During WWDC 2023, Apple offered a glimpse at the upcoming iOS 17 update and while it may not be as feature-rich as last year’s iOS 16 upgrade, there’s still plenty to be excited about. FaceTime video voicemails and the new Standby mode have grabbed the headlines. But it’s a new Siri feature that has got me most excited.
After installing iOS 17, you will no longer need to say “Hey Siri” in order to activate Apple’s virtual assistant. Instead, you can simply say “Siri…” and the assistant will start listening. This will bring Siri in line with rival voice-activated assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, which is currently activated just by saying its name without the need for a greeting first.
On the surface, this might not seem like a big deal, but it’s a feature I’ve been requesting for literally years. Removing the need to say “Hey” first will make talking to Siri feel a lot more natural, and will encourage me to use the assistant more. Plus, it should help to quell the frustrations that come when the assistant doesn’t respond to your initial prompting. I don’t mind repeating Siri’s name after a failed first attempt but standing in a grocery store repeating “Hey Siri” over and over again is an awkward experience I’ve endured on more than one occasion.
The latest iOS update will also bring with it another Siri feature that I can’t believe it’s taken this long to implement: multiple commands. Yes, finally you’ll be able to ask Siri to do multiple things without having to reactivate the voice assistant in between requests.
For example, you’ll be able to say “Siri, set a timer for five minutes", allow Siri to respond, and then say "Give me the weather forecast” and the assistant will perform the second task without needing to be reactivated in between commands. This is another minor improvement on the surface, but it's something that will make Siri significantly more user-friendly.
These Siri upgrades may not seem as revolutionary as some of the other features set to be included in iOS 17, but I already know they’ll be the ones that make the biggest impact on my daily routine.
As for when we can expect iOS 17 to be available, Apple typically launches its annual OS update in September, and we expect that to be the case again this year. Naturally, iOS 17’s release should coincide with the launch of the iPhone 15 lineup later this year.