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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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17,414


With the recent release of iOS 15, Apple appears to have made some changes to Siri functionality that have removed features relied on by low vision and blind iPhone users.

siri-glow.png

Several Siri commands that provide details on phone calls, voicemails, and sending emails no longer appear to be working. The following commands used to be functional, but have recently been removed.
  • Do I have any voicemails?
  • Play my voicemail messages
  • Check my call history
  • Check my recent calls
  • Who called me?
  • Send an email
  • Send an email to [person]
Over the last two weeks, we've received several emails from iPhone users who are missing this key Siri functionality, or their relatives who are attempting to help them navigate the changes. The Siri feature removals have also been documented on the AppleVis forums for blind and low vision users of Apple products.
One of the people whom I support told me that she could no longer use Siri to send email from her iPhone 8 with iOS 14. I tried on my iPhone SE with iOS 15.0 and the response from Siri was "sorry, I can't help with that'. Subsequently, I've had the same response on a phone running iOS 12. If this is a deliberate feature removal, it's certainly a loss to some users with sight loss who find it a convenient way to send a brief email.

Prior to this last iOS update if Siri was asked to play voicemail Siri would - now Siri just states can't do that. Trying to find a work around around as my dad who is completely blind heavily relied on this feature.

My sister is blind and Siri would respond to voice commands ie, read my text, call Barbara, answer questions regarding weather and most importantly tell my sister who called her. As of today, Siri's response is "I can't help with that". Has the system changed? Is there something on the iPhone that needs to be in abled so Siri will aid my sister with knowing who called her in the past?
Asking Siri to provide details on recent phone calls or voicemails results in the following response: "I can't help with that, but you can ask me to open the Phone app." Asking about email garners a similar response about Siri being unable to help.

It's worth noting that it's still possible to ask Siri to play the most recent voicemail message that's available, or a voicemail from a specific person, but Siri will not read out a list of all the available voicemails. The Siri commands seem to have disappeared when iOS 15 was released, but iOS 14 users are also not able to use them anymore so it's not an issue tied to iOS 15.

We asked Apple for comment on whether this was a bug or if there are alternate commands available for users, but after several days of waiting for a response, we did not hear back. A user on the AppleVis forums spoke to Apple support and was told that Apple is aware of the issue, so there's a possibility that this functionality will be re-added at some point.

Article Link: Recent Siri Changes Remove Call, Email, and Voicemail Features Used by Low Vision and Blind Users
 

sparkinstx

macrumors regular
Nov 1, 2017
230
245
I don't think only blind or low vision people use these features - some people really use Siri. My wife's always saying, "Hey Siri, text so-and-so", or "Hey Siri, call so-and-so". We've held off installing 15 because of known issues like the storage almost full bug, and are waiting for 15.1 This doesn't give me a lot of confidence in even 15.1.
 

jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,824
3,833
California
I don't think only blind or deaf people use these features - some people really use Siri. My wife's always saying, "Hey Siri, text so-and-so", or "Hey Siri, call so-and-so". We've held off installing 15 because of known issues like the storage almost full bug, and are waiting for 15.1 This doesn't give me a lot of confidence in even 15.1.

Yes, I completely agree. This affects everyone. It's just that the emails I have been receiving have been from blind and low vision users that relied on those features. Also just to be clear this isn't an iOS specific issue, it seems to be a server-side Siri change that was made around the time iOS 15 came out.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
4,585
13,018
Temecula, CA
Yes, I completely agree. This affects everyone. It's just that the emails I have been receiving have been from blind and low vision users that relied on those features. Also just to be clear this isn't an iOS specific issue, it seems to be a server-side Siri change that was made around the time iOS 15 came out.
the wording in the article pretty clearly suggests that it is related to ios15:
With the recent release of iOS 15, Apple appears to have made some changes to Siri functionality that have removed features relied on by low vision and blind iPhone users.
 

retta283

Cancelled
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,894
Victoria, British Columbia
Apple is aware of the issue
It's not an issue to them. They want it swept under the rug just like any other feature they silently kill... I see little reason why these features were removed, and I hope enough people inquire to make them re-add it.

And everyone forgot about CSAM, didn't they. Funny how that is. Keep it hush hush and after a while no one will remember enough to care.
 

nitramluap

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2015
438
977
I think a lot of this is because it's all getting a bit too complicated, and Apple's insistence of running like a 'collection of startups' is causing breakdowns in communication. There are many critical bugs that just aren't being fixed and things like this being removed without any consideration to the implications of their removal.
 

sw1tcher

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2004
2,570
5,212
I'm going to help Apple out and issue the following statement on their behalf 🤣 :

"We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with Siri and for that we are sorry. The vast majority of Siri users are having a positive experience with iOS 15."
 

ss2cire

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2008
150
113
Earth?
I think a lot of this is because it's all getting a bit too complicated, and Apple's insistence of running like a 'collection of startups' is causing breakdowns in communication. There are many critical bugs that just aren't being fixed and things like this being removed without any consideration to the implications of their removal.

I almost want to say, Siri is the cause of the breakdown in communication because they can't draft emails with Siri or check their Voicemail with Siri... but that'd just be snarky ;)

---------------------------------

My theory, could this be a side-effect of the processing most requests on device vs sending to the server? Since it's an issue Apple is aware of, perhaps it's just a software fix in the near future. Alas, this is something that even if a small number of users are affected, still causes issues.

With all that said, does Apple specifically state that there is this functionality for low vision/blind people? or is it something they just came to rely on? Either way, hopefully it gets fixed very soon.
 
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