| Cult of Mac

How to get the new gender-neutral Siri voice in iOS 15.4


Apple’s AI-driven voice-controlled digital assistant Siri
Siri doesn’t have to sound female.
Image: Apple

One of the new features in iOS 15.4, released earlier this week, is a new, gender-neutral voice for Siri.

Apple developed the gender-neutral voice in response to criticism for using female voices as the default for the virtual assistant. If you want Siri to use a voice that is not explicitly female or male — maybe if you don’t identify that way yourself, or if you just want a nongendered voice assistant — now you have the option.

Here’s how to switch to the new voice on iPhone, iPad and Mac.

How to teach Siri to pronounce a name correctly


siri pronounce
Siri will teach you how to teach her.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Siri is great for setting reminders and timers, but in recent times Apple’s AI assistant has gotten a lot better at other things, too. For instance, sending iMessages to folks via your EarPods or AirPods, with your iPhone still in your pocket, works well enough that you can use it reliably all the time.

However, if Siri can’t pronounce the names of your contacts, then it’ll drive you crazy. Luckily, you can teach Siri to say these names correctly.

How to use Siri Translate in iOS 11


siri translate hero
Siri will answer you, no matter how stupid your question.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Siri translation seems like the most obvious thing in the world. You probably already asked him/her the meaning of a foreign word, or how to say an English phrase in another language. Under iOS 11, though, this will actually work.

All you have to do is to ask Siri how to say something, and s/he will respond with an answer. Even better, you can use Type to Siri to make the query, which may come in handy when you’re in a line at the market and you don’t want to start talking into your iPhone.

Siri tweak lets you type your queries in iOS 11


Type to Siri on iOS 11
Tired of talking to Siri? In iOS 11, you can tap out your requests silently.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Using Siri in public places can be a drag. Either it’s too noisy for Apple’s AI assistant to understand your query, or it’s too quiet and it’s embarrassing (or even risky) to ask Siri for help.

Luckily, iOS 11 brings a Siri upgrade that changes all that: The new Type to Siri feature lets you silently send all your questions and commands. This feature comes disabled by default, but enabling it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds.

Retrain Siri to make better sense of what you say


Sorry, Alexa: Siri still the most widespread AI assistant
Siri feeling slow? Speed it up with this quick tip!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Have you ever noticed that Siri understands you less and less as the months go by? The digital assistant works great when you first set it up on a shiny new iPhone, but over time, it has a habit of becoming annoyingly inaccurate.

In this week’s Quick Tips video, I’m going to show you how to retrain Siri. By improving its recognition of your voice, you can make it work just as well as it once did.

Check the video out below.

How to get the most out of Siri on your Apple TV


tvOS changes the default scrubbing behavior of your Siri Remote, and we couldn't be more glad.
tvOS changes the default scrubbing behavior of your Siri Remote, and we couldn't be more glad.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Use the power of your voice to watch TV. That’s not something out of Star Trek, but the promise of Siri on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

Beyond basic commands to find your favorite TV shows and movies, you might not know how much Siri can actually do for you. But using Siri Apple TV voice commands will unlock loads of helpful features, including reading onscreen labels, getting more in-depth info about whatever you’re watching, navigating various screens, and even playing music on demand.

And it’s bound to get better yet, as the new tvOS beta is bringing Siri dictation to search fields and the App Store.

Here’s how to get the most out of Siri on your Apple TV.

Pro Tip: Use Siri without all the loud play-by-play


Hush it down, Siri. Hush it down.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugYou know how it is: You press and hold the Home button to set a quick timer and Siri comes back all loud, “OK! Setting the timer! I’m in suspense!”

Or some such nonsense. Sure, you want to confirm that Siri’s not, say, adding an event to your calendar or calling your Aunt Tilly instead of setting a timer, but maybe you don’t need Apple’s AI helper to be all chatty about it.

Here’s how you can tamp down Siri’s sometimes-annoying banter.

Out of costume ideas for Halloween? Just ask Siri


"Hey, Siri? Will people hate me if I go to the party as 'Sexy Immortan Joe'?"
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Siri has a few extremely scientific and mathematical costume suggestions for Saturday’s festivities, but good luck figuring out how to implement most of them.

You can get prompts from Apple’s digital assistant by asking, “What should I be for Halloween?” to your favorite iOS device. Siri’s ideas aren’t bad if you can find a way to make them work. Check out a few of them below, which we captured from an Apple Watch.

Siri will win you over as a trusted assistant


Siri will remind you of tasks you need to complete based on your location.
Siri will remind you of tasks you need to complete based on your location.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Maybe there aren’t a ton of new features in iOS 9, but you may find yourself getting tighter with Siri.

Siri is out to earn the title of “Best Assistant” with a series of new tricks aimed at making your life easier.

You no longer have to set a time for Siri to remind you to do tasks. You will automatically get reminders once you arrive or leave a location. No time to read an email or an interesting article? Ask her to remind you later and she will do so.

Siri can call up any photo you like based on a location or timestamp. She can also give you sports scores without directing you to a website, can convert measurements and, if you have a shiny new iPhone 6s, there is no need to press the home button to summon her. Just say, “Hey Siri.”

To see how Siri worked for me, check out the video below.