In this question, I asked how to have Siri specifically send an SMS message to a person who does not have an SMS-capable iOS device registered with Apple, but does have iMessage on e.g. an iPad.

The answer was to say e.g. "Text Alice on mobile I'll be there soon," since "Text Alice" or even "SMS Alice" would not force Siri to use any specific mechanism.

However, we could not discover what magic word one could use in place of "mobile" to force the opposite effect: sending an iMessage instead of an SMS. Words I've tried include:

  • email
  • iMessage
  • iOS
  • iPad

All of the above result in a message containing the magic word, e.g. "Text Alice on iMessage I'll be there soon" results simply in a message reading "On iMessage I'll be there soon."

Does anyone know what the magic word is for iMessage, if there is one? Such a magic word would allow me to use Siri to send my choice of an SMS or an iMessage to Alice, since Alice carries both a non-Apple mobile phone and an iPad, though she does not necessarily have both on her or online at any given time.

4 Answers 4


I believe that the siri command for imessage is: Message Alice i'll be there soon. This will not prevent it from sending a text message. To prevent it from sending a text message, go into settings --> messages --> and turn off the "Send as SMS" switch.

In her contact it should look like this:

Alice Appleseed


Email: [email protected]

What you need to do is try to message her on one of these accounts.

Try saying: "message alice on her email...I'll see you later"

Then: "message alice on her mobile...I'll see you later"

The point is: you want to state where you want to send the message. If you just say "message Alice", then siri will ask you where you want the message to go.

Since the iPad doesn't have a phone number, you message it through its email address (this will have to send an iMessage). The non-iPhone uses its phone number (this will have to send a text message).

I hope this helps.

Update: Brought to my attention by the author of the original question, the method above: "message alice on her email...I'll see you later" is not fully effective.

Rather, saying it this way:

"message alice on iCloud...I'll see you later"

will send the imessage to Alice's iCloud email address (which must be set up by her as an E-mail address which can contact her via imessage). Note: If I'm correct, the E-mail account used as a contact point does not have to be an iCloud account (although it may be better to use one anyway). For instance, you could use the E-mail account of [email protected], yet label it as an iCloud account in Contacts, and it SHOULD work the same.

Sadly, I have since stopped using Siri, simply because I have been too busy, so feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this all.

Glad I could help. (surprised that you remembered my answer, since it was written a good while ago.)

  • You are right that it does not prevent an SMS from being sent. I should also have been more clear in my question that I wished to maintain both SMS and iMessage ability, since "Alice" has both a non-Apple mobile phone and and iPad (not all that uncommon!) and I wish to control where the message will go. I'll edit my question.
    – Mattie
    Commented May 17, 2013 at 1:47
  • Take a look at my updated answer. Commented May 17, 2013 at 15:25
  • I unfortunately no longer know how it worked before iOS 7, but this sort of thing does appear to work now. I currently have an email labeled "iCloud" for my "Alice" which allows me to say "message Alice on iCloud etc." But I also need to be careful to not say e.g. "home" if I have both a number and email for "home", because Siri will select and try to text the home phone instead regardless of what her display says. So! If you'd like to polish up the answer a bit to reflect this, I'll be happy to accept it.
    – Mattie
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 11:54
  • @zigg I see what you mean... Take a look at my updated answer. Commented Nov 2, 2013 at 16:42

Get the person to unregister their phone number from iMessage, then the message Alice on mobile request will be semantically valid and will use SMS to their phone.

There is a web page for unregistering phone numbers without an iOS device, but since they have an iPad they should be able to go into their settings and uncheck the phone number.

Under Settings -> Messages -> Send & Receive:

iMessage settings screen, heavily redacted

Since the device is an iPad, not an iPhone unlike my screenshot, their phone number should be able to be disabled.


Go to SettingsMessages, then disable Send as SMS and disable MMS Messaging.

That way you're forcing Siri to use iMessage.

  • Unfortunately, this does not address the question, as I need to be able to select one or the other on the fly.
    – Mattie
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 11:45

You can send an iMessage to an Apple ID, but the recipient must be logged in to that ID on the receiving device.

You can also send it to a phone number IF that phone number is associated with an Apple ID and you are logged in. In this case, an Apple server maps the number to the Apple ID and sends the iMessage there.

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