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, 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.

  • OWashe

    Nice, it would have been cool if they added it by default.

  • oo.p


  • LOst LEL

    It does not work 🙁

  • nova voter

    Great article!! Works awesome. Thanks!

  • I have been using voice commands for quite some time and I found it to have two issues:
    I drains the battery like crazy
    It some times prevents your screen from starting the screensaver and/or going to sleep.
    You may want to keep an eye out for those two, just to be sure.

  • Sailor_V90

    I don’t think I’ll use Siri on my iMac, I don’t see the point in it. The only time I even use “Hey Siri” on my iPhone is when I’m cooking, but other than that I just do it myself.

    • philip Mills

      yes me 2 .tryed this not that good and it don’t work the best of times

  • Armed in the Villa

    I’ll be damned that worked

  • workin

    cool I needed another step to enable enhanced dictation which requires another 1.2gb I haven’t tried

  • works perfectly! even with ‘ciao roma’ as the phrase. i was gobsmacked.

    grazie millione! /guido

  • if only siri didn’t hate my a$$. these voice assistants (i have 4 now) are 20 years minimum away from being more useful than they are frustrating.