O Siri Mio
"O Siri Mio!" - She just sings, and sings, and sings, and sings ....

If you are anything like me, the sound of your new HomePod somehow managed to make you fall in love with music, again. So you are sitting in front of your new speaker, wondering how to get the most out of your Apple Music subscription.

Well, Siri is always awaiting your commands.

In this post we will shed some light on Siri’s Apple Music related voice commands, which are not only limited to your HomePod, but should will also work with your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch and Mac (unless indicated otherwise). Let’s dive in …

Update 2018-08-13: Siri is a pretty good beatboxer and rapper. You can watch her in the latest AI-News episode rap battle (just rewind, in case you want to watch the full episode including news):

Just a quick note regarding the voice commands below:

  • Below table of contents, will help you to quickly jump to the commands you are interested in. Just swipe back on your mobile to return here.
  • <…> … I will spare you my musical taste, fill in your <title>, <artist>, <genre>, etc.
  • / … Our assistant understands various phrases for the same command. This means either/or, just pick one.
  • ( ) … This part of the command is optional. If you prefer short, snappy voice commands, you can omit this part of the command.

Controlling the Volume

We have quite some options when it comes to controlling the music volume, unless we are listening on Apple TV, where we have to use the remote anyway. The same goes for Apple Watch, where we can use the crown to change the volume more efficiently.

Following commands will change the volume by 10% increments:

  • Hey Siri, (change/make/turn the) volume up/down
  • Hey Siri, (make it) softer/louder
  • Hey Siri, lower/raise (the) volume
  • Hey Siri, increase/decrease (the) volume

If you forget to indicate whether it should be louder or softer, Siri will check back and ask you.

Here’s another way to set the volume, this time to a specific percentage:

  • Hey Siri, (set/turn the volume to) 50 percent.
  • Hey Siri, 30 percent (Note, that’s the snappy one)

And, if you are brave, you can try:

  • Hey Siri, set the volume to MAX! =)

Controlling the Playback

You can resume and stop playback by:

  • Hey Siri, play (music)
  • Hey Siri, stop/pause

But you can also start your personal station by saying:

  • Hey Siri, play something

To navigate within an album or playlist you can say:

  • Hey Siri, next/previous (song/track/title/tune)
  • Hey Siri, skip (this song)

Note, that “previous” will play a song from beginning, in case you are listening to a station.

To navigate within a song, you can use:

  • Hey Siri, play (this song) from (the) beginning (Note, this works but hangs on Apple Watch)
  • Hey Siri, restart (this song)
  • Hey Siri, jump/skip back/forward (x seconds/minute(s))

For shuffling and repeating we have following commands:

  • Hey Siri, repeat (this album/playlist/track)
  • Hey Siri, (turn) repeat (on/off)
  • Hey Siri, (turn) shuffle (on/off)

Note, we cannot shuffle or repeat songs on radio stations!

Navigating the Apple Music Database

There are so many ways to navigate the 45 Million songs, that we need to structure this a bit …

Playing by Title/Album/Artist

If you know what you want to hear, you can say:

  • Hey Siri, play (the song/track/title/tune) <title>
  • Hey Siri, play (the album/record) <album>
  • Hey Siri, play (music by) <artist>
  • Hey Siri, play (the song/track/title/tune) <title> by <artist> 
  • Hey Siri, play (the album/record) <album> by <artist> 

Note, that some albums on Apple Music combine songs in creative ways:

  • “Hey Siri, play this year’s Rock Grammy nominees”

Another note: Since Siri searches also for movies on Apple TV, make sure you add “music” or “song” to your voice command, in case she comes back with movie suggestions too frequently.

Playing by Genre

The list of genres and sub-genres is huge. Luckily, I found it well hidden in the iTunes affiliate documentation (scroll down to 34 Music). I am only including the main genres here, if you are looking for more specific sub-categories, check out the link above.

