Siri’s Headphone Tax

I wrote earlier today about Siri’s impressive, instant attentiveness on the iPhone 6s. I remarked that although I had set out to report a bug to Apple, I discovered it was actually a very awesome feature.

Unfortunately, I still have a Siri-related bug to file today. Armed with my knowledge that, as a rule, Siri will begin processing instructions at the moment the home button is pressed, I have been exercising it quite a bit. But after I popped on some headphones and headed out for a walk, I discovered an unfortunate shortcoming: Siri’s instant attentiveness is thwarted by the presence of headphones.

For some reason, if headphones are plugged in, iOS goes through the old-and-busted delay in which you must wait for the audible signal that Siri is ready to listen. The result is that, having gotten used to it being instantly ready, you will push the home button and start talking, only to hear the tell-tale audio signal and realize that it hasn’t actually been listening yet.

I’m hoping this is a bug in which the old mechanism is simply being inappropriately activated while headphones are plugged in. I don’t think there’s anything about activating the audio out through headphones that should inherently limit Siri’s ability to be instantly attentive. In fact, with headphones plugged in I can still get an instant response when I use “Hey Siri” to precede my request.

In summary: Siri starts listening instantaneously on an iPhone 6s, whether you’re in silent or non-silent modes, provides you haven’t made the mistake of plugging in headphones. Filed as Radar #22881933