Siri and emails

Siri is good at reading out a list of subjects and email but not so good at reading an entire email. When composing an email Siri will go through the steps but if you stop for a second it will finish composing. Literally you cannot take a breath.


After the section on doing the writing you are given a choice to Send  or Edit or Add. It’s Add command that will allow you to finish an email of some length.


Speaking email is an app that does that job better. But for blind the sound supportive step-by-step guidance.  Here are some suggestions:-

Can Siri read emails? How to listen to emails on your iPhone – why Siri isn’t you best bet

  • Siri can read emails but has rudimentary email reading skills. Ask Siri “read me my emails” to hear your first 25 email subjects and senders. To get the full text of the email you need to ask “read my last email”, but you have to repeatedly push the listen button and ask for emails to be read out one at a time – using the same format, such as “read my second email”. There’s no way to have Siri speak emails continuously or read the next email or to interact in the context of the current email (eg archive or flag).

    Speaking Email on the other hand is specifically designed for reading out emails. Unlike Siri, it does not distract you with voice control or require your attention, but intead provides a great email client using your phone’s native text-to-speech capability and a focus on safety while driving.

    We tailor the experience to the medium and the context. For example with email we detect legalese disclaimers, email signatures and other common email clutter and skip over them. Siri won’t do this because it needs to handle a wide range of tasks.


The basics – commands that you can use with Siri

  • Call or FaceTime someone. Ex.: “Call Sarah,” or “FaceTime Mom.”
  • Start a call on speakerphone. Ex.””Call Mom on speaker.”
  • Call an emergency number. Ex.: “Call 911,” or “Call the fire department.”
  • Check voice mail. Ex.: “Do I have any new voice mail?” or “Play the voice mail from Mom.”
  • Text someone. Ex.: “Tell [name] I am on my way,” or “Tell [name] I am going to the store.”
  • Send an email. Ex.: “Send email to [name] about [subject] and say [message].”
  • Hear your messages or emails read aloud. Ex.: “Read my new messages,” or “Check email.”
  • Set a timer. Ex.: “Set the timer for 10 minutes.”
  • Check the weather. Ex.: “What’s the weather like today?” or “Do I need an umbrella?”
  • Check stocks. Ex.: “What’s Apple’s stock price?” or “Where’s the NASDAQ today?”
  • Conversions (of all kinds). Ex.: “How many cups are in a quart?” or “How many dollars are in a Euro?” or “How many pounds are in a stone?”
  • Calculate tips. Ex.: “What is a 20 percent tip on $68?”
  • Solve math problems. Ex.: “What is 234 divided by 6?” or “What is the square root of 16?”

Phone and settings

  • Take a picture.
  • Take a selfie.
  • Turn on/off [Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular Data, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Night Shift]
  • Increase/decrease brightness.
  • Open [app].
  • Designate contacts as relationships. Ex.: “My mom is Sandy Jacobsson,” or “Timmy Jacobsson is my brother.” Once a relationship is established, you can say relationships instead of names (e.g., “Call my brother,” instead of “Call Timmy Jacobsson”).
  • Adjust music volume. Ex.: “Adjust volume to 80 percent,” or “Turn the volume up/down.”
  • “How much free space to I have?” (Mac specific)

Scheduling and reminders

  • Schedule or cancel a meeting. Ex.: “Schedule a meeting with [name] tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.” or “Cancel my 5 p.m. appointment.”
  • What appointments do I have tomorrow?
  • Set location-aware reminders. Ex.: “Remind me to remember my keys when I leave,” or “Remind me to feed the dog when I get home.”
  • Find out the date and day of the week of holidays. Ex.: “When is Easter?” or “When is Labor Day?”
  • Set alarms. Ex.: “Set an alarm for 1 a.m.” or “Set an alarm for six hours from now.”
  • Delete/turn off all alarms. Ex. “Delete all alarms” or “Turn off all alarms.”
  • Check the number of days between dates. Ex.: “How many days until October 6?” or “How many days between April 3 and June 16?”
  • Find out what time it is in another city. Ex.: “What time is it in Tokyo?”


