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Mirror Voice Commands with Siri


Siri voice control of MagicMirror utilizes a command line interface that issues commands to the MagicMirror system. The shell command is executed using an SSH Shortcut.

Apple SSH shortcuts can be used to execute commands on systems that allow SSH access. On an iOS device create shortcuts which use the “Run script over SSH” option for Apple Scripting shortcuts. The shortcuts execute a Bash command which is a shell script that executes the Python script with appropriate arguments.

I will describe in detail this method for voice control of MagicMirror using Siri and the setup precedure required.

Table of Contents

  1. MirrorCommand Setup
  2. MirrorCommand Installation
    1. Debian Package installation
    2. RPM Package installation
    3. ALSA audio input and output devices configuration
  3. Post installation configuration
    1. Add keys to mirrorkeys
    2. Configure mirror script
    3. Rerun initialization scripts
  4. MirrorCommand Test
  5. Apple Siri Setup
  6. Apple Siri MagicMirror Control Setup
    1. Navigating the Shortcuts App
    2. Configuring the Shortcut
    3. Naming the Shortcut
    4. Testing the Shortcut
      1. Adding the Shortcut to the Home Screen
    5. Adding More Shortcuts
    6. Troubleshooting Shortcuts
      1. Verify Command Line Execution
      2. Verify SSH Authentication
      3. Verify SSH Enabled
      4. Modify SSH Command
  7. References

MirrorCommand Setup

Voice control of MagicMirror as described in this document requires the use of a command line interface to issue the MagicMirror commands. This is accomplished with the MirrorCommand package which contains a shell command that acts as a frontend to MagicMirror and system actions.

See the MirrorCommand README for an overview of this package and documentation on its installation, configuration, and use.

MirrorCommand Installation

MirrorCommand v2.0.0 and later can be installed on Linux systems using either the Debian packaging format or the Red Hat Package Manager (RPM).

Debian Package installation

Many Linux distributions, most notably Ubuntu and its derivatives, use the Debian packaging system.

To tell if a Linux system is Debian based it is usually sufficient to check for the existence of the file /etc/debian_version and/or examine the contents of the file /etc/os-release.

To install on a Debian based Linux system, download the latest Debian format package from the MirrorCommand Releases.

Install the MirrorCommand package by executing the command

sudo apt install ./MirrorCommand_<version>-<release>.deb


sudo dpkg -i ./MirrorCommand_<version>-<release>.deb

RPM Package installation

Red Hat Linux, SUSE Linux, and their derivatives use the RPM packaging format. RPM based Linux distributions include Fedora, AlmaLinux, CentOS, openSUSE, OpenMandriva, Mandrake Linux, Red Hat Linux, and Oracle Linux.

To install on an RPM based Linux system, download the latest RPM format package from the MirrorCommand Releases.

Install the MirrorCommand package by executing the command

sudo yum localinstall ./MirrorCommand_<version>-<release>.rpm


sudo rpm -i ./MirrorCommand_<version>-<release>.rpm

ALSA audio input and output devices configuration

The MirrorCommand installation attempts to detect and configure ALSA audio input and output devices such as a microphone, webcam, or DAC.

The installation process will modify /etc/asound.conf if it detects audio devices incorrectly configured. No changes are made to individual users’ .asoundrc in their home directories. If you wish to override the settings configured by the set_asound_conf command, you can do so by creating an .asoundrc file in your home directory and managing the ALSA audio device settings there.

To reconfigure the /etc/asound.conf ALSA audio configuration file, issue the command:

sudo /usr/local/bin/set_asound_conf

Post installation configuration

The MirrorCommand installation process cannot automatically configure your private keys which are used to access various services the MagicMirror utilizes. For example, you may have private keys to access a weather service, Telegram, Google services, or the MMM-Remote-Control module.

Before you can use the MirrorCommand utilites and config files you will need to add any keys you wish to use to the appropriate config files and utilities.

