Q. The Siri voice assistant seems to come on randomly when I type on my Mac. What activates it?
A. Siri, Apple’s virtual software assistant now built into its Mac operating system, can be activated with a keyboard shortcut. If you are typing along and press the space bar and command keys at the same time for a second or two, Siri pops up to ask if you need help.
If you suspect keystrokes are causing Siri to appear, you can change or turn off the keyboard shortcut. To do so, click the System Preferences icon in the Mac’s desktop dock; you can also get there by going to the Apple menu and choosing System Preferences. When the box opens, click the Siri icon in the bottom row.
In the Siri preferences box, click the menu next to Keyboard Shortcut. Here, you can choose a different key combination — either holding down the space bar and Option key or holding down the space bar and Function (Fn) key; you can also create your own custom keyboard shortcut. If you would rather not summon Siri by keyboard at all, choose Off from the menu.
The Siri preferences box has a few other controls for the software. You can choose the language you want to use to talk to Siri — more than 20 languages with different regional variations are available. In many languages, you can select a male or female voice for the assistant. If want to keep Siri off the keyboard but within easy reach, you have the option to show the Siri icon in the Mac’s top menu bar.
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