How to Add Phonetic Names to Contacts on the iPhone

Siri, like Google Assistant, can struggle with pronouncing your friends’ names, especially if there are silent letters or odd combinations. But there’s a way to fix that.

It’s especially bad for me; a lot of my friends have Irish names like Sinéad (pronounced Shin-ade), Eabha (Ay-va), Siobhán (Shiv-awn), or Sadhbh (Sive). As you can see, Irish is pretty big on adding extra letters that are pronounced in a totally different way to any other language!

The good thing is, it’s very easy to add a “Phonetic Name” to your contacts on iOS. This way, Siri knows what way to pronounce things, and will understand you better when you try to make a call or text. Here’s how.

Open the Contacts app (or go to the Contacts screen in the Phone app) and select the contact you want to add a Phonetic Name for. I’m going to add one for my fictional friend Sadhbh MacLochlain.

Tap Edit in the top right, scroll down to the bottom and then tap Add Field.

Select Phonetic First Name (or Phonetic Last Name) and the empty field will get added to the contact.

Enter a rough phonetic pronunciation for the name and then tap Done.

Now Siri will actually pronounce your friends’ name correctly, and understand you when you say it.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.