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!

23 Replies to “Make Siri Save Contact Relationships”

  1. I’ve actually done all those steps and Siri remembers my father and my cousin but refuses to remember who my boyfriend is, they were all entered the same and are correct – its driving me a bit batty! Anyone have any idea what the issue might be?


      1. Actually it is, Siri created it when I told it “xx is my boyfriend” the same way I added father and cousin. I tried adding him as honey but it got all confused. Oh well apple tech support it is…


        1. It’s not listed in the relationship types in my screenshot above. If you look at your contact in the address book you can see what relationship type it set for your boyfriend.


    1. I found that instead of linking my contact information, I had to delete my original info and create it all in iCloud. Then I still had to tell Siri who my girlfriend was, but since then she has remembered.


  2. Using Google Sync and thought I’d try this, but when I go to iCloud, ALL of my contacts are already there, so I can’t seem to have just me in there. Bought my phone at the Apple store and they set it up initially using iCloud, then backtracked when I told them I wanted to set up my contacts with Google Sync. How do I fix the relationship bug now?


    1. You probably need to turn off iCloud sync of contacts and delete them. Before you do that though I would make sure to grab a backup from Google. Each setup in different though, so I can’t say for sure. As long as you grab a backup first you can’t really mess things up without being able to get them back.


  3. THANKS! This was the only post I found that did not tell me stupid stuff. My sister will be happy to know she will no longer have to be my assistant! This post was incredibly helpful!


  4. I have two sisters,and would like to add them two as my sister in my contacts so siri could recognize them,but I could only add one only…please help thanks


    1. You can add them both. Tell Siri to remember that ( blah blah is your sister) after that is confirmed, tell Siri that blah blah#2 is your sister. Confirm that. Siri will just ask you which sister, when u say, “text my sister.” Siri will say, “which sister?” You can then choose a sister.


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