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Is Siri listening to your conversations?

Kriti

19th Nov'22
Is Siri listening to your conversations? | OpenGrowth

Everyone is aware of Apple's ardent advocacy for privacy. Apple has been outspokenly opposed to any privacy violations and, in fact, supported its stance with a wide range of features across its products, unlike other tech behemoths like Facebook and Google which have been embroiled in privacy scandals (since collecting more personal data results in higher advertising profits).


 

Users can choose to "Prevent cross-site tracking" in Safari 13.1, for instance, by turning it on in Preferences Privacy. Apple Pay launched a brand-new, secure method of online shopping that never requires you to disclose your actual credit card data. One of the very few messengers with end-to-end encryption turned on by default is iMessage.

 

All of this leads us to Apple Siri, a voice assistant found on a variety of devices including iPhones, Macs, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, HomePods, and more. Despite initial claims to the contrary, certain subsequent whistleblowing reports have revealed that iPhone Siri is less concerned about privacy than the rest of Apple's ecosystem. You may be wondering right now, "Is my iPhone listening to me?"

 

Does Siri listen in on all of your conversations? Or to put it another way: Does your iPhone track you? Is Siri a security risk? Can The iPhone Term As Safe To Use Smartphone?
 

When you say "Hey, Siri," Siri can hear you and reply. How could it not be? 

 

We are aware that our Amazon Alexas constantly record and listen, and people are frequently alarmed by Facebook's listening practices (especially when an ad shows up minutes after you had a conversation about a product with a friend). People inevitably had this question as a result. In fact, they requested that Apple respond to our questions. 

Apple's corporate structure

Apple talked about how it differs significantly from businesses like Facebook and Google, which depend on user data to succeed. According to Apple's business model, it only gathers the barest minimum of data on its users while maintaining their anonymity. In contrast to Facebook and Google, which gather data in order to sell it to marketers, Amazon uses that anonymized data to better understand its consumers in order to ultimately improve its products.

 

Is Siri recording my conversations?

Is Siri a security risk?

No. Siri is not listening in at all, according to Apple. Instead, the capability of the software to react to a voice command is built in. Therefore, it isn't truly listened to all the time. Only a minimal quantity of audio may be stored on the iPhone, and it only starts recording after receiving the "Hey, Siri" command. Apple receives the recording, but it is linked to an unlisted phone number.

Is siri listening to our conversations?

How then does Siri operate?

Siri starts recording when it hears its trigger phrase. This is due to the fact that it needs to communicate that communication to the Apple servers so they can understand and fulfill your request. Siri and your iPhone (or other Apple device) lack the processing power necessary to complete this task on their own.

Since it is useless, most individuals will never hear these taped discussions. Instead, the Siri response will be sent to your device after the Apple servers have interpreted your question.

 

Can apps from third parties listen in?

You might also be concerned about whether an outside app can record you. They can't until they get permission. In addition to obtaining permission, they must also disclose their intentions to the user before proceeding with the recording. Additionally, they must display a visual indicator on the screen that the app is recording.

There is a catch to this, though.

Apple doesn't always check the apps to make sure they comply with the rules. Although every program must go through a review procedure before being accepted into the App Store, once accepted, there is little monitoring. Therefore, be careful when granting these apps permission to record you and collect your information.

The key message from this is that Apple claims it is trying its best to prevent its iPhones from eavesdropping on our lives. In order to help achieve this, it has policies in place. Above all, though, use caution when allowing any applications access to your microphone. Don't grant access if it isn't absolutely necessary for the app to work.

Additionally, you should always make sure that the most recent OS version is installed on your device to maintain its security. Additionally, ensure sure your device is password-protected with a password that contains at least 6 numbers.

 

Apple’s response to the controversy 

iPhones do not need to record audio when waiting for Siri wakeup commands, according to Apple. The fact that Siri does not share spoken words with Apple was also mentioned. Only Apple servers are contacted in order to receive a response online, such as when sharing a match's results.

Apple also stated that users must grant access to their microphones to iOS apps in order for them to be able to clearly notify users when they are listening in on a discussion.

Even earlier, Apple released new privacy indicators for iOS that use simple dots to alert users when an app is utilizing their phone's camera or microphone. Along with a privacy dashboard that tracks all the apps that can use the camera and microphone as well as all the times they have in the past, Google is introducing comparable signs with Android 12. A comparable privacy dashboard will be added to iOS 15.

