I use Siri quite a bit on my Apple iMac and iPhone, but sometimes I want to type, not talk. Late at night in particular, I don’t want to risk waking up the baby. Is there a way on the Mac to type in queries for Siri?
I’m a big fan of Siri too, actually, and use it every day, often to ask mundane things like the time, temperature or weather in a remote location, but you’re right, there are plenty of situations where talking to your device is awkward or downright impossible. It’s not too hard to enable type to Siri, fortunately, though it’ll involve delving into your Accessibility settings since that’s apparently a capability Apple doesn’t think mainstream users will want.
Before I show you, a fun tidbit of history about Siri! Did you know that Siri came out of research into AI at the Stanford Research Institute, with funding from the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)? It was the culmination of two projects, the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO) project within DARPA’s Personalized Assistant that Learns (PAL) program, and it was the largest-known AI project in U.S. History at that point in time. In 2007 SRI spun out Siri as its own company and in 2010 Apple acquired Siri and integrated it into the device lineup. Siri was introduced by Apple in October, 2011.
Here’s the original Siri logo from prior to the Apple acquisition:
Fun, eh? Now let’s get to work!
ENABLE SIRI ON YOUR MACOS MENUBAR
First step is to get the Siri icon to show up on your Menubar. It’ll show up on the top right, tucked into whatever tiny shortcut icons you already have, if it’s not already there. Open up Apple > System Preferences…
You can see I’ve highlighted the Siri settings window. Click on it and this window will appear:
There are three things to notice here. First, you need to enable Siri by checking the “Enable Ask Siri” option on the left panel. Check that to enable the service as needed. Then, if you want to be able to say “Hey Siri” to your computer and have it respond, check “Listen for “Hey Siri”” near the top.
Now the third checkbox: “Show Siri in menu bar” near the bottom (and highlighted). Check all three, as desired, and you’re ready to go. Say “Hey Siri!” and a small window will pop up on the top right of your screen:
That’s step one.
ENABLE TYPE TO SIRI ON MAC MACOS 11
While you’re still in System Preferences, click on the “Accessibility” icon, probably directly below the Siri icon (see image, above).
You’ll gain access to the extensive Accessibility window, but you want to scroll down and click on “Siri” on the left side in the “General” area. You can see it on the left side of the below screenshot, which also shows the window you’ll reveal:
This one’s easy: Check the box adjacent to “Enable Type to Siri“. Done!
Now when you click on the Siri icon in the menubar, it prompts you to type rather than asking you to tell it what you want:
For example, I can check the current time in Tokyo with just a few words:
A push on the Return key and Siri processes the query as if I’d said it, showing the result:
Notice that at the bottom of the response is a prompt to type in another query “Type to Siri”. Done? Press the Esc key and it’ll vanish until the next time you need Siri to help you out in a quiet room!
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