Add keys to mirrorkeys

Don’t Panic! The MirrorCommand package includes utilities to add and remove private keys. To do so:

Edit the file /usr/local/MirrorCommand/etc/mirrorkeys adding the keys you have previously generated/retrieved to each of the ‘keys[FOO]’ settings with corresponding ‘dumb[FOO]’ setting, leaving the ‘dumb[FOO]’ setting as-is

Add the keys you wish to set and leave those you do not wish to set empty

After adding your keys, execute the command


The showkeys command will read the mirrorkeys file and edit the appropriate configuration files in /usr/local/MirrorCommand containing the placeholder dummy settings.

For more info on the showkeys command and the /usr/local/MirrorCommand/etc/mirrorkeys configuration file, see the man pages [showkeys.1](https://gitlab.com/doctorfree/MirrorCommand/-/wikis/showkeys.1){:target="_blank"}{:rel="noopener noreferrer"} and [mirrorkeys.5](https://gitlab.com/doctorfree/MirrorCommand/-/wikis/mirrorkeys.5){:target="_blank"}{:rel="noopener noreferrer"} by executing the man command:

man showkeys

man 5 mirrorkeys

Unfortunately, it is not possible to automate this process any further than is done here with the showkeys command and mirrorkeys configuration file. There are nearly 40 preconfigured dummy key values and corresponding empty keys settings in the distributed /usr/local/MirrorCommand/etc/mirrorkeys file. It is a tedious task to acquire all these keys but that is the state of the art in 21st Century Internet services at this time. On the plus side, all of these services can be obtained without charge. Perhaps in the future some enterprising young entrepreneur will create a meta-service that can generate keys for the myriad of services available via the web.

It is strongly recommended that you take the time to acquire those keys you will need to access the services your MagicMirror will be activating prior to or immediate following installation of the MirrorCommand package. It is not necessary to obtain keys for all of the services, only those you may use. For example, you may intend to deploy a MagicMirror as a News, Weather, and Stock tracking display. In that case, the only keys you may need to acquire might be an OpenWeather API key, Dark Sky API key, IEX Cloud API key, and CoinMarketCap API key. Leaving all other key settings blank in the mirrorkeys file will not effect display of activated and configured services - it simply does not enable access to those services you do not use.

Configure mirror script

Edit the main MagicMirror management script, /usr/local/MirrorCommand/bin/mirror, setting:

  • Location of your MagicMirror installation
  • IP address of your MagicMirror
  • Port for your MMM-Remote-Control module
  • MMM-Remote-Control API Key (this is configured by showkeys above)
  • Configuration subdirectories

Defaults for these are:

  • MM=”${HOME}/MagicMirror”
  • IP=”MM.M.M.MM”
  • PORT=”8080”
  • apikey=”xxx_Remote-Control-API-Key_xxxxx”
  • CONF_SUBDIRS=”Artists JAV Models Photographers”

In most cases you will only need to set the MMM-Remote-Control API key. The IP setting should have been configured properly during installation and the MMM-Remote-Control API key is set by the showkeys command after the mirrorkeys file has been configured with the API key.

If you have not configured an API key for MagicMirror remote control then set the apikey to blank ( apikey= ).

Rerun initialization scripts

The MirrorCommand installation process attempts to configure the audio and video display settings of the system. These configuration scripts can be rerun post-installation if reconfiguration is desired. For example, if the installation was performed in the absence of a running X server then the video display settings may be incorrect. Or, if the audio settings changed due to the addition of a USB audio device after installation then the audio settings may need to be re-initialized.

To perform these adjustments post-installation rerun the initialization scripts.

To adjust the video display settings, execute the command:


The set_mirror_screens command will prompt for the display mode, Portrait or Landscape, and configure the file /usr/local/MirrorCommand/etc/mirrorscreen. This command should be run when the display setup changes. For example, if an additional monitor is added to the system or the existing monitor is upgraded with a higher resolution or display mode.

To adjust the audio input/output settings, execute the command:

sudo /usr/local/bin/set_asound_conf -e

The set_asound_conf command will provide a dialog to select the desired audio output and input devices and configure the file /etc/asound.conf. This command should be run when the audio setup changes. For example, if an audio USB device is added to the system or you wish to change configured audio input/output devices. This command can also be used to check the current configuration with sudo set_asound_conf -c, restore the original configuration with sudo set_asound_conf -r, and select a configuration for you with sudo set_asound_conf -e -n. See set_asound_conf -u for a full usage message.

