How to, image search, control music, and more
If you want to look something up using your Apple Watch, there are fewer more annoying answers than being told to open up an iPhone app. That’s not what you paid £300-odd or more for, right?
It’s pretty common, though. We’re a way off watches replacing our phones. And, know you what, we’re ok with that.
However, we’re going to look at the things Siri iscapable of. Get ready to talk to your wrist in public, because you’re soon going to look like a crazy person.
How to use Siri on an Apple Watch
There are three ways to start Siri on the Apple Watch:
1. Tap on the screen and say ‘Hey Siri’
2. Raise you wrist and say ‘Hey Siri’
3. Press and hold the Digital Crown
No points for guessing which method is the most reliable. You’ll feel a small pulse on your wrist from the Haptic Feedback engine when Siri is ready and waiting.
Below we’ve included some of our favourite commands for Siri:
1. Look up pictures online
Siri is actually capable of the equivalent of a Google Image Search (Spoiler: it actually uses Bing) — right from the Apple Watch.
Just say "Find pictures of X" and the results will show up right on the screen.
Unfortunately, you can’t save images or zoom into them, but it’s a neat way to look up images of that famous person you just clocked walking out of Primark.
2. Pause, play, change music tracks
If you’re honestly too lazy to open up the Music app and change the volume, pause or flick to the next track. You can get Siri to do the job for you.
Just say ‘next track’, ‘pause music’ and so on, and Siri will get the gist.
Much more interesting, you can also pick a specific artist by saying "play…" and their name. Siri’s pretty good at getting the band names right. This will work for any music stored on your iPhone.
3. Look up calories in an egg… or whatever
Siri hooks up to a limited number of online resources through which the Apple Watch can search, without having to resort to looking at the browser.
It’s these little tidbits of information that make perfect use of the Apple Watch’s small screen.
The two repositories for information that Apple use are Wolfram Alpha and Wikipedia. There are a few bits of information you can reliably get, most of the time.
This includes calories in foods and the dates of birth of famous people. Eggs are 55 calories a piece, apparently.
On the people side, if Siri misinterprets the name of a famous person, it’s game over: you’ll be sent straight to the iPhone’s browser. But it’s fun to play with for 2.5 minutes. Wolfram Alpha is also handy for looking up the dates of public holidays and the various religious bashes.
4. Set an alarm or reminder
Simple and obvious, but useful, you can set a reminder, alarm or timer using your Apple Watch.
This can be a two-minute timer for boiling an egg, one to wake up you up in the morning or a reminder to pick up the parents from the train station that evening.
It’s reminders that are the most interesting, though, as you can attach them to a location. So you might want a reminder of something when you get home, or get into work.
It doesn’t end there, either. How about a reminder-location-timer mash-up? You can set a two-hour timer that kicks off the minute you get home, if you like.
SMS, directions, film reviews and more
5. Send an SMS
Another essential: sending messages dictated through Siri. Just say ‘send a message to …’ and Siri will take you through the rest.
Try it with an email, though, and you’ll be prompted to carry on with an iPhone.
6. Unit conversions and your maths homework
Need to do a sum? Or convert a Euro figure into pounds? Siri can handle all of that, no problem.
Any calculations like this are simply shown on-screen. Any currency conversions are handled by Yahoo, so you can be sure you’re getting up-to-date rates.
The Apple Watch can also convert different kinds of units, not just currency — weights, distance, whatever you need.
7. Find the nearest Burger King, and get there
By hooking into the Maps app, you can look for nearby shops, restaurants (any location) with Siri. Just tell her to "find the nearest X" and the Watch will zip over to Maps and find whatever you ask for.
Then tap the screen and you’ll be able to get directions, on foot or by car. Remember: you can also use the crown to zoom in and out of the map to get a clearer view of where you are.
We tried finding the nearest Burger King and it worked a treat, but you can also ask for vaguer things like the "nearest pizza place".
8. Launch an app by name
Don’t like the fiddly apps menu of the Apple Watch? You can also load up apps using the power of your voice.
Just say "Launch" and then name of an installed app, and the Apple Watch will fire it up.
With the apps menu being one of the less intuitive-feeling parts of the watch, this one can come in surprisingly handy.
9. Look up film reviews on Rotten Tomatoes
One of the Siri features you might not expect is being able to look up the critical reception of movies.
The Apple Watch hooks up with Rotten Tomatoes to let you find out whether a film is pure gold or a flop.
You can’t read full reviews on there, but you can see the classic per cent ‘freshness’ rating of Rotten Tomatoes. This tells you what proportion of pro reviewers gave a film a rating of 6/10 or higher. That’s what the site classifies as a positive review.
To look up this info, just ask Siri "what were the reviews like for film X". It’ll need to get the movie name right to avoid ending up baffled, so make sure you speak clearly.