How do I turn off Siri?

Thursday 12 May, 2022

There is a growing number of people that are looking at how they can turn off Siri over concerns for their security and privacy. There has always been the issue with Virtual Assistants continually listening to every word you say, just waiting for that command. However, it’s worth understanding the real reasons why turning Siri off is a good idea. 

Is Siri listening to me all the time?

The simple answer to this is, yes, if you haven’t checked your settings. Once Siri is listening and waiting for your command, there is a potential that some of your data could be retained for a short period of time. 

Are Siri recordings saved or reviewed by anyone?

It is not widely known that Apple selects a small section of random users’ interactions with Siri in order to analyse them. They claim that this is carried out to determine how they adapt to improve the quality of their service.

However, back in 2019, a report was published that highlighted an issue that Siri can occasionally be activated by mistake. This has led to Siri inadvertently recording a wide range of sensitive situations, both highly personal and business related.  

To further compound the problem, these recordings had the potential to be passed over to third-party contractors, who were responsible for reviewing and analysing voice recordings to “improve their quality of service”. 

This meant that the user’s security and privacy had been breached. 

Naturally, Apple have apologised to its users, and went on to promise to improve its policies and default settings. 

How do I tun off Siri completely?

If you have reached the view that having Siri activated is not worth the privacy and security risk, you can completely switch Siri off by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Siri & Search
  3. Turn off toggle for Listen for Hey Siri, Press side button for Siri, Allow Siri when locked
  4. Turn off Siri (this appears in a popup)

There are other options you can choose. You can just switch Siri off when locked or not to activate when the side button is pressed, however we would recommend not using Siri at all in order to help protect your conversations. 

Do other Apps listen to me as well?

You should always check the terms and conditions for the Apps you are downloading. The App can only listen for voice commands if you have given permission for it to do so. So, it’s definitely worth considering; is there is any real reason the App needs to gain access to voice commands?

If the App you are using doesn’t really need access to the microphone or camera but is requesting the access, delete it to be safe. 

It is safe to say the only truly secure way to prevent your phone from listening to you is to not have any virtual assistants switched on.  

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