Make Siri Save Contact Relationships

The iPhone 4S arrived yesterday and I’ve been loving it. Siri is amazing. I did run into problems getting Siri to save relationships between myself and other contacts though. I’d ask, “What is my brother’s birthday?” Siri would go through the process of asking me for his name and confirming I wanted it to remember he was my brother. But it wouldn’t stick.

I took a look at my contact in the address book and noticed the only relationships it was saving were spouse, assistant, and manager as shown to the right. Pretty lame right?

I sync contacts from Gmail using the Exchange method in order to get multiple calendars from the account to sync. When I went into Google contacts I was able to add the proper relationships without a problem, but they wouldn’t transfer to the iPhone. I wrote a quick post asking if anyone else had run into this problem. A commenter gave a solution so I wanted to share it in detail.

* Before you continue, if you are only using iCloud contacts, you should not need to follow these steps.

The first thing you need to do is enable iCloud contacts sync. Go to Settings->iCloud to do this. Then go to the Contacts app and switch Groups to make sure you are looking at All iCloud. Add a new contact with your first and last name (make sure it matches your contact in the Gmail address book). Scroll down and you’ll be able to set up relationships by choosing from a long list of types instead of only the three previously mentioned. Add any relationships you need and save the contact. At the bottom of the contact it should show Linked Cards as it matches up with the Gmail contact. This is the only contact I have saved in the All iCloud group.

The last step is to head into Settings->General->Siri and make sure My Info is set to your contact entry. Now you should be all set and Siri will know who your Mom and Brother are. This may work automatically if you have both Gmail Contacts syncing and have iCloud Contacts enabled.

It seems weird that iPhone Contacts would use different formats for iCloud and other synced sources. Hopefully it’ll be fixed in a future iOS release. Enjoy!