Get your phone’s AI assistant to actually assist you

It does much more than answering trivia questions.

iphoneYour smartphone’s artificially intelligent assistant can provide almost any fact on demand, from the capital of France to the number of bananas in a loaf of banana bread. But this app does much more than answer random trivia questions. It can also organize your life, adjust your phone’s settings, control smart gadgets, play music, and more.

This guide will focus on how to use these features with Siri on iOS and Google Assistant on Android. Other AI assistants—such as Bixby for Samsung phones and Microsoft’s Cortana for iOS and Android—offer similar abilities, so many of these instructions will also apply to them. However, this guide won’t help you as much with the mobile version of Alexa. Although Amazon has Alexa apps for iOS and Android, you’ll need a smart speaker to take full advantage of its capabilities.

To get started, fire up your app. For Siri, press and hold the Home button, or on the iPhone X, press and hold the Side button (the one on the right). In order to bring up the Google Assistant interface on stock Android, press and hold the Home button. Then get ready to put your phone’s AI through its paces.

Set reminders, alarms, and timers

If you had a real-life personal assistant, he could help you stay on task by reminding you about the tasks you need to do and keeping you on schedule. A mobile AI does the same thing by making it much easier to set reminders, alarms and timers.

To make sure you don’t forget an item on your to-do list, have your AI assistant remind you about it. Tell your phone, “Remind me to…” or “Set a reminder for…” to create the note. Then decide whether you’d like to receive the reminder at a specific date and time, or when you travel to a specific location. Either specify this trigger in your original command, or wait for Siri or Google Assistant to prompt you for this information. For example, you could say, “Remind me to buy flowers at 7am tomorrow,” or “Remind me to buy flowers when I’m at the grocery store.”

For a less specific nudge, you can set an alarm without bothering to delve into your phone’s clock app. Say to Siri or Google Assistant, “Set an alarm for…” followed by a time and optionally a date or day of the week.

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