Using Siri on the Apple Watch.
Love it or hate it Siri is one of the many reasons that so many visually impaired and blind people buy iOS devices. Although sometimes Siri can be a pain in the backside if it doesn’t understand what you’ve asked it or occasionally gets words wrong when dictating emails or texts, the fact remains that the majority of the time it makes things quick and easy.
The Apple Watch incorporates Siri and as a result many of the things we are familiar with using it for on our iPhones, iPads and iPods are also possible on the watch. There are some differences of course, mainly in the way that the watch communicates to us through Siri, but in most cases it’s possible to make Siri work effectively for us.
The most noticeable difference is that Siri doesn’t speak as he/she does on iOS devices. Instead the response appears on the screen of the watch and the wearer either drags their finger around to have the VoiceOver voice read the content or uses Digital Crown Navigation to do so. This may at first seem a bit odd, but in actual fact you don’t even notice once you’ve got used to it. As the wearer is going to have raised their wrist to use Siri in the first place it’s not a great stretch to using your finger or the Digital Crown to read the screen once Siri responds. As with most new things it’s worth spending some time getting used to the slightly different functionality of the Apple Watch, you will certainly find that it is well worth it.
There are a couple of ways to use Siri on the Apple Watch. The first is to tap the screen once to wake the watch up, raise your wrist and say “Hey Siri.” The second is to press and hold the Digital Crown before giving Siri an instruction or asking it a question. In both cases and assuming that you have haptic feedback enabled on your Apple Watch, you will feel two taps in quick succession on your wrist when Siri is awake and ready to receive instructions/questions. These haptic taps are the Apple Watch equivalent of the audible pips that iOS devices produce when Siri is ready to receive instructions/questions.
Another big difference is when creating new emails. For example, once you’ve told Siri to “send email to Dad” the watch will tell you that he/she can help you create a new email using HAND OFF on your iPhone.
Note: For this to work you will of course need to ensure that you have HAND OFF enabled on your iPhone. This is done by going to SETTINGS, then GENERAL, then HAND OFF AND SUGGESTED APPS. You will find a button near the top centre of the screen that says HAND OFF. Simply single finger double tap to toggle the button on or off.
Once you pick up your iPhone you will find a Siri button displayed at the bottom left corner of the locked screen. Single finger double tap the button and Siri will tell you that you need to unlock the phone first. Once you’ve unlocked the phone Siri takes you through the steps of creating and sending the email as he/she normally would. Interestingly Siri re-locks the phone once the email is sent, which I think is quite useful.
Similarly Siri asks you to use HAND OFF if you ask him/her to check for new emails via the Apple Watch. The process is the same as detailed above for the purposes of opening Siri for HAND OFF and unlocking the phone, Siri will then take you through the normal process of checking for new mail.
In conclusion I think some good advice is to get used to Siri on the Apple Watch by using it and becoming familiar with using HAND OFF for things like emails etc. As you can ask it all of the usual things like what the weather forecast for tomorrow is, what time it is in another country, ask it to tell you a joke etc etc, there’s plenty of things you can do to help familiarise yourself.
In my next blog post I will be talking about using the FRIENDS button on the Apple Watch.