Hey Siri, why aren’t you on my Mac?

“‘Hey Siri, why are you not on my Mac?’ The response I got was pretty lame. Siri told me that everything I needed to know about Apple products could be found on Apple.com,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet.

“I don’t use Siri a lot because I find that the voice recognition is still a bit poor when it comes to transcribing out emails and text messages. However, one trick that I learned from my daughter is that Siri is great for things like setting alarms and timers and such,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “And the more I use Siri for these things, the more I’m surprised that Siri isn’t also on my Mac.”

“So why is there no Siri on the Mac yet?” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “I think there are several reasons…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Having Siri available on our Macs could definitely be useful when we’re on the go with our MacBooks, but there are other logistics to be worked out. For example, our desks have 27-inch iMacs on them with iPhones attached in docks, iPads sometimes plugged in and charging, MacBooks plugged in charging, and we have Apple Watches on our wrists. It’s rather amazing right now that when one of us says “Hey Siri,” with hands on the keyboard, Siri on our iPhone awakens to listen, but not the Apple Watch on our wrist. However, when we raise our wrist and ask “Hey Siri,” Siri on our Apple Watch awakens to listen and the iPhone does nothing. Sometimes, however, our iPads also wake up to “Hey Siri” along with our iPhones and we have “two Siris” active. What’s the Mac supposed to do in our, rather typical, setup? Now, we’ll sometimes have three Siris? How many Siris do you need?

On-the-go, of course, the iPhone/iPad are usually not plugged in, so their “Hey Siri” would be inactive and it would be a case of whether the MacBook or the Apple Watch handles the “Hey Siri,” the MacBook or the Apple Watch. That would probably work well, as “Hey Siri” won’t activate Apple Watch unless you raise it purposely and if Apple could do whatever they’ve done to stop iPhone from reacting when Apple Watch’s Siri is active to the MacBook.

On the desktop, we guess if Apple limited Siri on the Mac to only being invoked by keyboard, that would work. Or if they imposed – or better yet, allowed the user to create – a hierarchy where, for example, the Mac takes precedence if an iPhone, iPad, and/or Apple Watch can also hear “Hey Siri” that would also work.

See? There are a lot of variables to consider.

Who’s wishing their Mac had Siri? Isn’t your iPhone (or iPad or Apple Watch) always nearby anyway?

New Apple patent application details ‘Siri for Mac’ virtual assistant – August 7, 2014
Siri for the Mac – May 1, 2013
Is Apple prepping Siri for Mac? – December 11, 2011


  1. I think the answer is right in front of your nose. If you were in a room full of people and you wanted to speak to one of them, you would call them by name – “Hey George”. So using Siri on multiple devices is simply the task of calling the particular device by name. Hey Phone, Hey Pad, Hey Mac….. Duh!

    1. I’m in a room full of Macs that are plugged in. So, the answer isn’t right in front of my nose. If I said, “Hey Mac,” then what? Each one would have to have it’s own unique name and I’m supposed to remember what they are?

      As MDN wrote, “See? There are a lot of variables to consider.”

      1. iPhone 6s & 6s Plus have “Hey Siri” active at all times – even when not plugged in. During the setup you have to train it to your voice so no one else besides your voice activates “Hey Siri” – I would imagine that could implemented on a Mac version as well.

        I too have often thought that allowing everyone to program a personalized spoken phrase to wake up Siri would be great. During the setup on each device allowing you to set a phrase like “Hey iPhone”, “Hey Dummy” etc. – so that when your iPad, iPhone and Watch are all fun the same room, the right device knows to answer.

        I have an iPhone 6s for a work phone and a 6s Plus for my personal phone. I had to turn “Hey Siri” off on the work 6s because I got tired of having 2 Siris answer the “Hey Siri” call. If I could program personalized phrases for each, “Hey Work Siri” for the work iPhone, “Hey Siri” for my iPhone, that would be great!

  2. I want it on my Mac. The voice transcribing for me on the iPhone is nearly perfect. With a wrist surgery years ago, the ability to voice transcribe is something that I have been really wanting on my MBA. It will make me more productive for sure.

