iPhone 7(+) Is Siri listening to me with Hey Siri turned off?

DrTwoFish

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 25, 2008
41
1
I ask because yesterday morning I was discussing lunch options with a colleague and mentioned a sandwich chain in passing. I'm not a frequent customer, haven't been there months and haven't searched for on phone or computer or ever used Maps to navigate to (it's just down the street). Phone was locked and sitting on my desk as usual. Happened to swipe into my widget pane a few hours later, and noticed that the Maps Destinations had that specific restaurant as a destination!

This is kind of creeping me out, especially since I use Apple products *because* I trust them with my privacy. Any ideas what's going on? I took a screenshot of the widget if that's of any use.
 

jumpman5678

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2011
79
49
I ask because yesterday morning I was discussing lunch options with a colleague and mentioned a sandwich chain in passing. I'm not a frequent customer, haven't been there months and haven't searched for on phone or computer or ever used Maps to navigate to (it's just down the street). Phone was locked and sitting on my desk as usual. Happened to swipe into my widget pane a few hours later, and noticed that the Maps Destinations had that specific restaurant as a destination!

This is kind of creeping me out, especially since I use Apple products *because* I trust them with my privacy. Any ideas what's going on? I took a screenshot of the widget if that's of any use.
Maybe that sandwich chain is a popular one in the area. Therefore, as a food option it had that one listed.
 

DrTwoFish

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 25, 2008
41
1
Jersey Mike's, not unknown but not crazy popular (frankly, overpriced). I don't use the widget enough to know if it commonly suggests lunch places, but usually all it has is my home and work. Oddly, I just checked again and JM popped up again after only showing Home all morning.
 

JonnyBlaze

macrumors regular
May 5, 2008
193
92
UK
Not sure I can answer your question about Siri listening, although I doubt it (is listening in that way), but do you know you can check the significant locations your phone stores? It might have that stored from previous visits to the shop.

Settings/privacy/system services/significant locations

See if the location of the shop is listed. Maybe delete that and see how that affects things. I would guess it’s this more than Siri, but that’s just my hunch.

Hope that helps

Edited for clarity
 
Last edited:

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,977
34,980
I ask because yesterday morning I was discussing lunch options with a colleague and mentioned a sandwich chain in passing. I'm not a frequent customer, haven't been there months and haven't searched for on phone or computer or ever used Maps to navigate to (it's just down the street). Phone was locked and sitting on my desk as usual. Happened to swipe into my widget pane a few hours later, and noticed that the Maps Destinations had that specific restaurant as a destination!

This is kind of creeping me out, especially since I use Apple products *because* I trust them with my privacy. Any ideas what's going on? I took a screenshot of the widget if that's of any use.
Strange. Somehow Siri was able to interpret specifically what you said and then calculate directions to the restaurant. I’m not sure how that would have happened, but I believe this to be some sort type of glitch or remote issue if anything. I don’t see Siri secretly listening to you, what I would do, try disabling Siri, then reenable.
 

DrTwoFish

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 25, 2008
41
1
Not sure I can answer your question about Siri listening, although I doubt it, but do you know you can check the significant locations your phone stores? It might have that stored from previous visits to the shop.

Settings/privacy/system services/significant locations

See if the location of the shop is listed. Maybe delete that and see how that affects things. I would guess it’s this more than Siri, but that’s just my hunch.

Hope that helps
Great call - I think this might be it. I regularly have happy hour at a location not far from the sandwich shop (though not beside it) and it has the shop listed as a significant location for those times. I think you've solved it and it was just a weird coincidence! That said, I hadn't realized it was storing all these locations...time to reconsider allowing that.

Thanks all - case closed!
 

darkus

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2007
186
16
There's no question something is listening.

Sometimes the same will happen where I mention a product, that I never googled or visited websites for, over lunch with a friend.

Then surprise surprise I start seeing google ads for that product when using iOS safari.
 

ZEEN0j

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2014
1,543
696
Your iPhone is not listening to you in the background. Stop being paranoid. I suggest reading about how the command hey Siri works. And apples proactive work on keeping things private.
 

orev

macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2015
454
800
If your phone was always listening it would have to be constantly either doing voice recognition on the device, or sending the audio stream to the cloud. Either way it would be extremely obvious through battery or data usage. And the fallout from getting caught doing it would be immense. It's not worth the risk and not possible to do it secretly.
 
Last edited:

andyp350

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2011
807
459
I would suggest this a coincidence and most likely a Siri suggestion based on other data it has collected. (most likely location based ones from places you frequent possibly nearby)
 

blairian89

macrumors 6502
Dec 5, 2016
379
247
Texas
Your phone and the apps on it are likely tracking your every move and building data about you, your habits, and your movements. What do you care if they can hear you cussing at people on your morning drive?

Short answer, no. You would know if she was listening to you - your phone battery and data usage would be reflective of that.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,624
1,904
Apple prides themselves in how seriously they take privacy. They are continually making the phone not only more secure from criminals but from anyone including themselves. Its to the point where its hindering product development.

Supposedly a "Hey Siri" request is processed locally, once determined as a real request the data is sent to Apple to fulfill your request. The data is e2ee but that doesn't mean much if you just mean them having the data.

Personally I find it unlikely. Turning Hey Siri off does show a bit of battery savings in real use and is also a feature disabled in Low Power Mode.

Another thing I noticed is turning it off deletes all your user data and does require relearning. Gone is everything Siri has linked to you. While again that can easily be faked I find that a bit on the tin foil hat wearing side of things.

Its also WAY too risky for Apple for something that should be easily detectable. Its counter to there business model too, while iAds are a thing Apple has a lot of services in place to limit their tracking. Its also obvious they aren't anywhere near as good at serving ads as they should be if they are literally recording everything you are saying.

I don't think its dumb to be paranoid about your right to privacy but its clear this issue was based on "significant locations" and just Jersey Mikes being close to that frequently visited location. I get this all the time with some sort of home business one of my friends neighbors runs, says on saturdays I'm 15 minutes away from IT Link Business solutions or some non sense like that.
 
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