While Apple’s reputation for privacy and security is almost unparalleled, it will never be perfect if Hey Siri is always listening. Aside from iOS devices, Hey Siri is always listening for questions and commands on the HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers. If you rarely use Hey Siri on those speakers, it’s worth turning the feature off for some extra privacy.
Apple, the ‘beacon’ of privacy and security, was gaining momentum on how it used to deal with users’ Siri data. The company previously used third parties to view recording snippets of user interactions with Siri. Those parties later reported that they had a wide range of personal and private interactions from Apple customers, even when users weren̵
So it’s okay to have a second thought about using Hey Siri in your home. While those annoying third parties are now gone, Siri recordings live on, but only if you choose to. Just as useful as Siri is, it doesn’t feel like having a hot microphone around the house all the time the most secure function you can imagine.
Disabling Hey Siri can be tricky if you’ve never done it on your HomePod or HomePod mini before. The “off” switch is hidden from view, and it’s not terribly obvious, as there are few buttons to work with and no mic mute switch like you’d find on an Amazon Echo. But once you know how to deactivate Hey Siri on your HomePod or HomePod mini, it will be hard to forget.
Method 1: Just ask your HomePod
Even if you’re not a fan of “Hey Siri” on HomePod, chances are you’ll want to use the feature to turn it off, as odd as that may seem. While it doesn’t sound good for a feature to “kill” itself, even if it’s temporary, you can ask Siri itself to turn off your HomePod’s Hey Siri feature – just like that. All you have to do is say one of these:
- “Hey Siri, turn off Hey Siri.”
- “Hey Siri, stop listening.”
Siri will then let you know that it can turn off Hey Siri, but that to get Siri’s attention in the future, you need to touch and hold the top of the HomePod. If that works for you, say “yes” when your HomePod asks if you want to.
Method 2: Disable Hey Siri from Settings
HomePod’s settings are hard to find if you don’t know where to look. To start, open the Home app on your iPhone or iPad, long press on your HomePod and scroll down to open your HomePod’s settings. Keep scrolling until you get it Siri section, then turn off the Listen for ‘Hey Siri’ switch.
It doesn’t matter which method you use above. As long as that switch is turned off, your HomePod model will no longer listen to Hey Siri. As such, it has no reason to record audio until you request it by touching and holding the top of your HomePod, leaving your privacy (as well as accidental Siri prompts) alone.
To be fair, Apple says that “nothing you say will be sent [its] servers until HomePod recognizes ‘Hey Siri’. And when the speaker hears ‘Hey Siri’, the top lights up to indicate that he is listening. Until then, it uses offline intelligence to wait for the passphrase to trigger it, then ‘communication between HomePod and Apple servers is encrypted, and anonymous IDs protect your identity. “
Still, there can be mistakes and what is sent to Apple are recordings that can be kept for up to six months. You could still say some personally identifiable information that can hear Apple’s quality checks, despite your Siri data being associated with a random identified device generated and not your Apple ID.
You can manually delete your saved Siri data whenever you want, and you can ask Apple not to save them at all or not listen to them at all by going to your HomePod settings, tapping Analytics and Improvements and then turn off Enhance Siri & Dictation. switch.
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