  • Define [word].
  • What is a synonym for [word]?
  • What’s the etymology of [word]?
  • Find photos. Ex.: “Show me photos from last week,” or “Show me my selfies,” or “Show me photos from Tokyo.”
  • Search Twitter. Ex.: “What’s Kylie Jenner saying,” “Search Twitter for [keyword],” or “What’s trending on Twitter?”
  • Find specific notes or emails. Ex.: “Find my note about [keyword],” or “Find emails about [keyword].”
  • Find your friends (if you have “Find My Friends” set up). Ex.: “Where is Ron?” or “Who is near me?”
  • Find pictures of [keyword].
  • Find apps. Ex.: “Get the Twitter app,” or “Search the App Store for word games.”
  • Search for Word/PDF/PowerPoint/etc. in my Download/My Documents/etc. folder. Ex.: “Show all PowerPoint presentations in my school folder.” (Mac specific)


  • Take me home.
  • What’s traffic like on the way home?
  • Find [driving, walking, transit] directions to [destination].
  • How do I get to [destination] by [walking, bus, bike, car, train, etc.]?
  • Where is [business name]?
  • Where is the nearest [business type]?
  • Find out how long until you arrive. Ex.: “What’s my ETA?”
  • How much does gas cost right now?


  • Sports updates. Ex.: “Did the Tigers win?” or “What was the score the last time the Tigers played the Yankees?” or “How did the Tigers do last night?”
  • Info about a sport or sports team. Ex.: “What basketball games are on today?” or “Get me college football rankings” or “Show me the roster for the Red Wings.”
  • Find movie times and locations. Ex.: “What’s playing at Regal L.A. Live?” or “What are some movies playing near me?” or “Is [movie name] playing near me?”
  • Find out what song is playing in the room (through Shazam). Ex.: “What song is this?”
  • What’s the synopsis of [movie name]?

Music and Apple Music

  • Basic controls: Play, pause/stop, skip/next, play previous song.
  • Play [artist] or [song name] or or [album].
  • “Play some music” to begin a custom Apple Music radio station
  • ‘Like’ the song you’re listening to. Ex.: “Like this song.”
  • Shuffle my playlist.
  • Choose the next song. Ex.: “After this, play Wildest Dreams.”
  • Find chart-toppers from certain years. Ex.: “Play the top songs from 2013.”
  • Play songs that are similar to the one you’re listening to. Ex.: “Play more like this.”
  • What song is this?
  • Buy this song.


  • Check flight status. Ex.: “Check flight status of [airline and flight number]”
  • Find restaurants and make reservations. Ex.: “What’s a good Chinese restaurant near me?” or “Make a reservation at Baco Mercat for 7 p.m.” or “Find a table for six in San Francisco tonight.”
  • Find a business’ hours. Ex.: “How late is [business name] open?” or “Is [business name] open right now?”
  • Learn about the area you’re in. Ex.: “What’s the nearest museum?” or “Where am I?” or “What bridge is this?”


Starting with iOS 11, Siri can translate five different languages: French, German, Mandarin, Spanish and Italian. Using the new feature is as easy as asking, “How do you say [word or phrase] in [language]?” For example: “How do you say where is the bathroom in French?”

Siri will then read the translation out loud. You’ll see the text on the screen alongside a play button, which you can use to replay the translation.

Third-party apps

Beginning with iOS 10, developers have been able to integrate their apps into Siri. Meaning, you can use voice commands to do things such as send WhatsApp messages, request an Uber or send money via Square Cash. You can view and customize which apps are granted access to Siri on your device under Settings > Siri >App Support.

  • Pay Joe 10 dollars with Square Cash/PayPal/etc.
  • Send a message using WhatsApp/LinkedIn/Skype/WeChat/etc.
  • Call me an Uber/Lyft/etc.
  • Show me photos in [app name].
  • Show me pins/creations in [app name].

Random tips and tricks

  • Find out what airplanes are currently flying above you. Ex.: “What airplanes are above me?”
  • Roll a die or roll two dice.
  • Flip a coin.
  • What is your favorite color?
  • Tell me a joke.
  • What does the fox say?
  • Knock knock.
  • Who’s on first?
  • Why did the chicken cross the road?
  • What is zero divided by zero?
  • Learn how to say my name.

Access to coding tool – testers required

From Fil McIntrye:-

Birmingham City University are currently seeking participants with physical disabilities to trial a coding/programming system.  If you know anyone who would be willing please get in touch with Chris Creed.

