Siri is something of a mixed bag, if we’re honest. The range of commands Apple’s digital assistant can execute is very impressive, but that’s only if you can get it to understand what you’re saying.
Names can be particularly problematic, mainly due to the odd spellings that fool Siri’s attempts to hear and pronounce them correctly. Thankfully there is an easy way to teach these to it, so that the next time you want to text Siobhan Siri doesn’t stare back at you in a confused state or offer a seemingly random answer.
In this article we show you how teach Siri the correct way to speak. So come, Professor Higgins, there is work to be done.
(For a deeper look at what Siri can do, you should also try reading our How to use Siri on iPhone guide.)
Naming names with Siri
If there is a particular name that Siri has problems with, be it your own or another one of your contacts, you can fix this by telling the AI that it’s not pronouncing it correctly.
To do this launch Siri, by holding down the Home button (or side button on the iPhone X) or saying “Hey Siri”, and ask it to bring up the contact in question. This can be achieved by using the forename or surname.
For example, if Siri is struggling with the name Thibaut Remy, say “Show me contacts with Remy”. This will bring up any contacts that include Remy. If there are several then Siri will present a list and ask you to select the right one.
Once you’ve done this, either tap the Siri icon at the bottom of the screen or say “Hey Siri” followed by “You’re pronouncing it wrong”.
Siri will then respond by asking how the forename should be spoken, and launching the microphone so you can dazzle it with your amazing enunciation skills.
Once you’ve said the name, Siri will offer up a number of different options of what it now understands the correct pronunciation to sound like. You can listen to them by tapping on the Play button to the left of each option.
If none are correct then you can tap Tell Siri again. Otherwise tap the Select option next to the best pronunciation.
Siri will now repeat the process for the surname, so just follow the steps above and soon you’ll have your contacts sounding just as they should.
When the process is finished Siri will read out the full name and store this amended information on the device. In our tests, Siri didn’t share this information between our iPad and iPhone, so you may need to teach your iOS devices separately.
That’s it. Now you should be able to text or call your friends without Siri trying to book flights to Saudi Arabia, or resetting all your alarms. Happy days.