By Paula Bostrom updated on 12/10/2013
Our iPhones and iPads are capable of amazing things, but most of us only use a small percentage of their abilities. In this weekly column I share tips and tricks for beginners, or anyone who wants to harness the full power of their iDevice. This week, I'm going to give you some tips for Siri. She (or he, depending on your preference) can do more than you may realize.
1. Generate Passwords
Having a hard time coming up with an original, hard-to-crack password? Siri can generate random passwords for you using the website Wolfram Alpha. To do this, activate Siri and say "Wolfram password." You'll then be provided with an eight-digit alphanumeric password. If you'd like to add more characters, say "Wolfram password 14 characters."
2. Correct Siri's Pronunciation
If you have a name that is hard to pronounce like my friend Tadhg does, you can correct Siri. Launch Siri and say "you didn't pronounce my name correctly." Siri will then ask how you pronounce your name. Say your name and listen to the three other pronunciations Siri provides. Choose the option that sounds best or tell Siri you're not satisfied with the options and more will be provided.
3. Turn on Bluetooth/Wi-Fi with Siri
As a habit, I don't leave my Bluetooth on to save battery life. So, when I'm in my car and decide to connect my phone to it, I have to take my eyes off the road to enable it, which kind of defeats the purpose of hands-free calling. With iOS 7, Siri can now do it for me. All I have to do is launch Siri and say "Turn Bluetooth on." Same goes for turning on Wi-Fi. I can also have Siri turn them off when I want.
4. Change Siri's Default Search Engine
When you ask Siri to search the web for something, results are automatically delivered from Bing. If you prefer to use Google Siri will comply with your search request. Simply tell Siri to "Search Google for …" and answers will be provided by Google.