Tip: Improve Siri Voice Dialing With Phonetic Names

Siri quickly went from Johnny 5 to Marvin the Paranoid Android for most iPhone users, as the launch was plagued with network and service outages. Once everyone went through all the easter eggs, there were a lot of questions as to how to integrate Siri into everyday use patterns. One of the more overlooked features for Siri is the ability to work nearly hands free for dialing and texting, a useful feature if stuck in traffic.

Siri still can be easily tripped up by nonstandard phonetics, such as when your cousin moves from Mypos and is always texting you about his wacky adventures. When you try to tell Siri to text “Balki Bartokomous,” it has trouble understanding you. Using the contacts app you can tip Siri off with a phonetic spelling.

  1. Open the Contacts app on your phone and go to Balky’s entry
  2. Press edit at the bottom of the card,
  3. Then scroll down until you see “Add Field.” in the popover menu that comes up
  4. Tap phonetic first name, enter the correct pronunciation.
  5. Repeat for the last name, and you’ll be ready to respond to your cousin’s hijinks using nothing more than your voice.

Siri is a long way from perfect, but tricks like this make it surprisingly useful. The largest continuing problem with Siri is the lack of clear documentation for new users, leading most people to assume that it’s useless. Hopefully we can find more tips like these to make using Siri easier.

If you know any awesome Siri tips, hit us up: tips@macgasm.net

Mac geek? Gamer? Why not both? Mike is a writer from Wisconsin who enjoys wasting immense amounts of time on the Internet. You can follow him on Twitter.