Apple's 'Hey Siri' Feature in iOS 9 Uses Individualized Voice Recognition

Following the release of the first public beta for iOS 9.1 yesterday, along with the GM version on Wednesday, a few of the testers have come across a new feature introduced in the update. Somewhere in the Settings app, it appears that Apple has quietly added a set-up process for the new "Hey Siri" feature coming to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, thanks to a built-in M9 motion coprocessor that enables the phones' always-on functionality.

iphone hey siri set up
Although unconfirmed by Apple, the discovery in iOS 9.1 suggests that Siri will be able to begin detecting specific user voices and determine whether or not the owner of the iPhone in question is speaking to her. Similar in vein to the way Apple aimed its Touch ID feature to work better and better the more you unlocked an iPhone using the fingerprint scanning sensor, it seems the set-up process will guide users into stating words or phrases to better acclimate Siri with each iPhone owner.

Found in General > Siri > Allow 'Hey Siri', the new always-on feature is the next step-up in the technology by Apple, allowing users to ask Siri questions or make changes within the iPhone's apps by simply stating "Hey Siri" near the iPhone. The new set-up process discovered today could also just be a way for Siri to work better detecting voices in general, and not be specific to each user. With the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus launching in just two weeks, it won't be long until everyone can find out for themselves.

Thanks Alan and Daniel!

Tag: iOS 9.1

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
64 months ago
Makes sense, if they didn't do this you could say hey siri ... and everyone's iPhones would come to life around you.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago

Why isn't this on the 6? Absolutely no reason other than to up sell the 6s

Because it has a new M chip. Without it your battery would be dead in a couple of hours.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago

Why isn't this on the 6? Absolutely no reason other than to up sell the 6s

Don't think so. The new M9 coprocessor probably has some kind of connection to the mic which the M7/M8 does not have and therefore would kill your battery.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago
This feature is also built-in to iOS 9.0 GM, not just 9.1
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago
Problem of user distinction solved, device distinction still a problem:

If I have two devices with hey Siri activated in the same area, both react... A possible solution would be that if two devices (with same iCloud account) get activated by the voice command, each one would give that information to the other devices before Siri reacts, and then determine the nearest by the voices level each device receives. Then only the nearest could respond.

Another option, instead of voice level detection could be to let Siri ask you on each device simultaneously which one was meant by asking for the device type (iPad, iPhone, etc...): "On what device do you want to ask me something?" - "iPad"

A last idea would be to let Siri ask first from the nearest device "did you mean me?" If users answers "yes", the user could go on with further commands on that device, or if he answers "no", the next device would ask the same question and so on ...

Just a thought, but maybe I am the only one with this "problem" :)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
64 months ago
Seems like allowing us to customize the phrase would be easier or more reliable than Siri being able to differentiate between people saying "hey, Siri".
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Top Stories: Try the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Display Size, Blockbuster Earnings, Tim Cook at Antitrust Hearing

Saturday August 1, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
Another busy week of Apple news and rumors has wrapped up, with a lot of focus on Tim Cook's appearance at a Congressional antitrust hearing and a blockbuster earnings report. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We continued to hear rumors about the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, including a rare admission from Apple that the lineup will launch "a few weeks later" than...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Just How Small Will the 5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Screen Be? Try It Out for Yourself

Tuesday July 28, 2020 12:57 pm PDT by
As rumors of the iPhone 12 have continued to build over the past few months, the one model that has the most excitement around it is the smallest 5.4" model. The iPhone 12 is believed to be coming in 5.4", 6.7", and 6.1" sizes. Dummy models have shown how much smaller the 5.4" is compared to the rest of the iPhone lineup. The upcoming 5.4" iPhone falls in-between the size of the original...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Microsoft to Stop Supporting Office 2016 for Mac in October

Monday August 3, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac is set to reach its end of support date on October 13, 2020, and after that date, connecting to Office 365 services using the Office 2016 for Mac software will no longer be supported. Microsoft shared the detail in a support document from July highlighting which versions of Office will be supported for connecting to Office 365 services in the future.Connecting ...

Apple Shares Requirements for Default Third-Party Browser and Email Apps With Developers

Monday August 3, 2020 4:28 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 plans to allow users to set a third-party app as the default email or browser app on an iPhone or iPad, replacing the current Apple-made default apps Safari and Mail. Apple hasn't provided many details on the new feature to users, but as noted by MacStories' Federico Vittici, Apple has shared documentation with developers who want their apps to have the option to be set as a...