Extra-marital affairs, haemorrhoids, surprise party plans, or financial information – Siri does not care.
According to reports and rumours online, if you have secrets, the Apple voice assistant might blab them to all and sundry. No longer are your casino online wins a private affair, your medical conditions something that only you, your doctor and the Internet knows about, and your weird searches kept mum.
According to reports published in Mac Magazine, 9to5Mac, and on other sites, the bug appears to be limited to Beta versions of iOS 11.3. It was claimed that Siri can read lock screen app notifications, even if content previews have been disabled, and that it does so without confirming the identity of the listener.
While the potential for embarrassment, if not disaster, is great, it appears that not many users have been affected by the possible bug. There are also reports that allege the stories of Siri’s blabbermouth bug are nothing more than rumours based on a simple misunderstanding.
Possible Face ID Link
The reports online claim the bug is most obvious with the iPhone X. The device’s default setting is to conceal lock screen notifications and contact previews, and to reveal them only once Face ID has identified the phone user successfully.
However, Siri appears to have a mind of its own when it comes to third-party apps such as Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and Slack. Apparently, all it really takes to get Siri to spill the beans is to hold either the home or side button, and to tell the assistant to read notifications.
iPhone and iPad users need not go as far as locking their devices away until the rumoured bug has been fixed. All that is required to avoid potential embarrassment is for users to disable any sensitive apps from sending notifications to the lock screen.
Not only will they not appear on that screen, but Siri will not even acknowledge them. The alternative is to disable the voice assistant when the device is locked.
Rumours of Apple Awareness
A report on the MacRumours website claimed Apple responded to its claims regarding the apparent bug. The tech giant allegedly told the site that it was aware of the problem, and that it would be rectified in one of the regular software updates.
It was suggested that the bug fix may be part of the iOS 11.3 roll-out after the Beta phase, or it may come with an iOS 11.2.7 update. Alternatively, the reports may all be nothing but nonsense, and users, in fact, have nothing at all to worry about.
Touch ID In the Background
The Daily Mail, of all publications, appeared determined to get to the bottom of the Siri lock-screen notification-reading bug. In the course of its own investigations, it claimed it could not replicate other iOS users’ experiences without the use of the device’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition.
The UK-based tabloid also lost no time in pointing out that MacRumours itself was also unable to hear the bug in action without first activating the Touch ID feature. This was something noticed by some device users, who described their experiences online.
The consensus appears to be that the bug is not a bug at all. It was suggested that users who had heard Siri read out lock-screen notifications had activated the assistant by holding the home button with the very finger they registered with the Touch ID feature.
In fact, Reddit user Speculatore claimed they asked Siri to read notifications when holding the home button with a finger that was not Touch ID-registered. The result? Speculatore was taken to the passcode screen. Despite the online rumour-mills, this may all be much ado about nothing (or a good reason to switch to Android).