MirrorCommand Test

Once the initial installation and configuration of MirrorCommand on a system in your local network is accomplished, test the system to verify it can communicate successfully with the MagicMirror system. Try a simple MagicMirror command like running the default MagicMirror config file:

mirror default

After verifying the MirrorCommand package is successfully communicating with the MagicMirror system, proceed to the next section.

Apple Siri Setup

To get started with Apple SSH shortcuts first enable SSH access on the system where the MirrorCommand package was installed. Follow one of the many guides for setting up SSH with Apple Shortcuts. For example, these two guides should get you started:

Verify that Apple Siri is working and responds to queries like “Hey Siri”, “What time is it?”. Verify that SSH Shortcuts are working by creating a shortcut that performs a simple command like ping as described in the guides above. On recent versions of Apple’s iOS the Shortcuts setting for “Allow Running Scripts” is disabled. You may need to enable “Allow Running Scripts” in Shortcuts by visiting Settings -> Shortcuts on your iOS device and enabling “Allow Running Scripts”.

Once Siri and SSH Shortcuts are confirmed to be working, proceed to the next section.

Apple Siri MagicMirror Control Setup

After verifying that Apple Siri is working, SSH Shortcuts are enabled and working, and MirrorCommand has been installed and configured on a system in the same local area network as your MagicMirror system, it’s now time to configure MagicMirror control using Apple Siri.

Open the Shortcuts app on your iOS device. Tap My Shortcuts and All Shortcuts. Tap the + symbol at the top right corner of the app window to create a new shortcut. Tap Add Action then Scripting. Scroll down the list of scripting actions to the Shell category. Tap Run Script Over SSH.

Configuring the Shortcut

This should add the “Run script over SSH” action to the new shortcut. Tap Show More to view and modify the details of the scripting action. Set the Host entry to the IP address of the system on which MirrorCommand was installed. For example, Set the User entry to the user on the MirrorCommand system that you want to run the command as. For example, my user’s username is “pi”.

Tap SSH Key for Authentication. In the text box that says Script enter the command you wish to execute. To get started, try something simple like mirror default which sets the MagicMirror config to config-default.js and starts the MagicMirror. Now that the details of the scripting action have been set, tap Next in the top right of the New Shortcut window.

NOTE: Some users have reported their SSH Shortcuts do not work unless they are run in a login shell. To run a Shortcut in a login shell preface the command you wish to run with bash -l -c ... and surround the command in quotes. For example, to run the command mirror default in a login shell, when configuring the Shortcut Script, use the command:

bash -l -c "mirror default"

Naming the Shortcut

Enter the name of the Shortcut. By default, the name of the Shortcut will be used as the phrase Siri will recognize to run this Shortcut. Choose a Shortcut name that both reflects the action it performs and will be easily recognized by Siri. Voice assistants can be picky. For example, using “MagicMirror” in your Shortcut name might seem like a good idea since it is performing a MagicMirror action but “MagicMirror” will be heard as “Magic Mirror” (two words) and Siri will try to execute the Shortcut with “Magic Mirror” in its name rather than “MagicMirror”. For this first Shortcut that uses the default config, let’s try the Shortcut name “Mirror Default”.

Testing the Shortcut

Now we can test voice control of our first Shortcut. You should be able to run this Shortcut by saying “Hey Siri, Mirror Default”. Try it out. After a short delay your MagicMirror system should display the default MagicMirror config.

Adding the Shortcut to the Home Screen

To test the Shortcut without Siri, add the Shortcut to the iOS device Home Screen. This is an added benefit of using Shortcuts for voice control. In addition to voice control they can be run from the device allowing remote MagicMirror control even in a noisy environment where voice control isa unavailable. Testing the Shortcut in this manner allows us to verify the Shortcut works and isolate any problems encountered.

To add the Shortcut to the iOS device Home Screen, tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the Shortcut then tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the Shortcut configuration screen. This brings up the “Details” configuration panel for the Shortcut where you can specify the Shortcut name. Tap “Add to Home Screen” and “Add”. An icon for this Shortcut will now be on the iOS device Home Screen and the Shortcut can be run by tapping that icon.

Running the Shortcut from the Home Screen icon enables a test of the Shortcut without using Siri as well as providing the convenience of another quick and easy way to control MagicMirror remotely.