    1. You already have what you want on your Mac.

      Enabling Voice Activated Dictation on Mac OS X
      1. Open System Preferences and go to “Dictation & Speech”
      2. Choose to enable Dictation by turning the feature on, then check the box or “Use Enhanced Dictation” then return to the system preference panel screen
      3. In System Preferences, go to “Accessibility” and scroll through the left menu to “Dictation”
      4. Click on “Dictation Commands” button, then check to “Enable advanced commands” in the options and click “Done”
      5. Back at the Dictation accessibility panel, check the box next to “Enable the dictation keyword phrase” and enter a phrase to have the Mac listen for and identify to start dictation, using something obvious but unique to the experience like “Hey Mac” is probably a good idea
      6. Optional but recommended, enable “Play sound when command is recognized” to give an auditory signal that dictation is ready, and also “Mute audio output while dictating” to avoid any on computer sound or audio from interfering

      Initiating Dictation by Voice Command on the Mac
      1. Place the Mac cursor in a text input region on screen, then use the voice command you set in the prior step, for example “Hey Mac, start dictation”
      2. Start using Dictation as usual after you hear the chime recognition sound. Stop speaking to finish or say “Hey Mac, stop dictation”

      Once Dictation is activated, all dictation commands work, including punctuation and line breaks.

  3. To get around the problem of multiple nearby devices simultaneously responding to a “Hey Siri”, why not simply let them communicate amongst themselves and work out which of the most recently had a human interacting with them? It would be reasonable to assume that the one you most recently used would be the one that you are addressing.

    Even if they didn’t cork out which one they thought you were addressing, it needn’t matter. They all use the same data, so only one of them needs to work out the correct reply, only one of them needs to respond audibly, but there would be no problem if more than one, or indeed all of them displayed the answer.

    I generally have my iMac, iPad and iPhone on my desk, there is also a MacBook and my wife’s iPad and iPhone which may sometimes be on the desk. However one of them is pretty obviously the device that it being currently used, while the others are in more of a standby mode.

    1. Because that’s not a reliable method of determining which device I’m talking to.

      (Has anyone else noticed that not only are we all talking to inanimate objects, but we’re ARGUING over the best way to do that? 🙂 )

  4. This is something I have wanted for years now, hey I even remember more than 2 years back when it was almost promised as a certainty for the next Mac OS upgrade and well before PC’s had Cortana on board, we have had at least 2 without it happening. If people are going to be encouraged to use siri more regularly then surely it needs to be available on all your devices so that it becomes more instinctive. I think MDN’s concerns are far overblown, most of us don’t have a mix of Apple devices on and by our side as we work on our Macs and really is it that difficult to initiate some personalised options for users to introduce to eradicate such dual answering and/or is technology really not there to ensure that each device can sense the presence of the others and a hierarchy (which again a user can determine even) introduced. Hey they have only had 3, 4 or more years to actually work out such a solution and plan for it. My final question is does anyone know how this apparent problem work between PCs, Surface Tablets and Windows phones then when all are present? Surely if nothing else the mouse or some form of click can activate her exclusively on the Mac.

    1. In danger of talking to myself here but just been to Windows forums where the very same subject is being discussed with various scenarios and possible solutions(though back 6 mths).
      1) General- Voice recognition of the owner seems to be vital not to wake up multiple same devices like phones which we know exists already otherwise Stabucks could get interesting.
      2) Personal multiple devices- Mention of similar concepts as I and others outline above i.e. recognition through cloud or bluetooth sinking to create a hierarchy and eventually perhaps more intelligent recognition and a response from the device most suited to the question.
      3) Otherwise pet name/id for each device as discussed by others here to activate it and it only.

      So it seems unless something has changed this past 6 mtgs the same issues do exist in the Windows world.

  5. I would like Siri on my Mac. Of course my iPhone 6S is a small stretch away, But if I’m on my computer, I want to talk to my computer.
    As far as two or three devices answering at the same time, it’s no big deal. I’m sure I’ll learn how to adjust the loudness and the direction of my voice after a short time.

    1. I agree adjustments aren’t exactly that difficult or simply turn it off in the phone while at the computer with it reactivating when lifted perhaps or when you turn it back on. There are ways around it until true intelligent and automatic solutions are available. After all in theory we could have the same problem between iPad and iPhone but havant heard anyone suggest its a problem.

  6. No, those other devices are not always there. I don’t have the full set you describe (only the iPhone). I want Siri on the iMac to respond so it can control the iMac and respond to my direction. This should be obvious but if the article is intended as an excuse for Apple inaction, I understand

  7. I want SIRI on my iMac. I’ll use it more there than on my iPhone or iPad. It’s just the way I work.

    It’s sort of the same reason I’ve argued for a small iPhone. There are different approaches to working and each style is a niche Apple should understand and design its ecosystem to take advantage of and handle.

  8. The worthless, useless, and utterly absurd Siri will hopefully NEVER be on my Mac. In the event they do make her available (shudders) it will hopefully be a voluntary addition.

    1. Your comment is worthless, useless, and utterly absurd.

      Care to actually give some examples of what you’re complaining about?

      Or do you just like to make hollow complaints?

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