How to locate your files with Siri on macOS Sierra

By

Siri
Siri wants to help you find your files.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Up until now, Siri’s remained a tool for accessing services rather than helping us navigate our Apple devices. That changes with macOS Sierra, which lets us use Apple’s helpful AI assistant to locate files using spoken commands.

Here’s how you can use the feature to your advantage if you’re running the new operating system, which is currently in public beta and will be released on September 20.

Hey Siri, help me!

Start by summoning Siri. This can be done in several ways — either via the Siri icon on the dock, by holding down CMD + Space, or clicking the Siri icon in the top right of the menu bar.

Siri
Accessing Siri is easy on the Mac.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

You can then begin your search by asking Siri to “show me files” viewed at a particular point, such as in the last week, month or year.

Siri search
Siri is eager to help you find what you’re looking for.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

Provided she’s doing her job correctly, Siri will return a list of files you’ve viewed and edited during the specified time frame.

These can be further refined by asking Siri to show you only files sent by a particular person, or ones conforming to a specific file type, or containing particular keywords.

Siri
You can add filters and sub-filters, like asking for documents from a certain date of a particular type.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can skip the time frame step altogether and dive straight into searching by keywords, like the file name or a phrase used within the document.

Siri
If you know the exact name, you can jump straight to that, too.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

Finally, if you search specifically for images stored on your Mac, Siri opens up the Photos app and lets you search in the same way, such as ones added within a particular timeframe or taken at a precise location.

Siri Search
Searching for images works well on macOS Sierra.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

Have we told you lately how much we dig Siri in macOS Sierra?