iOS 15.4 Beta 2 Fixes Bug That Caused Some iPhones to Record Siri Interactions Even When Users Opted Out
The second beta of iOS 15.4 addresses an iOS 15 bug that was allowing the iPhone to upload some Siri recordings to Apple even when users had previously opted out of doing so, Apple said in a statement to ZDNet.
Recordings were mistakenly kept for some users who disabled the option to share their Siri voice interactions or dictation with Apple for the purpose of improving the voice assistant. Apple told ZDNet that it turned off the setting for "many" Siri users in iOS 15.2, but iOS 15.4 apparently fixes the issue.
With iOS 15.2, we turned off the Improve Siri & Dictation setting for many Siri users while we fixed a bug introduced with iOS 15. This bug inadvertently enabled the setting for a small portion of devices. Since identifying the bug, we stopped reviewing and are deleting audio received from all affected devices.
Apple said that when the bug was initially identified, it stopped reviewing the audio from affected devices and deleted the accidental recordings, but there is no word on why the company did not inform users of this issue when it was first discovered or when the setting was disabled in iOS 15.2.
There is no word on how many recordings Apple accidentally collected nor who was affected.
When updating to iOS 15.4 beta 2, there is a setup screen that asks users to choose whether to Improve Siri & Dictation by sending Apple recordings. Opting out is meant to prevent Apple from collecting and reviewing recordings of Siri interactions.
Apple first introduced the toggle to disable Siri recordings in October 2019 with the launch of iOS 13.2. It was added after it was discovered that Apple hired contractors to listen to a small percentage of anonymized Siri recordings to evaluate Siri's responses with the purpose of improving reliability.
Some of those contractors complained that they regularly heard confidential details while listening to the audio recordings. In response, Apple temporarily suspended its Siri grading practices and added the opt-out feature and an option to delete all previously collected Siri recordings.
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