Activate Siri Directly from the Earbuds

Oct 8, 2012 - 8 Comments

Siri is much more useful than many realize, and one of the best ways to use Siri while on the go is through your earbuds or earpods, the classic white headphones that come with all iOS devices. All you need is Siri enabled, and then connect the earbuds to your iPhone or iPad as you normally would, then it’s just a matter of summoning the virtual assistant and speaking commands.

Launch Siri with nothing but your classic white Earbuds

Once you have the white earphones hooked up to the iOS device through the headphone port, using Siri this way is incredibly simple:

  • Press and hold the center Earbud button for a second or two to activate Siri

Once activated, you will hear the familiar pinging sound played through the headphones to indicate that Siri is ready to receive a command or instruction. Now you can use Siri as usual, without ever having to look at your iOS device.

This is a perfect solution for using Siri mostly hands-free while driving or riding a bike, whether it’s checking for new emails, launching apps like Pandora, or what other great uses you find. Best of all, this works not only with Apple’s newest Earpods, but even the oldest earbuds models, and even some third party headphones, as long as they have those buttons that also control music and take pictures, you’re good to go. That’s also the reason that many generic headphones won’t work for this functionality, because they do not have controls built into them, and they also don’t have microphones built in.

If for some reason this isn’t working, you may want to check to make sure the headphone jack isn’t filled with pocket lint or other material, which can sometimes interfere with how audio output in general. Also, you’ll want to make sure that the headphones you’re using have the control buttons with microphone, which virtually all Apple-branded headphones do, and that those aspects are working in general.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. David Otazu says:

    When I long press the earbud button to activate Siri, the screen on the iPhone should NOT be activated. Obviously, when Siri is activated through the earbuds, it is because the phone is in my pocket. I am sure that the vast majority of users who activate Siri through the earbuds do so because the phone is conveniently out of reach. I expect Apple to have designed Siri to know that.

    Having Siri turn on the screen while the phone is in my pocket causes crazy, unintended things to happen, like calling people randomly, changing songs, opening various apps, and a bunch of other VERY annoying things. I ride my bike a lot and having to stop and fix these stupid problems is extremely annoying.

    Why did they ever design the screen to turn on when Siri is activated through the earbuds??? At the very least, there should be a setting that the user could choose to allow or not allow the screen to turn on when Siri is activated through the earbuds.

  2. Skagra42 says:

    Is there a way to turn off this feature?

  3. marsha says:

    i have been using the earbuds to activate siri on my iphone 4s. i put music on my phone, and now when i try to activate siri, i get music and i am unable to answer calls. what is going on???

  4. ClaveAzul says:

    Er, you shouldn’t be driving or riding a bike with headphones on.

  5. CC Hunt says:

    While this function is available on the 5th gen iPod Touch, the EarPods included with the device do not have the remote button. Users will have to upgrade their earphones to use Siri in this fashion.

  6. Broadway says:

    Siri works with Bluetooth headsets in the same way.

  7. Niladri Haldar says:

    You forgot to mention the fact that its not just Apple earphones that give this function. Almost all third party headphones/earphones that have iPod/iPhone support work similarly. I have a Klipsch S4i that works perfectly fine with Siri.

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