistant as well as the voice assistant in the Echo, Amazon's Alexa.