Participants would need to have at least a passing interest in coding or technology development.  Full details below.


Many thanks


“iPad is disabled” message


Interesting problem to solve this week. A client had the message “iPad is disabled” and her iPad was effectively locked. it would not even connect to iTunes account . The answer was to switch off completely have the USB cable ready to be connected . When starting up again hold down the Home button until you see the connect to iTunes message.  This enabled me to reset the iPad and have it back up and running,

This will explain how to do it:-

  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the device, but leave the other end of the cable connected to your computer’s USB port.
  2. Turn off the device: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red slider appears, then slide the slider. Wait for the device to shut down.
  3. While pressing and holding the Home button, reconnect the USB cable to the device. The device should turn on.
  4. Continue holding the Home button until you see the Connect to iTunes screen.
  5. iTunes will alert you that it has detected a device in recovery mode. Click OK, and then restore the device.
  6. Follow the prompts in Setup Assistant and proceed to “Set up your device.”
  7. If you used iCloud for backup, tap Restore from a Backup, then sign in to iCloud.
  8. Proceed to “Choose backup,” then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud.

SleepHelp for Autism

Hi Myles,
I hope your week is off to a great start! I noticed all the helpful autism-related resources you have on your site and thought I’d reach out to let you know about the work my team is doing. I work for Sleep Help, a site dedicated to promoting sleep health and wellness. We’ve been researching the connection between sleep disorders and autism, and we’ve created a resource specifically to help adults and children with autism get better sleep:
In this guide, we cover the current research behind how and why autism can affect sleep, including melatonin production and sensory complications. We also include many helpful sleep and bedtime tips for both adults with autism and caretakers of children with autism.

Synapptics v7 – new update

I have this email from Synapptics which explains some new and interesting developments for their Android-based system for blind and partially sighted:-

Dear Myles,

We’re writing to let you know that Version 7, our new release of Synapptic software, is here! 

We’ve now added over 20 new features! Download your FREE 15-day trial version today, by visiting our website and try it out for yourself!

Here’s a glimpse of some of Version 7’s great new features:

• Our new Synapptic Screenreader, makes it easy to access a whole world of apps, enabling you to switch easily between Synapptic and Android screens automatically, with instant speech!

• Add your favourite apps onto Synapptic’s Main Menu, like WhatsApp for free messaging to friends & family, Be My Eyes for free sighted assistance, Spotify to listen to music and podcasts, Netflix for films and Audible to access the world’s largest collection of audiobooks

• Make calls easily through automated phone systems, where you need to select options, and pick up your voicemail messages quickly

• Our enhanced Synapptic web searching design makes it easier to search the Internet, with results displayed in a clear and simple Synapptic list.
Visit our website at and check out our latest V7 videos for details on all the new features.

What’s more, we’re also launching our new phone and tablet product range, which includes the most up-to-date models from Samsung. Check these out by heading over to our website at

Contact us today on 0191 909 7 909, email us at or visit our website to place an order or for further information.
Kind regards,


Adrian Sach
Synapptic Ltd
Tel: 0191 909 7 909
Mobile: 07967 470 854

We’ve moved!  Our new postal address is:

Synapptic Ltd, Adelaide House, Adelaide Court, Belmont Business Park, Durham, DH1 1TW.

Synapptic. Seeing things your way. ®

This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Synapptic Ltd. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must neither take any action based upon its contents, nor copy or show it to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received this email in error. All orders are subject to our Terms and Conditions of sales and services, which are available at
Synapptic Ltd, company registration number 07907528.


There a lot of different type of note taking tools put there and although I do like Notes on the iPad Bear offers a few more tools. I like the way you can organise your information. And it can be moved around up the tree to be made more important,

The range of tools are good – there are tools for editing around the screen which I have always found tricky on the iPad and apple doesn’t like having arrow keys.

There is a checklist button for making to do lists. A useful festures is hashtags which would enable searching and tracking of your work.

Of course there is images and drawing,, bullet points, different type of headings. A small selection of fonts , including open dyslexic That would be useful but as it is an app that can just be used to quickly get information down.

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like:-

There a few themes to use. Some are inapps purchase. This one is dark theme which is good for standout notes and clarity in low light.

Finally it would be useful for secondary aged students with its more mature ans practical tools.