“Why Does iPhone & Siri Start Talking Randomly Out of Nowhere? Are Robots Taking Over?”
A notable number of iPhone users have experienced a truly peculiar happening with their iPhone and Siri after updating to the latest versions of iOS; the iPhone may start talking seemingly out of the blue.
If you’ve experienced this yourself, you know how jarring, weird, funny, and sometimes outright creepy it can be to have our favorite digital assistant start chiming in with various comments or commands apparently activating entirely on their own and unprovoked.
Naturally, the first thought is that Professor Stephen Hawking was prophetically right and that robots are taking over the world starting with our iPhones, right??! Ahhhhhh!
Why is Siri Talking Out of Nowhere? Is My iPhone Crazy?
Well, no actually. So don’t worry, Skynet has not become self aware and your iPhone is not about to turn into a liquid metal Terminator powered by Siri. No, reality is quite a bit more boring and significantly less sci-fi than that, and this talking iPhone behavior is actually just a quirk of the otherwise excellent “Hey Siri” feature introduced with iOS 8.
As you may have guessed, the apparently random Siri talking thing is basically a failed attempt of Siri and the iPhone (or iPad) erroneously recognizing a different phrase as the intended summoning query “Hey Siri” phrase, and nearly every instance of the iPhone talking out of the blue can be traced back to the surrounding conversation or ambient audio. I have personally had “Hey Siri” activate out of nowhere on multiple occasions, twice it has happened when Siri picked up who knows what playing on a car radio and determined that was an query to the iPhone, which then proceeded to google a huge stream of nonsense also picked up from the radio. The situations that are a lot more confusing (and weird) are when it happens in the middle of various conversations, and Siri speaks up unsolicited. If you’re trying to erroneously trigger Hey Siri this way, you can almost reliably do it by saying things like “a seriously” or “hey, seriously” and “que sera sera” (yes, even the song!) in the middle of a conversation with the iPhone plugged in and nearby, though inflection and accent seems to matter in how often Siri will actually think it’s a command directed at the virtual assistant.
“I don’t care, make Siri stop talking randomly!”
If you’ve had this happen and it creeps you out or bugs you enough that you want it to never happen again, you can simply turn off the Hey Siri feature within Settings > Siri > Hey Siri > OFF and that will be the end of it.
Also, remember that the iPhone or iPad must be nearby for the “Hey Siri” listening aspect to even exist at all, so that can impact the circumstances of this occurring as well. If the iPhone is face/screen down, Hey Siri will not activate even if you attempt to directly access it with the voice command.
Me personally, I like the Hey Siri feature and ability to remotely issue commands enough to leave it on and just laugh at the occasional random times it turns itself on. Apple is undoubtedly aware of this quirky behavior and I’m sure they’ll improve the remote activation by fine tuning what is heard and interpreted as a command, or perhaps better yet, offer a user ability to create their own unique Siri activation voice command so that it doesn’t get confused at all.
In the meantime, rest assured the robots are not taking over, at least not yet anyway.