Week 6: Hey Siri, don't be creepy

This is Week 6 of our new series: 8 Weeks of iOS 8, where we cover some basic, cool features in the new operating system for your iPhone and iPad.

This week's tip boarders between something super useful and just a simple public service announcement. In all honesty, some people might find this new feature of iOS 8 a bit creepy. It's called Hey Siri, and here's how it works. When your iPhone is plugged in and charging, it is always listening for you to say, "Hey Siri." Once you say this, you'll hear a tone, indicating that Siri is now listening for an additional command. What are some uses of this?

  • When charging on your bedside table, ask your iPhone "Hey Siri... What is the weather going to be like today?"
  • From your office desk, ask "Hey Siri... What is my next appointment today?"
  • If charging in your car, "Hey Siri... play songs by Coldplay."

You'll find Hey Siri to be useful in situations where you either cannot or don't need to be looking at your phone. Rather than keeping my phone in my pocket when at work, I've been docking it on my desk, making it much more accessible for those Hey Siri commands.

You may have already guessed how this can become creepy. Theoretically, anyone can issue Hey Siri commands to your iPhone. Pair this "feature" with a deviant personality, and you could come up with some funny practical jokes whenever your friends leave their charing phone unattended.

  • "Hey Siri... Set an alarm for 2:00 am every Saturday."
  • "Hey Siri... Call me Captain Awesome Face."

Surely, you fine readers of Appinstructor would never dream of being so cruel to your friends. Astute readers are probably wondering how to protect themselves from such shenanigans. If you'd like to turn off this ability, go to Settings > General > Siri, and turn off "Allow 'Hey Siri.'"

Keep in mind that if you turn off Hey Siri, you lose out on that desktop personal assistant from the future.

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.