macOS Sierra Siri teaser 003

Five years after its introduction in 2011, Siri finally made its debut on Mac with the release of macOS Sierra. Featuring much of the functionality that Siri contains on iOS, such as being able to check the weather forecast or set a reminder, Siri for macOS also has some exclusive abilities, such as handling documents in the file system and being able to pin results to Notification Center.

One feature that macOS’s Siri didn’t port from its mobile counterpart, however, is the ability to activate Apple’s digital assistant hands-free with the “Hey Siri” command. Fortunately, there’s a viable workaround available that enables users to invoke Siri in macOS with their voice to give commands from across the room.

Step 1: To begin, open System Preferences on your Mac.

This can be done by activating Spotlight search, typing “System Preferences”, and pressing the Return key, or by locating the System Preferences app in your Applications folder.

Accessibility Settings on Mac

Step 2: Click Accessibility, and then use the scrolling pane on the left to select Dictation.

Step 3: Check the box beside Enable the dictation keyword phrase and enter “Hey” in the text field.

Step 4: Click Dictation Commands… and choose the + button on the left of the pane to add a new command.

Step 5: In the When I say field, type “Siri”, choose While Using “Any Application”, and beside Perform, select “Open Finder Items…”

Step 6: Browse to your Applications folder, and scroll down until you find the Siri app, or search for it in the search box.

Step 7: Select Siri.app, click Open, and click Done.

Now, saying “Hey Siri” will invoke Siri on your Mac, and you can change each of the words to anything you want, such as “OK Siri” or “Hello Jarvis” so you won’t accidentally activate Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

Obviously, this is an unofficial workaround to get hands-free Siri on macOS, but during testing it often responded close to or just as fast as Siri on my iPhone, so it can definitely come in handy for anyone wanting to call up Siri from across the room. Otherwise, it’s one less keyboard shortcut to remember.