“What Flights Are Overhead?” and Other Cool Things to Ask Siri When You're Bored

You can ask Siri all kinds of fun things thanks to its connection with the WolframAlpha database. One of the fun questions to ask Siri is what flights are overhead, the answer to which might surprise you. Sitting in my friend’s apartment in Boulder, CO, there are five planes over my head within a 50-foot slant all at different altitudes. There’s not much you can do with the knowledge of what planes are flying overhead, but it’s a lot of fun. We’ll cover how to ask Siri what airplanes are above you along with a few other fun or helpful things you can ask Siri. Here’s “what flights are overhead” and other things to ask Siri.

Related: Siri Tips & Tricks: 21 Useful Things You Can Ask Siri

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Whether you want to find out what airplanes are above you or the calories in an apple, you can activate Siri by holding down the Home button on your iPhone or iPad. If you have Hey Siri turned on, you can ask hands-free. Earlier models of iPhone require your phone be plugged in for Hey Siri to work, but if you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus (or later) you can simply say, “Hey Siri.”

What Flights Are Overhead?

I have no idea why you'd need to know this, but a fun thing to ask Siri is "What planes are overhead?," and Siri will respond with a list of planes above you at that very moment. The list gives the airline and flight number, the altitude, the angle, the type of plane, and the angle distance. It’s a useless but absolutely fascinating feature. When I asked Siri what planes were overhead I was shocked how many could be up there at once.
things to ask Siriwhat flights are overhead

How Many Calories Are In…?

On the other hand, you might have good reason to want to know the number of calories in the food you're about to eat. You can ask Siri, "How many calories in an apple?", and Siri will tell you an average of about 91 calories. Or, how many are in a donut? Siri says an average of 224.

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What’s Morse Code For...

If you're a telegraph operator, you'll be very interested to know that Siri knows Morse code, thanks to WolframAlpha. (Although there's about a zero chance that anyone reading this is a telegraph operator.) You can ask Siri, "What's the Morse code for SOS?", and you'll get a translation of "SOS" into Morse code.

siri planes overheadthings to ask siri

What’s the Scientific Name Of...

If you're a biologist or botanist, you might find Siri's knowledge of scientific names and taxonomy useful. You can ask Siri, "What's the scientific name for pheasant?", and Siri will tell you Phasianus colchicus with the taxonomy below. Or you can ask Siri, “What’s the scientific name of a sunflower?” To which Siri will tell you Helianthus.

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For some reason, when you ask for the scientific name, Siri will also sometimes give the taxonomy and other times not. If you specifically want the taxonomy, then you can ask Siri, "What's the taxonomy of maple?", and Siri will give you all the details.

I Need a Wolfram Secure Password

If you're looking for a highly secure password, you can ask Siri to give you one. Simply say, "Wolfram, password." Siri will not only give you an eight-character password but will also give you information about it, such as it would take 229 years at 100,000 passwords per second to guess it.

best things to ask siri with wilframalphaplanes flying overhead

Note that if you don't begin your query by saying "Wolfram," you'll typically get an answer from Siri such as, "If you don't already know it, I can't tell you."

I'm sure there's much more that Siri can do, thanks to WolframAlpha. If you're aware of fun or weird things to ask Siri, leave a comment below!


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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.