According to Apple, Siri serves 25 billion requests per month – a huge number for a feature that was only released nine years ago. But when you think about how much work Apple has put into Siri over the years, it makes sense that the virtual assistant is used more and more by users with iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, AirPods and HomePod.
As for iOS, in particular, each new iteration makes Siri more useful and powerful, and iOS 14 is no exception. Although there are not as many new features and changes in iOS 14 as in iOS 13, the latest update is still one you want to check out. It has a whole new look, there is more integration with messages and maps, you have more languages and voice options and it can answer broader questions.
1. Siri got a compact makeover
Apple has redesigned the Siri experience with a redesigned user interface that is compact and cluttered. Instead of taking up the entire screen and interfering with whatever you do, the personal assistant now appears only at the bottom of the screen in the form of a colorful sphere.
When you have spoken, answers, results and content that you need to interact with are displayed as message-like cards at the top of the screen. If Siri has a question for you or a comment on a result, it will appear as a minor non-fixable banner at the bottom of the sphere.
2. Siri can answer more questions
According to Apple, Siri knows 20 times more facts than just a few years ago. While not necessarily an iOS 14 achievement, the new update sees the AI answer to broader questions. It uses the internet more efficiently to answer questions it does not know directly, and gives weaker answers than in previous iOS versions. It still has a lot of work to do, but it’s getting better and better.
3. Siri can record and send you audio messages
Audio messages have only been available for recording and transmission within the Messages app – and only for iMessage conversations. Now Siri can do it for you, and whether Apple intended it to work or not, it works with MMS text messaging and sends recordings to Android users as simple audio files.
Just ask Siri to “Send another audio message [Name]. “Siri then records the audio message and allows you to listen, record, interrupt and send it to the contact. You can also do the same from CarPlay. And third-party messaging programs that use SiriKit can let you do the same in their apps.
4. Siri can translate into more languages
Siri has always been able to translate from one language to another, but iOS 14 now offers many more options with support for over 65 language pairs. The new Translate app, which Siri uses in these cases, is designed for conversations, which means that translations are not as mechanical as before, and the iPhone uses its built-in Neural Engine, which means you do not have to be connected to the Internet to use it and your translations are kept private.
The following translations can happen on Siri with iOS 14:
- English (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK, USA) to Spanish, Mandarin, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean
- Spanish (Spain, Mexico, Chile, USA) to English, Mandarin, German, French, Italian, Russian, Portuguese
- Mandarin (China) to English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean
- Taiwanese (Taiwan) to English, Japanese
- German (Germany) to English, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Italian, Russian, Portuguese
- French (France) to English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian
- Portuguese Italian (Italy) to English, Spanish, Mandarin, German, French, Russian, Portuguese
- Italian (Italy) to English, Spanish, Mandarin, German, French, Russian, Portuguese
- Japanese (Japan) to English, Chinese, Korean
- Russian (Russia) to English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese
- Portuguese (Brazil) to English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian
- Arabic (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia) to English
- Korean (Korea) to English, Mandarin, Japanese
5. Siri can give you cycling instructions
Google Maps has let you search for cycling directions from one place to another for a while, and Apple has finally added the same feature to its built-in Maps app. As with standard directions in Maps, the new bike directions are also compatible with Siri.
Just ask Siri for bike directions to a specific location. An example might be “What are the cycling directions to Lafayette Park”, shown below. If Siri does not understand which website you mean, options appear on the screen for you to choose from. Once your location has been confirmed, Siri redirects you to Maps and gives you suggestions for bike paths.
6. Siri can divide your ETA into maps
Another new feature is the ability to ask Siri to share your estimated time of arrival, or ETA, via the Maps app. To send your ETA to anyone, you must already start driving directions in Apple Maps. Sharing your ETA will also share your name and Apple ID email, so just share your ETA with trusted friends and family.
To do so, say “share my ETA with [Name]. You can also say “Share my ETA”, but you will be asked to select a contact, so it is better to say the contact name the first time so that there are no extra steps. ETA only appears in Apple Maps, so the person you share ETA with must go to Apple Maps to see it. If you go to Apple Maps you will see everyone you share your ETA with at the bottom of the screen. share your ETA, ask Siri to “stop sharing ETA.”
7. Siri has voices in different languages
Apple’s new voice for Siri, which uses “natural text to speech” technology to give the virtual assistant a more natural sound, came out in iOS 13, but only for the English language. In iOS 14, it is available in several different regions for the following Siri voices:
- English (Australia, India, Ireland, South Africa, UK, USA)
- French (France)
- German (Germany)
- Spanish (Mexico, Spain)
- Chinese (Mainland China, Hong Kong)
- Japanese (Japanese)
8. Siri has improved widgets
We already had a “Siri App Suggestions” widget in Today View, and it still exists. But there’s a new “Shortcut Suggestion” widget that gives you shortcuts to actions Siri thinks you want to take, such as ordering a coffee from your regular cafe or starting a podcast when you get in your car. Just click on the suggestions and it will work without having to start the app.
The Siri app and shortcut suggestions both use intelligence on your device, so you do not have to worry about any privacy issues either. Oh, and Siri’s widgets can be on your Today View, your Home screen, or both – not just Today View as in previous years.
9. Siri can recognize possible reminders by email
According to Apple, Siri can recognize possible reminders in new emails and suggests that you add them to the Reminders app. You have been able to add things to Mail Reminders manually manually before, but now it is automated. We have not encountered any Siri suggestions for Mail for reminders yet, so it may not be completely clear. Since then, we’ve only seen a few Siri suggestions for reminder messages since it came out in iOS 13, so Siri can probably use some work in this department overall.
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