Sometimes, you want Siri to be quiet.
Siri uses your voice to activate and answer queries. As such, it doesn’t require a keyboard or a ton of screen space. And because it’s contextually aware, it can handle complex questions and commands. That makes it ideal for something like the Apple Watch, where it can often work faster and more conveniently than any other input method.
How to set up Siri on Apple Watch
Siri on Apple Watch is intrinsically tied to your iPhone: If you’ve ever turned Siri on for your iPhone, it’ll automatically be activated on your Apple Watch. If you need to enable Siri, however, here’s how to do it.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Go to the Siri & Search setting.
Tap the Press Home for Siri slider to enable Siri for iPhone and Apple Watch.
How to use Siri on Apple Watch
There are two ways to use Siri: via the automatic “Hey Siri” command, or manually by pressing and holding on the Digital Crown.
If you have a Series 3 GPS-only watch or earlier, all Siri queries are processed via your iPhone, or a remembered Wi-Fi network: If you don’t have a strong connection with either your iPhone or the Wi-Fi network, your Apple Watch will be unable to process your command.
Series 3 GPS + Cellular models can use connections from your iPhone or Wi-Fi, but they can also directly connect to LTE to process Siri questions, making them a bit speedier in delivering you results.
Depending on your connection, Siri may take a few moments to process properly; after speaking, Siri may prompt you with a quick “Hang on…” or “I’ll tap you when I’m ready” before responding. During this time, you can let your arm drop back to its normal position — your watch will tap you on the wrist when Siri has finished processing.
How to use “Hey Siri” on your Apple Watch
- Raise your Apple Watch to your face (or, if you have wrist raise disabled, tap on the screen to wake your watch).
- Say Hey Siri followed by your query.
Note: Hey Siri will only activate in the first few seconds that your Apple Watch screen is on — if you’re not getting it to work, keep this in mind!
How to manually activate Siri on your Apple Watch
- Press and hold the Digital Crown.
- State your question or command to Siri.
How to change Siri’s voice on Apple Watch
On the Series 2 Apple Watch or earlier, your Apple Watch is always silent when talking with you — you’ll only see text in response to a query. But Series 3 and later Apple Watch models offer a more verbal Siri, who talks to you in response to your queries. Here’s how to change your assistant’s voice.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
Navigate to Siri & Search.
- Tap on Siri Voice.
Select the voice that appeals to you.
Note: You may have to connect to Wi-Fi to download additional voices.
How to turn off Siri’s voice on Apple Watch
Don’t like hearing Siri on your Apple Watch? It’s a quick fix. (Unfortunately, there’s no way to currently change the volume of Siri’s voice — it’s either an on or off situation.)
Go to the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
Select General > Siri.
Choose from one of the following options:
- Always On: Siri always speaks to you
- Control with Silent Mode: Siri only speaks when not in Silent mode on your Apple Watch
- Headphones Only: Siri only speaks when you have headphones connected
How to use the Siri with watch faces
As of watchOS 4, you can also create a specialized Siri watch face. Not only will it give you a customized Siri button straight on your watch face, but it also intelligently pulls in data from your calendars, photos, and more, and provides information like upcoming weather and passbook passes to you.
How to set up the Siri watch face on your Apple Watch with watchOS 4
New in watchOS 4 is the Siri watch face, which, in addition to easy access to Siri itself, offers quick, glanceable cards featuring information important to you.
- Raise your wrist or tap on your Apple Watch’s display to activate it.
- Press firmly on your Apple Watch’s display.
- Swipe to the left through the series of available watch faces until you get to the end.
- Tap the + button.
- Scroll through the list (it’s alphabetical).
- Tap on the Siri watch face.
How to set up a Siri watch face on your iPhone
- Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap the Face Gallery tab.
- Tap Siri under the New in watchOS section or the Siri section.
- Tap the Add button.
- Tap the My Watch tab.
Scroll to the left under My Faces.
- Tap Siri.
- Choose your Top Left and Top Right complications.
- Choose your Data Sources.
- Tap Set as current Watch Face to begin using.
How to quickly and reliably trigger Siri
Thanks to room noise and other external factors, Siri doesn’t always trigger reliably on the watch. Here are a few tips I’ve found for getting Siri to work more reliably—and not cut you off mid-sentence.
1. Force Siri to listen by keeping the Digital Crown pressed down
This trick completely changed my Siri usage for the better: While not required, I recommend continuing to hold the Digital Crown in while speaking your query, to make sure Siri understands your full statement. (This is especially helpful in noisy environments, where Siri doesn’t always know when you’re finished speaking.)
2. Make “Hey Siri” work more reliably with screen taps
To save battery, the Apple Watch only listens for the “Hey Siri” on screen wake. Unfortunately, that can make “Hey Siri” a little frustrating if you have your screen configured to wake on wrist raise and don’t get the phrase out quickly enough. Instead, you can reset the process by briefly putting your palm over the screen to turn it off, then re-raising your wrist (or pressing on the display) to wake it, followed by “Hey Siri.”
3. Wear your Watch with the microphone facing out
Having trouble getting Siri to understand you? You may want to try Craig Hockenberry’s “Reverse Crown” orientation with your Apple Watch. This keeps the watch on your left wrist but flips the digital crown to the lower left side. It also moves the microphone and speaker to the right side, getting them closer to your voice when you raise your wrist. (In colder climates, this also frees the speaker from being buried under layers of clothing.)
Everything Siri can do on your Apple Watch
Watch Siri may not be quite as full-featured as iPhone Siri, but your digital assistant can still do a bunch of tasks — and chat with its iPhone buddy when otherwise at a loss. Here’s a quick overview of what Siri can (and can’t) do on the Apple Watch.
How to use Handoff to switch from Siri on your Apple Watch to your iPhone
Handoff lets you start an action on one device and finish it on another. There are some things that Apple Watch just can’t accomplish, given its small screen. But if you ask Siri, it won’t give up. Instead, it will redirect you to your iPhone and “automagically” transfer your request.
You can quickly enable Handoff for your Apple Watch from the Watch app on your iPhone, if it’s not already set up.
- On your iPhone, open the Watch app.
- Select the My Watch tab.
- Tap General.
Scroll down to the Enable Handoff section and tap the switch to enable the feature.
Once this is enabled, you’ll be able to use Siri on your Apple Watch to ask for just about anything. If it’s not a task the Apple Watch can handle, Siri will automatically offer to switch you over to your iPhone.
Let us know in the comments.
Updated September 2017: Updated for Series 3 and watchOS 4, and added information about how to disable Siri’s speaking voice.