Adding More Shortcuts

More complicated commands can be configured. Follow the same procedure as above but replace mirror default with whatever MirrorCommand command you like. For example, to configure a Shortcut that takes a screenshot of your MagicMirror, add the following command in the Script text box:

mirror screenshot

Rather than creating a new Shortcut every time you want to add some new command to your Shortcuts, it is possible to duplicate an existing Shortcut and then modify it. We can use this to avoid having to enter the IP address, Username, and Authentication type when creating a new Shortcut. For example, in the Shortcuts app, press and hold the Mirror Default Shortcut we created earlier. In the menu that pops up, tap “Duplicate”. A new Shortcut should be created named “Mirror Default 1”. Tap the three dots (…) in the top right corner of the Shortcut which should bring up the newly created Shortcut ready for us to configure it.

First, rename the Shortcut to something describing the action you will add and will be easily recognized by Siri. To rename the Shortcut, tap the three dots (…) in the top right and replace the current name with a new name. For example, replace “Mirror Default” with “Mirror Screenshot”. Note that the name of the Shortcut does not need to be exactly what the action is. It just needs to be descriptive enough to let you know what it does and it needs to be simple enough to allow Siri to recognize it distinctly and without confusion. After renaming the Shortcut, Tap Done.

In the Run script over SSH scripting action, tap “Show More”. All of the settings should be correct and need not be modified. The only things we need to modify are the Script text box command to execute and the name of the Shortcut. Replace the Script text box command mirror default with the command to take a MagicMirror screenshot. For example, replace mirror default with mirror screenshot. Tap Done in the top right.

Now you can take a MagicMirror screenshot by saying “Hey Siri, Mirror Screenshot” or whatever you named the Shortcut to be.

Troubleshooting Shortcuts

If your Siri command failed to run the Shortcut or the Shortcut did not result in the desired action, perform some troubleshooting.

Verify Command Line Execution

Start by verifying the command you entered in the Script text box works when executed at the command line. For example, in a terminal window on the system where the SSH commands are being executed and as the user you entered in the Shortcut “User” setting, attempt to run the command at the command line prompt:

mirror screenshot

Attempt to run the exact same command you entered in the Shortcut Script text box. If it does not succeed as expected then the issue is not in your Shortcut or Siri but in the MagicMirror command line setup.

Verify SSH Authentication

If it succeeds then move on to verifying SSH authentication is configured properly. In the Shortcut app, tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the Shortcut you wish to troubleshoot. Tap “Show More” in the scripting action. Verify that Authentication is set to SSH Key. Just below Authentication you should see SSH Key on a line with “ed25519 Key” or something similar. Tap “ed25519 Key”. Tap Share Public Key and copy it or air drop it or send it to yourself in Messages. Verify that this public key is in the ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file on the system where MirrorCommand is installed in the home directory of the user you are using to execute the SSH commands. In my example above this was the system with IP address and the user pi. In a terminal window, logged in as that user on that system, change directory to ~/.ssh and open the file authorized_keys in a text editor. Verify the copied/air dropped public key is in that file and, if not, add it to the file.

Verify SSH Enabled

The system on which the SSH command is executed (in the example above, must have SSH access enabled. On Linux this means that the ssh service is enabled and active.

Verify that the SSH service is enabled and active. On Linux a command similar to:

systemctl status sshd

should display the status of the SSH service.

Modify SSH Command

Using SSH can sometimes be tricky. The expected runtime environment does not always contain the same settings as a direct user login. It may be necessary to modify the command you use to specify the full path to the command or to run the command in a login shell.

For example, we used “mirror default” and “mirror screenshot” in the examples above which assumes that the mirror command is in the user’s execution PATH. When run via SSH this may not be true. To avoid this error we can specify the full path to the mirror command. Replace “mirror default” or “mirror screenshot” with “/usr/local/bin/mirror default” or “/usr/local/bin/mirror screenshot”.

To run a Shortcut in a login shell preface the command you wish to run with bash -l -c ... and surround the command in quotes. For example, to run the command mirror default in a login shell, when configuring the Shortcut Script, use the command:

bash -l -c "mirror default"


This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

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