Siri Tip of the Day: Translate

Use Siri to translate from nine foreign languages into English. See the translation, and hear it also. It’s as easy as “How do you say…”

Translate words and phrases into other languages using Siri. It’s easy when you know how, and here’s how:

Just say “How do you say…” and then the words you want to translate and then “… in Spanish.” Or “… in French.” Or “… in German.” (Or one of several other languages.) For example:

How do you say “Where is the bathroom” in Spanish?

Siri: How do you say “Where is the bathroom” in Spanish?

You’ll see the translation written out, and also spoken. Want to hear it again? Tap the “play” button at the right of the translation.

Or… how do you say “Where is the nearest train station” in French?

Siri: How do you say “Where is the nearest train station” in French?

Or… how do you say “I would like three pretzels with mustard” in German?

Siri: How do you say “I would like three pretzels with mustard” in German?

Not sure which language to translate into? Just ask “How do you say…” and then your phrase, but don’t specify a language to translate into. Then, choose a language from the list that appears. For example:

Siri: How do you say “I love you”

(If you scroll you’ll see that Siri also knows Mandarin Chinese.)

Tap a language and see the result.

How to say “I love you” in Russian

Speaking of Russian, here’s a phrase that may have, possibly, come in handy for some people recently:

Siri: how do you say “Could you help me get elected” in Russian

Want to go in the other direction– Spanish to English, or French to English, or German to English, or (whatever) to English? Sorry, Siri can’t do that. Not right now. (Technically Siri CAN do that, but you’d have to set the Siri language to Spanish, or French, or German, or whatever, and that messes up other things, so for now, the answer is “Sorry, Siri can’t do that.”)

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Siri Tip of the Day: Add item to Reminders

Add an item to any list in Reminders just by asking Siri. If the list doesn’t exist, Siri will offer to make the list for you. Super handy.

Siri can add things to your Reminders app, so you can forget about them. I use it for grocery store things– when I think of something I need, I ask Siri to add it to my Groceries list, like this:

Adding items to my groceries list, with Siri

(If the list doesn’t exist, Siri will offer to create it.)

Using this technique, your Groceries list will grow item by item over a number of days, and when you go to the store you will have the whole list right there with you.

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Scan QR Codes with the built-in Camera app

The iPhone’s built-in Camera app can scan QR codes. No need to download a specialized app for that. For older systems, use the free Qrafter app.

iOS 12’s Camera app can scan a QR code. All you do is launch the Camera app and aim it at a code, like this:

QR Code

You will see a little notification banner, like this:

Notification after aiming Camera at QR Code

Tap the notification and presto, you’re done. Neat.

Note: not too long ago the Camera app didn’t work this way. If you aim your iPhone’s camera at a QR code and nothing happens, your iPhone might be on an older iOS. In that case, consider updating. If you don’t want to update your iPhone’s system, or can’t, you can use the Qrafter app to scan QR codes instead of the Camera app. It’s free, and it’s great.

Quickly scroll to the top of a list

Here’s how you can quickly scroll back to the top of any list or content on your iPhone.

Many iPhone apps present vertically scrolling information, either in list view or just long content. Here are some of those apps (there are many more):

  • Mail (list view, and long content)
  • Settings (list view)
  • Reminders (list view)
  • Safari (long content)
  • NY Times (list view, and long content)

Sometimes you find yourself way, way down the list, or way, way down the web page, and you want to get back to the top. You already know how to do it the hard way: swipe down a bunch of times, until you reach the top (that is, the opposite of how you ended up way down there– a little at a time).

Here’s the easy way: tap at the very top of the screen, where it shows the time, and your content will quickly zoom to the top. It’s like an express elevator. Technically you can tap any part of the very top of the screen and it will work– you don’t have to actually tap the time. That is how you do it on iPhones with Home buttons.

Here’s the Mail app, list view, scrolling to the top with a single tap (two on an X-iPhone)

iPhones without Home buttons (iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR) don’t show the time centered at the very top of the screen, because there is no screen at the very top center, and it turns out that tapping the time (at the right “ear” of the screen) doesn’t scroll to the top, and neither does tapping the left ear. But… if you DOUBLE-tap either ear, it works. Twice as much work as it used to be, but still a lot less work than swiping a bunch of times.

