We’re more used to saying “Hey Siri” and now just “Siri” on our iPhones, but this is also true on macOS Sonoma if you set it up first. Here’s how to do it.
Starting with macOS Sonoma, you can theoretically now say “Siri” to bring up Apple’s digital assistant on your Mac instead of “Hey Siri.” In theory, this slightly shorter call works the same as it does on an iPhone running iOS 17.
In practice, it drops a little. You won’t expect a huge time saving from losing the word “Hello”, but it will mean that asking your Mac to do something will feel more natural.
If only you could make your Mac’s Siri respond instead of your other devices.
Apple has amazing algorithms that determine that if you say “Hey Siri” right after you turn your wrist to look at your Apple Watch, then you are talking to the watch. Or in a room full of Apple devices, the moment you say the word “Siri,” they all quickly talk to each other to figure out which one you used last time and are likely to want again.
But no matter how smart these algorithms are, the reality is that if you even turn off your iPhone completely before saying the word “Siri”, it could be someone else’s iPhone that will respond before your Mac.
However, if you’re working alone with all other devices turned off, the Mac can now only respond to the word “Siri”—if four conditions are true.
This is an Apple Silicon Mac. It has a microphone (internal, external or on the Apple Studio display). You specifically turned on Listen to Siri Commands or Hey Siri. You have an Internet connection.
This microphone can be external, so connect the microphone to your Mac mini, Mac Studio or Mac Pro.
To enable spoken Siri, you typically follow these steps:
Open settings. Click Siri and Spotlight. Make sure Ask Siri is turned on. Select one of the Listen options.
In the same section, you should also enable “Allow Siri when locked,” but on a Mac, this is more of a convenience than a necessity. This is important on an iPhone, but if you’re on your Mac, the Mac will still unlock.
The choices you make in the Listen section are critical. In macOS Sonoma, you can now choose Siri or Hey Siri, Hey Siri, or Turn Off.
Theoretical Improvements to Siri
Once you get used to saying “Siri” instead of “Hey Siri,” it’s surprising how much more natural it will seem—on your iPhone. The phrase sounds better on the Mac, but the key question of whether macOS will listen before your iPhone hasn’t improved.
Plus, Siri on Mac requires you to stop what you’re doing. Whether you say the command out loud or press a keyboard shortcut first, it’s impossible to keep writing a document while simultaneously asking Siri to find a fact for you.
This alone makes Siri significantly less useful on the Mac. It’s functionally the same on an iPhone—you pause what you’re doing to tell Siri something—but on a Mac, you could type an instruction before Siri even responds to you.
Skip even saying, “Siri.”
Apple has made it so you only need one less word to call Siri, but you can go ahead and ignore the entire verbal calling process. Instead, you can press a keyboard shortcut to bring up Siri.
It’s not as good as a completely natural conversation with your Mac, but it also solves the question of which device you want to talk to. While your fingers are pressing that key on a Mac, Siri doesn’t assume you’re talking about your iPhone.
You can set this shortcut to one of several options, but by default, you have to hold down the Command and Spacebar keys simultaneously for a few seconds until the Siri icon appears.