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Notes on Using Hey Siri on your Mac and iPhone and HomePods…

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Well, now that I have all of these devices, it is pretty complicated to figure out how to get Hey Siri working properly across all of them.

First, this actually works really well with a “cloud” of HomePod Minis at home, It is pretty crazy that you can literally whisper “hey siri” and something hears you. I find that the automatic detection of which one I’m talking to doesn’t work super well, so in the family room, if I say Hey Siri “Play Music”, quite a few times, the Kitchen HomePod mini will hear you and play in the wrong room. It is supposed to be able to figure out which room.

But, the simple solution is to say “Play Music in the Family Room” so no matter which HomePod hears it, it works.

The second is that if you have an iPhone and an Apple Watch (I know, first world problems), then the phone or the watch may guess wrong and try to do things. There are a bunch of settings that you can use with the new iOS 14.5.1 that seem to help, but they are scattered all over the place:

  1. In iOS in Settings > Siri & Search, turn on “listen for Hey Siri” and “Allow Siri When Unlocked” And in Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Reponses > Spoken Responses, click on Alway and also I find turning on “Always Show Siri Captions” and “Always Show Speech” will let you know what Siri on that device actually thinks you are saying.
  2. This is also a good place to have Text to Speech for messages which you get with Settings > Siri & Search turning “Announce Calls” to always and “Announce Messages on as well. Also, set My Information to your contact information
  3. Then Setting > Accessibility > Siri, there are some more things to set like in Voice Feedback set Always Speak Responses and enable Show Apps Behind Siri

The result is that you can at least see what is happening. And again, to prevent confusion, saying, “Play Music on my Phone” seems to help a lot.

Finally, you can also use Siri on your Mac. If you have a MacBook that was made 2018 or later, it just listens for Hey Siri. For older MacBooks, you have to hold the Option and Spacebar, but it actually works pretty well.

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