Apple Working on Siri Bug That Lets Strangers Hear Messages

Updated

Updated March 23 at 8:04 am ET with comment from Apple.

If you use a feature baked into iOS 11 that lets you hide messages, you might be disappointed to learn that Siri isn't so good at keeping that content hidden.

Credit: Tom's GuideCredit: Tom's GuideThe folks over at Brazilian website Mac Magazine have discovered a bug in Siri that will allow anyone to request the virtual personal assistant read hidden messages aloud. All someone needs to do is ask Siri to read a message and the virtual personal assistant will respond by reading it in the robotic voice you've come to know, according to the report, which was earlier discovered by 9to5Mac.

Update: In a statement to Macrumors on Thursday (March 22), Apple acknowledged the problem with Siri and said that it has become "aware of the issue." Apple promised to fix the problem "in an upcoming software update."

It's unclear, however, whether Apple will fix it in its iOS 11.3, which is currently in beta, or if it will deliver a minor update in iOS 11.2.7 to fix the problem.

In iOS 11, Apple created a setting that allows you to hide messages. When someone sends you a text message or any other type of content and the hide-messages feature is on, you'll only receive a notification that something has come in and won't be able to see the content of it from the lock screen. The idea is to improve privacy and keep pesky onlookers from seeing what your friends and family might be sending you.

MORE: 28 Hidden iOS 11 Features

While Mac Magazine was testing the feature, which is on by default in the iPhone X, it discovered that requesting Siri read aloud whatever message had just come in would reveal the content of that message in nearly every case. The only place it didn't work: in Apple's own Messages app. When the site tested the feature on Skype, Telegram, and WhatsApp, however, Siri delivered the message with ease.

Protect Yourself: To hide message content on the Lock screen, click Settings > Notifications, choose the app. Then select Previews and choose Never.

According to 9to5Mac, Mac Magazine was able to take advantage of the bug in iOS 11.2.6, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. The site also tried it out on iOS 11.3 and was again able to dupe Siri into reciting messages.

The bug is just the latest in a string of problems Apple has faced in iOS 11. The company has reportedly told its engineers to delay some of the bigger updates it was planning for iOS 12 and delay them to 2019. Instead, Apple has told its engineers that it wants to focus on performance and reliability improvements in this year's major operating system update, according to reports.

Given we're facing yet another iOS problem, that might be a good idea.

Update at 8:04 a.m. on March 23: In a statement to Macrumors on Thursday (March 22), Apple acknowledged the problem with Siri and said that it has become "aware of the issue." Apple promised to fix the problem "in an upcoming software update." It's unclear, however, whether Apple will fix it in its iOS 11.3, which is currently in beta, or if it will deliver a minor update in iOS 11.2.7 to fix the problem.