Recent Siri Changes Remove Call, Email, and Voicemail Features Used by Low Vision and Blind Users

With the recent release of iOS 15, Apple appears to have made some changes to Siri functionality that have removed features relied on by low vision and blind iPhone users.

siri glow
Several ‌Siri‌ commands that provide details on phone calls, voicemails, and sending emails no longer appear to be working. The following commands used to be functional, but have recently been removed.

  • Do I have any voicemails?
  • Play my voicemail messages
  • Check my call history
  • Check my recent calls
  • Who called me?
  • Send an email
  • Send an email to [person]

Over the last two weeks, we've received several emails from ‌iPhone‌ users who are missing this key ‌Siri‌ functionality, or their relatives who are attempting to help them navigate the changes. The ‌Siri‌ feature removals have also been documented on the AppleVis forums for blind and low vision users of Apple products.

One of the people whom I support told me that she could no longer use Siri to send email from her iPhone 8 with iOS 14. I tried on my iPhone SE with iOS 15.0 and the response from Siri was "sorry, I can't help with that'. Subsequently, I've had the same response on a phone running iOS 12. If this is a deliberate feature removal, it's certainly a loss to some users with sight loss who find it a convenient way to send a brief email.

Prior to this last iOS update if Siri was asked to play voicemail Siri would - now Siri just states can't do that. Trying to find a work around around as my dad who is completely blind heavily relied on this feature.

My sister is blind and Siri would respond to voice commands ie, read my text, call Barbara, answer questions regarding weather and most importantly tell my sister who called her. As of today, Siri's response is "I can't help with that". Has the system changed? Is there something on the iPhone that needs to be in abled so Siri will aid my sister with knowing who called her in the past?

Asking ‌Siri‌ to provide details on recent phone calls or voicemails results in the following response: "I can't help with that, but you can ask me to open the Phone app." Asking about email garners a similar response about ‌Siri‌ being unable to help.

It's worth noting that it's still possible to ask ‌Siri‌ to play the most recent voicemail message that's available, or a voicemail from a specific person, but ‌Siri‌ will not read out a list of all the available voicemails. The ‌Siri‌ commands seem to have disappeared when ‌iOS 15‌ was released, but iOS 14 users are also not able to use them anymore so it's not an issue tied to ‌iOS 15‌.

We asked Apple for comment on whether this was a bug or if there are alternate commands available for users, but after several days of waiting for a response, we did not hear back. A user on the AppleVis forums spoke to Apple support and was told that Apple is aware of the issue, so there's a possibility that this functionality will be re-added at some point.

Top Rated Comments

cmaier Avatar
4 weeks ago
That’s terrible.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macropanda Avatar
4 weeks ago
Apple seriously need to get a grip of the bugs that are being discovered every day and regain the "it just works" reputation.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maternidad Avatar
4 weeks ago
Thankfully a user on the AppleVis forums spoke to Apple support and was told that Apple is aware of the issue, so it is to be expected that this functionality will be re-introduced.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lanomds1 Avatar
4 weeks ago
What is happening to Apple?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sparkinstx Avatar
4 weeks ago
I don't think only blind or low vision people use these features - some people really use Siri. My wife's always saying, "Hey Siri, text so-and-so", or "Hey Siri, call so-and-so". We've held off installing 15 because of known issues like the storage almost full bug, and are waiting for 15.1 This doesn't give me a lot of confidence in even 15.1.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MadeTheSwitch Avatar
4 weeks ago
Apple just keeps getting worse, and worse and worse. They can’t be doing this kind of thing to a community who depends on these functions. They MUST be more careful.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

siri phil schiller

Today Marks the 10th Anniversary of Apple Introducing the iPhone 4S With Siri

Monday October 4, 2021 7:36 am PDT by
Today marks the 10th anniversary of Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller and former iOS chief Scott Forstall introducing the iPhone 4S with an all-new voice assistant, Siri. "For decades, technologists have teased us with this dream that you're going to be able to talk to technology and it'll do things for us," said Schiller, at a small press conference at Apple's former Infinite Loop...
siri glow

