iPhone and iPad

Siri Isn’t Working on Your iPhone or iPad? 7 Tips to Fix It

Dan Helyer 17-06-2020

Siri makes it easy to issue hands-free commands to any of your Apple devices. You can use Siri to set reminders, send messages, search the web, and more. But with such a complex personal assistant, problems can arise from time to time.

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If Siri isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad, follow the steps in this guide to fix it. We’ll cover the most common problems you’re likely to experience with Siri, along with some general troubleshooting advice for good measure.

1. Siri Doesn’t React When You Try to Activate It

The most likely reason you’d think Siri isn’t working is that Apple’s personal assistant doesn’t react when you press the Side button to activate it (or the Home button on iPhone 8 and earlier, including iPhone SE).

This is usually because Siri is disabled in the settings on your iPhone or iPad. Go to Settings > Siri & Search and activate Press Side/Home Button for Siri to turn Siri on again.

You may also want to turn on the option to Allow Siri When Locked so you don’t need to unlock your iPhone to access Siri.

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2. Siri Doesn’t React When You Say “Hey Siri”

You should be able to activate Apple’s personal assistant without touching your device by simply saying “Hey Siri” when your iPhone or iPad is in earshot. If this doesn’t work, go to Settings > Siri & Search on your device and make sure Listen for “Hey Siri” is turned on.

While troubleshooting this, you should also confirm that your device is compatible with “Hey Siri.” You can view the full list of compatible devices on Apple’s website.

Finally, remember that “Hey Siri” doesn’t work when your device is face down or closed in a case. It also doesn’t work if you’re using Low Power Mode on your iPhone with an older version of iOS.

3. Siri Is Missing From Your iPhone or iPad Entirely

Perhaps the suggestions above can’t help you because Siri is missing from Settings on your iPhone or iPad entirely. There are a couple of reasons why this might be the case.

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First, visit Apple’s feature availability page to make sure that Siri is available in your country and region. Unfortunately, Apple’s personal assistant isn’t available everywhere. You may be able to bypass regional restrictions by going to Settings > General > Language & Region to change the Region your device thinks you’re in.

Second, make sure you haven’t disabled Siri through the Content & Privacy Restrictions on your device by mistake. Go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions to find out. Open the Allowed Apps page and make sure Siri & Dictation is turned on.

If your device is running iOS 11 or earlier, you need to check Settings > General > Restrictions instead.

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4. Siri Can’t Hear You or Doesn’t Understand What You Say

If Siri doesn’t always hear you or frequently misunderstands what you say, there might be a problem with the microphone on your iPhone or iPad. Sometimes, you can fix that by cleaning the microphones with a dry, soft-bristled brush or by removing your screen protector and case. See our iPhone cleaning guide How to Clean Your Dirty iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide Your iPhone is likely gross after months of use. Here's how to clean your iPhone properly, plus some mistakes to avoid. Read More for help.

There are multiple microphones on your iPhone or iPad. You can test each of them by recording short video or audio snippets in different apps:

  • To test the primary microphone at the bottom of your device, open the Voice Memos app and tap the red button to record a short message. Listen to the playback and make sure you can hear it clearly.
  • To test the front microphone, open the Camera app and film a short video using the front-facing camera. Replay the video to make sure you can hear it clearly.
  • To test the rear microphone, open the Camera app and film a short video using the rear camera. Replay the video to make sure you can hear it clearly.

If one of your microphones isn’t working properly, contact Apple Support to arrange a repair. In the meantime, you can connect a wireless headset, EarPods, or AirPods to use the microphone on those instead.

5. Siri Is Too Slow or Can’t Connect to the Network

Siri needs an active internet connection to complete most commands. If Siri isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad, it might be because there’s a problem with your network. Usually, Siri says “I’m having trouble connecting” or “Try again in a little while” when this happens.

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Make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi and try streaming a YouTube video to test your internet connection. If that doesn’t work, find out how to troubleshoot your network connection No Internet Connection? 5 Quick Troubleshooting Tips You Can Try No internet connection? This quick and simple troubleshooting guide will fix your internet connection right away. Read More to fix the issue.

If Siri still isn’t working, temporarily disable any VPN you’re using from Settings > VPN. Also, toggle Airplane Mode on and off from Settings > Airplane Mode.

You may also need to go to Settings > General > Reset and choose to Reset Network Settings. This deletes your saved Wi-Fi passwords among other network-related data, so only use it if nothing else worked.

To use Siri over a cellular network, make sure Cellular Data is turned on in Settings > Cellular and check that you’ve got enough data left in your mobile plan.

6. Siri Doesn’t Say Anything When Asked a Question

We usually expect to hear a spoken response after asking Siri a question or issuing a command. If that doesn’t happen, there might be a problem with the voice files on your iPhone. Other times, it’s as simple as turning the volume up.

But first, make sure Siri is set to reply to you by going to Settings > Siri & Search > Voice Feedback. To turn up Siri’s volume, repeatedly press the Volume Up button while using Siri. If you adjust the volume at other times, it might not affect Siri’s volume at all—see more iPhone volume troubleshooting tips Is Your iPhone Volume Not Working Like It Should? Try This Is your iPhone volume not working? Here's how to fix iPhone volume problems, plus ways to boost your iPhone volume further. Read More for an explanation.

If Siri still doesn’t say anything, go to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Voice. Choose a different accent or gender to make your device download new voice files. In case this works, you may need to erase and reinstall iOS How to Factory Reset Your iPhone and iPad Wondering how to factory reset your iPhone or iPad? Here's how to back up, reset, and restore your iOS device's data easily. Read More on your iPhone to fix the original voice.

7. Multiple Devices Respond When You Talk to Siri

If you’ve got more than one Apple device, you might find that a few of them respond to “Hey Siri” at once. This isn’t an oversight by Apple; it’s actually a problem with your device settings.

All you need to do is make sure Bluetooth is turned on for each of your devices by going to Settings > Bluetooth. When you say “Hey Siri,” your devices quickly use Bluetooth to communicate with one another and decide which device should reply.

Bluetooth option in iPhone Settings

If that doesn’t work, make sure each device is signed into the same Apple ID account at the top of the Settings app.

How to Fix Other Problems With Siri

We’ve shown you how to fix the most common problems with Siri, but those solutions aren’t going to work for everyone. If Siri still isn’t working on your iPhone or iPad, give these general troubleshooting tips a try instead. Most of them are effective at fixing all kinds of different problems with your devices:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to view all your open apps (or double-click the Home button on older devices). Then slide each app off the top of the screen to close it.
  2. Press and hold the Side button with the Volume Down button (or just the Sleep/Wake button on earlier devices) until your device prompts you to slide to power off. Wait for your device to power off fully before pressing the Sleep/Wake or Side button again to restart it.
  3. Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose to Reset All Settings. This doesn’t delete any apps or media from your device, but it does return all your settings to their default state. After the reset is complete, go to Settings > Siri & Search to turn Siri on again.

Use Another Voice Assistant If Siri Doesn’t Work

Hopefully, you’ve managed to fix all your Siri problems by now. But if Apple’s personal assistant still isn’t working after all this, you might be looking to jump ship. Apple isn’t the only company with a digital personal assistant, after all.

Find out all the differences between Google Assistant and Siri Google Assistant vs. Siri: Which iPhone Voice Assistant Is Best? How does Google Assistant work on the iPhone, what exactly can it do, and is it worth your time? Read More to learn if Siri is really the right personal assistant for you. Swapping over might involve buying a new device, but you could find that Google Assistant pays off for you in the long run.

Related topics: iPhone, Siri, Troubleshooting, Voice Commands.

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