Users' persistent privacy issues are being addressed in an effort to eradicate them. These are not only aimed at voice assistants, but also at other smartphone apps and services that users use. The usage of third-party apps by Facebook, Instagram, and other similar apps has also been accused of gathering user data in this manner. The precautions taken by Apple and Google will foil any attempts made by apps to do this invisibly to users.

 

How to make sure my phone doesn't listen to me?

It makes full sense that the majority of us wouldn't want iPhone Siri to listen in on our daily chats. The Siri feature should be available when we need it, though. And there is a means to carry it out.

On Mac: 

  1. Go to System Preferences ➙ Siri

  2. Uncheck Enable Ask Siri

You’d still get Siri suggestions when searching in Spotlight. 

 

On iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings ➙ Siri & Search

  2. Toggle off Listen for “Hey Siri” 

  3. Enable Press Side Button for Siri, so you can still use it but stay in full control 

 

On Apple Watch: 

  1. Tap Siri in the menu

  2. Toggle off Listen for “Hey Siri” 

  3. Toggle off Raise to Speak

  4. Enable Press Digital Crown

For HomePod, it’s best to use your iPhone’s Home app: 

  1. Open the Home app

  2. Tap and hold the HomePod icon

  3. Tap the settings icon

  4. Toggle off Listen for “Hey Siri” 

  5. Optionally enable Touch and Hold for Siri as well as Light When Using Siri

Fortunately, Apple TV only listens to your voice when you push the Siri button on the remote, protecting your privacy.

 

The question "Is my phone listening to my talks now?" may come to mind once more. The answer is no if you disabled the Listen for "Hey Siri" feature, however, you can still manually call Siri at any time.

 

How to entirely turn off Siri?

The voice assistants from Google or Amazon are superior to Siri if we are being totally objective. Therefore, you can elect to fully disable Siri so that you never have to worry about it exposing any of your private talks. Happily, doing that is not too difficult.

 

On Mac, turning off Siri is exactly the same as in the step above: 

  1. Go to System Preferences ➙ Siri

  2. Uncheck Enable Ask Siri

 

Must Read - The Future of the Mac is here with M1 Chip design

 

On iPhone or iPad, disabling Siri will also turn off the dictation feature in iMessage: 

  1. Go to Settings ➙ Siri & Search

  2. Toggle off all options for Siri

  3. Tap Stop Using Siri in the popup screen. If you have a HomePod, it’ll stop recognizing your voice as well. 

 

On Apple Watch: 

  1. Open Siri from the menu

  2. Toggle off all options for Siri

  3. Tap Turn Off Siri

Apple watch

For HomePod:

  1. Open the Home app on iPhone

  2. Tap and hold the HomePod icon

  3. Tap the settings icon

  4. Toggle off all options for Siri

 

On Apple TV: 

  1. Go to Settings ➙ General

  2. Click on Siri History

  3. Select Delete Siri & Dictation History

 

How to delete Siri's historical performance from Apple servers?

According to the Apple privacy policy mentioned above, even if you switch off the Siri iPhone microphone, Apple still has a detailed record of your prior interactions. At least you may now choose to delete it as well.

 

On Mac: 

  1. Navigate to System Preferences ➙ Siri

  2. Click Delete Siri & Dictation History

  3. Confirm Delete

 

On iPhone or iPad:

  1. Go to Settings ➙ Siri & Search

  2. Tap Siri & Dictation History

  3. Delete Siri & Dictation History

 

On Apple Watch:

  1. Tap on the Siri option in the menu

  2. Select Siri & Dictation History

  3. Delete Siri & Dictation History

 

For HomePod:

  1. Navigate to the Home app on your iPhone

  2. Tap and hold the HomePod icon

  3. Tap the settings icon

  4. Select Siri History

  5. Select Delete Siri History

 

On Apple TV: 

  1. Navigate to Settings ➙ General

  2. Click on Siri History

  3. Select Delete Siri & Dictation History

 

Finally, there is no doubt that your phone is not listening to you now. The information from your interactions won't even be stored on any Apple servers. Does this, however, make your Apple gadgets generally secure and private? For that, you might wish to use a couple of extra programs.

 

We at OpenGrowth, are committed to keeping you updated with the best content on the latest trendy topics from any major field. Also, both your feedback and suggestions are valuable to us. So, do share them in the comment section below.

 

A student in more ways than one. Trying to feed her curiosity with news, philosophy, and social commentary. 

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