Apple Can't Get Out of Siri Privacy Lawsuit, Says Judge

Thursday September 2, 2021 12:41 pm PDT by
Apple will not be able to avoid a proposed class action lawsuit covering Siri privacy claims, reports Reuters. The suit in question, which was initially filed in 2019, accuses Apple's voice assistant Siri of violating user privacy. The plaintiffs involved in the case can try to prove that Siri routinely recorded private conversations due to accidental activations, and that Apple disclosed...
ecobee smartthermostat hey siri

Ecobee's SmartThermostat Gains 'Hey Siri' Support With Free Software Update Rolling Out Now

Tuesday October 12, 2021 6:46 am PDT by
Ecobee today announced that its HomeKit-enabled SmartThermostat with voice control is gaining "Hey Siri" support with a free software update that is beginning to roll out now and will be available over the next few weeks for all users. "Hey Siri" support allows users with a HomePod or HomePod mini to control the SmartThermostat with voice commands for tasks such as setting the temperature...
airpods pro black background

iOS 15 Breaks Siri AirPods Pro Controls, Fix Coming in iOS 15.1

Thursday September 23, 2021 2:23 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 15 is preventing some AirPods Pro owners from using Siri to control the Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency features, but it appears to be fixed in the iOS 15.1 beta. As outlined on Reddit, some users who ask Siri to turn off Active Noise Cancellation or activate Transparency Mode on AirPods Pro connected to an iPhone running iOS 15 receive a "Sorry, I can't do that"...
Apple HomePod mini Apple Music Voice AirPods 3rd gen 10182021 inline

Apple Music Gaining New 'Voice Plan' for $4.99/Month

Monday October 18, 2021 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today revealed a new subscription tier for Apple Music, called the "Voice Plan" and priced at $4.99/month. This plan has been designed around the power of Siri and offers subscribers access to the service's catalog of 90 million songs only through Siri, hence the name. This means that users on this tier can only access and play songs, playlists, and albums in Apple Music through their...
siri glow

Apple Launched Invite-Only 'Siri Speech Study' App to Improve Siri

Friday August 20, 2021 5:09 am PDT by
Apple recently launched an invite-only iOS app called "Siri Speech Study" to improve and provide feedback on the Siri voice assistant, it has emerged (via TechCrunch). The app, which first appeared on the App Store on August 9 without fanfare and was updated on August 18, allows users to voluntarily share their Siri interactions and feedback with Apple so that it can gain data to improve...
siri glow

iOS 15 to Limit Siri Functionality With Third-Party Apps

Wednesday July 28, 2021 3:42 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, Apple will cut back on integration between Siri and third-party apps, drastically reducing the type and number of commands users will be able to invoke through the virtual assistant for third-party apps. On a developer support page, Apple says that a number of SiriKit intents and commands will no longer be supported with the...
iOS 15 General Feature Blue

Apple Stops Signing iOS 15.0 Following iOS 15.0.1 Release, Downgrading No Longer Possible

Friday October 8, 2021 12:45 pm PDT by
Following the release of iOS 15.0.1 on October 1, Apple has stopped signing iOS 15.0, the previously available version of iOS that saw a public release on September 20. With iOS 15.0 no longer being signed, it is not possible to downgrade to that version if you've already updated to iOS 15.0.1. Apple last week stopped signing iOS 14.8 as well, which means iOS 15.0.1 is the only publicly...
find my siri remote

Siri Response Suggests Find My Support Might Come to New Siri Remote

Thursday April 29, 2021 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple has made no mention of Find My integration for the Siri Remote designed for the second-generation Apple TV 4K, but Siri responses to certain requests about the remote suggest that Apple could perhaps have such a feature in the works, or at the least, might have considered adding it. If you ask Siri to "Find my Siri remote," "Find my Apple TV remote," or even just "Find my remote," Siri ...
HomePodandMini feature orange

Apple Releases New HomePod 15 Software With Siri Playback Support, HomePod Mini Stereo Pairs, and More

Monday September 20, 2021 10:02 am PDT by
Alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8, Apple today released new software that's designed for the HomePod and the HomePod mini. The HomePod 15 software update introduces several new features that are designed to work in tandem with tvOS and iOS. - Select a single or pair of HomePod mini as the default speakers for your Apple TV 4K for rich room-filling sound and clear dialogue. ...