Here are a couple of before-and-after pictures. In each case, all I did was tap at the top, where the time is. (I’m using an iPhone 8 Plus — an iPhone with a Home button– for these examples. iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR users should tap twice at the very top, on either ear of the iPhone’s screen.)

Quickly scrolling to the top of the Settings app by tapping at the very top
Quickly scrolling to the top of the NY Times app by tapping at the very top

This feature should work in every app employing vertical scrolling. Try it and see!

Siri Tip of the Day: Make it Louder

Siri can adjust the volume for you, hands-free. Just say “Hey Siri, turn it up” or “Hey Siri, make it softer.”

If you’re playing something on your iPhone or iPad you can make it louder by asking Siri to turn it up. (You probably guessed that you can also make it softer by asking Siri to turn it down.) You can say “make it louder” or “increase the volume” instead of “turn it up” and there may be more phrases that work. Experiment, and if you find a phrase that I don’t know about, put it in the comments.

Note: if you aren’t currently playing something (music, a podcast) you’ll get a message like this one:

Oopsy– you’re not playing anything, so Siri can’t make it louder.

UPDATE April 2019: now you can tell Siri to make it louder, and she (he) will not complain. This improvement came without an iPhone iOS update– it must have been fixed at Apple’s end, silently. Thanks, Apple!

Siri will make things louder when the time comes.

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Siri Tip of the Day: Built-in Cheat Sheet

Siri can do a lot of things and the list continues to grow. Find out what she can do by asking! Day “Hey Siri: what can you do?” and she’ll give you a list.

Siri has a built-in cheat sheet. There are other ways to reveal it but the easiest is to have Siri do it herself. Just say “Hey Siri— show me what you can do.”

Siri, show me what you can do!

Items in the list have options. For example, if we click on “Phone” (where it shows “Call Brian”) we get several variations:

Siri Phone app options

And of course the list scrolls, so do some scrolling and some experimenting and find something that works for you.

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Siri Tip of the Day: Do Math

Siri is good at math. Simply put your math question into words and she will solve it. Yes, this is “Word Problems.” You probably thought you were through with them.

Siri is good at math. All you have to do is ask. For example, “What’s 490 divided by 139?” (Siri will read the answer to you out loud.)

Siri: 490 divided by 189

In some cases, Siri doesn’t provide the answer natively. Instead, she gets the answer from Wolfram Alpha. Either way, you get what you want, without using your hands.

Siri using Wolfram Alpha to get your answer

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Siri Tip of the Day: When’s my Next Appointment?

Siri can look at your calendar and tell you what’s coming up next.

Keeping a calendar on your iPhone is a great idea, and Siri makes it better. Just say “Hey Siri, when’s my next appointment?” and Siri reads it to you out loud (assuming you’re using the built-in Calendar app). Really handy when your hands are full, or wet, or whatever.

Hey Siri… when’s my next appointment?

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Siri Tip of the Day: Adjust Screen Brightness

Siri can adjust screen brightness! Easier than doing it by hand, and after adjusting the brightness, Siri leaves a slider for you to play with just in case.

Who knew? Siri can adjust your iPhone’s screen brightness. Just say “Make the screen brighter” or “Make the screen dimmer” and Siri takes care of it.

Siri, make the screen brighter. Or dimmer.

Notice the little slider, in case you want to do some fine-tuning.

Alternative: just say “Make it brighter” or “Make it dimmer” and Siri assumes that “it” refers to the iPhone’s screen.

Note: I just learned this one.

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.

Siri Tip of the Day: Turn on the Flashlight

Siri can turn the flashlight on and off. Very handy, especially when you do it hands-free (via “Hey Siri”). Try it in the dark!

Very handy, especially in the dark: just say “Hey Siri, turn on the flashlight.”

Turn on the flashlight

You can also ask Siri to turn off the flashlight.

Turn off the flashlight

If you ask Siri to turn on the flashlight when it’s already on, or off when it’s already off, you get a message:

Siri knows the flashlight is already on (or already off) in case you ask for the same thing twice.

Check out my Seven Super Siri Tips for more. And, check out my giant, up-to-date list of every Siri article on this site.