  • Hey Siri, play <genre> music

The main genres are:

  • Blues
  • Comedy
  • Children’s Music
  • Classic
  • Country
  • Electronic
  • Holiday
  • Opera
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Jazz
  • Latin
  • New Age
  • Pop
  • R&B/Soul
  • Soundtrack
  • Dance
  • Hip-Hop
  • World
  • Alternative
  • Rock
  • Christian/Gospel
  • Vocal
  • Reggae
  • Easy Listening

Playing Activity and Mood Related Music

Apple Music has a couple of not so obvious activities and moods, which you can use to specify what to play:

  • Hey Siri play (some) music for <activity>
  • Hey Siri play <mood> music

Here is a list of some moods I have tested, I’ve added the station they will trigger:

  • Peaceful / Meditation / Meditate / Bedtime / Sleeping -> station Meditation
  • Happy / Cheerful / Whimsical -> station Happy Music
  • Wild / Party / Fun -> station Partying
  • Stimulating / Exciting / Motivate(d) / Waking Up / Upbeat -> station Motivated Music
  • Angry -> station Angry music
  • Calm / Sad / Blue / Somber -> station sad music
  • Intimate / Erotic / Baby Making -> station Getting it on
  • Mellow / Chill / Soothing -> station chill music
  • Love / Passion / Tender / Romance / Romantic -> station Romantic and Love Music

Here we go with some activities I have tested (musically =):

  • Seperate / Split(ing) / Break(ing) Up -> station Breaking Up
  • Exercise / Cardio / Work(ing) Out -> station Working Out
  • Dinner Party / Cooking / Entertaining -> station Entertaining
  • Dance / Dancing -> station Dance
  • Focus(ing) / Study(ing) / Concentrate / Concentration -> station Focusing
  • Family Time / Safe for Kids -> station Family Time
  • Family / Kids -> station Disney

Combining Moods, Activities and Genres

Now comes the crazy part: You can combine moods, genres and activities.

  • Angry Workout -> station angry music for working out
  • Romantic Dinner Party -> station romantic and love music for entertaining
  • Angry Music to Focus -> station angry music for focusing
  • Break-Up Funk -> station funk for breaking up
  • Sad Blues -> station sad blues
  • Angry Rock -> station angry rock

In case there is no dedicated station which fits your request, Siri will fall back to a station which fits to one of your keywords.

Playing New Music

If you want to hear some fresh tracks from your favorite artist, you can say:

  • Hey Siri, play the latest song(s) by <artist>
  • Hey Siri, play the newest music by <artist>

Playing Popular/Regional Music

Interested in what is trending someplace, sometime, some genre?

  • Hey Siri, play the top10/best songs from the 80s
  • Hey Siri, play the top/best song from April 1, 2017
  • Hey Siri, play the top10/best <genre> songs
  • Hey Siri, play the best songs from <country>

Note, if you’re outside of US, Siri might come back with: “Sorry, but I don’t know the historical musical charts for your country”. Bummer. In this case you can fall back to the playlists:

  • Hey Siri, play the 80s
  • Hey Siri, play I miss the 80s

Playing Something You Rarely Hear

In case you feel like you’re hearing always the same songs:

  • Hey Siri, play something new (Note, this mostly hangs on Apple TV)
  • Hey Siri, play something I have not heard (Note, this one as well)

Playing Similar Music

There’s this one catchy song and you want to hear more like that?

Since Genius is not available everywhere, theres another great way to listen to similar music:

  • Hey Siri, make/create a radio station based on this song (Note, doesn’t work on Apple Watch)

Apart of that, you could try:

  • Hey Siri, play something else by <artist>
  • Hey Siri, play some old songs by <artist>
  • Hey Siri, play the live version of this song

Playing Favorites and Liking/Disliking

We want to hear songs we like, so we need to let Siri know what we like and what we don’t like:

  • Hey Siri, I like/love/don’t like/dislike this (song)
  • Hey Siri, don’t/never play this song again (Note, this one’s a bit buggy)

And of course your personal station will play the music that you like:

  • Hey Siri, play music I like

Controlling your Library and Playlists

You can control what should go into our library by saying:

  • Hey Siri, add this (album/song) to my library

And you can control what you’d like to hear from there:

  • Hey Siri, play my music by <artist>
  • Hey Siri, play some <genre/artist> from my library

