Today’s Apple Feedback: Siri on the iPhone 6S is an Unreliable Mess

My old iPhone 4S had some issues, but for the most part, Siri was fairly reliable, aside from occasional mitigable issues and somewhat common misinterpretations of what I’d said.  I’m one of those who holds onto a phone longer than the typical Apple fanatic (and yes, I’m still an Apple consumer, albeit these days, grudgingly). It came time this year for me to do my usual “every second model” upgrade to the iPhone 6S. I’ve had a number of months to run it through it’s paces, and I must say, Siri on my old iPhone 4S was way more reliable, especially when it comes to making calls – by a long shot. I’ve googled multiple issues and been on a bunch of Apple Support calls to rectify as-yet unrectified issues that are a constant daily nuisance. This morning, after having spent time talking with Apple support yesterday evening, I finally organized all the issues I’ve had going on in one place. I submitted the worst of these issues in Today’s Apple Feedback form:

Multiple issues: Apple, how did you mess Siri up so badly on the iPhone 6s (iOS 9.3.4)?

I’ve called support multiple times about these frequent/constant issues:

1. Randomly cannot initiate Siri when headphones connected.
2. Reproducibly cannot activate Siri via Apple Headphones (tried 2 pairs, 1 new) or the home button when the phone is in a pocket of my bag against my leather wallet. Holding the wallet away from the phone allows Siri to be initiated. Then:
3. Upon removing phone from bag, Siri will initiate but cannot hear me. Unplugging & replugging headphones is a workaround. Then:
4. Siri frequently responds to “Call my mom, home” with “Which phone number for [me]” the 1st 2 times I try – third time calls my mom.
5. Siri frequently initiates (multiple times per day) from a fraction of a second home button press.

I never had these issues with my 4S.

And that’s not even all the issues…

My most frequent use-cases for Siri are usually when I cannot be distracted by a screen, like when driving or biking. And on my iPhone 4S, these were always tasks that were reliable with Siri:

  • I used to be able to use Siri to send texts to short phone numbers stored in my contacts, for services such as bus stop arrival times, but that no longer works (this was quirky but worked reliably on the 4S).
  • I used to be able to reliably send 2+ sentence text messages, but that rarely works now.
  • I used to be able to reliably use contacts named something like “Groceries” which had the IFTTT phone number and tell Siri to send messages to them, but now Siri frequently gets confused when the name of a contact is a word like “Groceries” or “Air Conditioners”, especially when you first try this.
  • I used to be able to tell Siri to play a specific podcast, but now it will only play the most recent podcast among all my subscribed podcasts.
  • Siri no longer dings to let you know she’s listening (unless you’re listening through an accessory), which is particularly annoying if you are not free to look at the screen.

Then there are still the same old Siri issues that have been around since Siri was introduced:

For me, the most important thing is to be able to make calls, send texts, or generally interact with Siri without having to touch or look at the screen.  That’s the main point of having Siri, in my opinion.  Without that ability, Siri becomes completely useless when riding a bike or driving.

Of course, whenever I speak with Apple Support, they claim to never have heard of my most recent issues, such as not being able to initiate Siri when the phone is in my bag, so if you have trouble initiating Siri, be sure to call Apple Support and report the problem.

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