There’s a massive library of (curated) playlists in Apple Music. We can access them this way:

  • Hey Siri, play (a/the) playlist (from/by) <artist> (Note, just making sure that you’re still aware of the snappy commands: “Hey Siri, play playlist Elvis”)

Siri cannot create playlists, but of course she can fill and play your playlists:

  • Hey Siri, play/shuffle my <playlist> (playlist)
  • Hey Siri, add this song to my <playlist> playlist (Note, does not work on a Mac)

And, just in case you feel in the mood to tell her what should come next:

  • Hey Siri, after this song, play <title>/ some <artist> (Note, does not work on a Apple Watch)

Listening to Radio Stations

Listening to radio is as straightforward as saying:

  • Hey Siri, play <radiostation> (radio)

Note, you cannot navigate backwards in radio. “Previous” will play a song from the beginning.

Getting Music Information

Siri is a knowledgeable music lover. You can ask her many questions related to music:

  • Hey Siri, who sings this?
  • Hey Siri, what song/tune/title is this?
  • Hey Siri, when was this released?
  • Hey Siri, tell me more about this artist (Note, this doesn’t work on Apple TV)
  • Hey Siri, what was the last song called/named? (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac and Apple Watch)
  • Hey Siri, what’s the name of the next song? (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac)
  • Hey Siri, what year is this song from?
  • Hey Siri, what’s <artist> newest album?
  • Hey Siri, who plays the <instrument> on this (song)? (Note, this doesn’t work on Apple TV)
  • Hey Siri, how many songs are on this album?
  • Hey Siri, what’s the station? (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac)
  • Hey Siri, what was the top song in <year>?

Watching a movie and like the song? (Note, this won’t work with AirPods, Apple Watch or Apple TV)

  • Hey Siri, listen to this song
  • Hey Siri, Shazam this

After that, just say:

  • Hey Siri, play this song

and you will find the song in your music app. Make sure to like it or add it to your library/playlist!

Manage and Listen To Podcasts

For podcasts you have following additional commands (Note, podcasts don’t work on the Apple Watch):

  • Hey Siri, play the <podcast> podcast
  • Hey Siri, subscribe to this podcast (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac)
  • Hey Siri, play it one and a half times / twice as fast / half speed / normal speed (Note, this doesn’t work on Apple TV and Mac)
  • Hey Siri, play the first episode of <podcasts> (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac)
  • Hey Siri, play the newest episode of <podcast> (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac)
  • Hey Siri, play my newest podcasts
  • Hey Siri, what podcast is this?
  • Hey Siri, subscribe to <podcast> (Note, doesn’t work on a Mac)

Conclusion

Pleasantly surprised by the many, many Apple Music voice commands Siri understands, I nearly lost my voice testing them on all the devices.

The limitations on Apple TV, Mac and Apple Watch seem more like bugs, than device specific restrictions. Apple will need to fix this on it’s way towards ONE Siri across all devices.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this extensive list of Siri Apple Music commands. Maybe it helps you too, to fall in love with music (again), if you have not already?

For more Siri posts, see: Apple Siri.

The musical showdown between our assistants, is already here: Musical Assistant Showdown: Who will win, Siri, Google or Alexa?

If you have any questions or new music commands, please share with us in the comment section below!

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m trying to find a comprehensive list of genres, so I told it to play “light opera”, and it did. Many of my guesses get turned into a particular song with a name similar to a genre guess. (Or telling it to play “my favorites”)

    I have some playlists that my HomePod can’t find, and others that it can find, even though none have songs that have the cloud icon error.

    I only got Apple Music after I got my HomePod, and I haven’t figured out how to get my iMac’s iTunes to pick music. I see that my iPad and iPhone have a heart “for you” icon in their music apps.

    • Thanks Matthias! I have now updated the features which do not work for Apple TV, Apple Watch and Mac. Hope Apple will fix this soon. Stay tuned: Voice Commands for Amazon, Google and Spotify coming soon!
      Cheers,
      K.

  2. I guess, I might have missed some …
    Appreciate, if you could let me know and I will extend the list!
    Thanks & Cheers!

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