iPhone 6s Siri image 001

Apple’s iPhone 6s has introduced an untethered ‘Hey Siri’ feature which allows for always-listening functionality even when the device isn’t charging, by utilizing the power-efficient M9 motion coprocessor to always listen for voice commands.

But as AppleInsider finds out, the handset automatically switches off untethered ‘Hey Siri’ when it’s in your pocket or face down on a table.

This is another trick in Apple’s arsenal of technologies to extend battery life.

Utilizing the M9 motion coprocessor—which on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is embedded within the Apple-designed ‘A9’ system-on-a-chip—the handset can determine when untethered ‘Hey Siri functionality should be available and disables the feature temporarily when the phone is laying face down or is inside your pocket.

“Displays are typically the most power-hungry component on an iPhone, and keeping the screen dark when a user cannot see it is a practical way to extend battery life,” writes Apple Insider.

It’s interesting that Apple doesn’t mention this in any of its promotional materials.

iPhone 6s M9

With pre-iPhone 6s iOS devices, ‘Hey Siri’ requires an iPhone or an iPad connected to external power to prevent draining the battery because power-efficient motion coprocessors found on earlier iOS devices are not capable of listening for voice at all.

“Users who want constant access to “Hey Siri” with their iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus should perhaps get into the habit of laying their handset on a table face-up,” writer Neil higher remarked jokingly.

Facedown detection is another way iOS helps conserve your iPhone’s battery by not waking up the screen when a notification arrives and the phone is face down on a table.

Keep in mind that Facedown detection does not support the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPad and iPod touch because these devices lack a dedicated motion coprocessor.

Apple’s M-series chips require very little energy and were designed to constantly monitor and calibrate the iPhone’s many sensors—among them the proximity sensor which is required for face detection—without waking up the power-hungry CPU.

What do you think of this nifty little feature of iPhone 6s?

Source: AppleInsider

  • brian.

    While I do love the feature of “Hey Siri” with the screen off and good battery life, I do wish they gave you the option to disable the detection. It would great if I could just say “Hey Siri” in my pocket and be able to have it remind me of something. It’s not something that I’d use all the time, but it would be a “nice to have” feature.

    What I do like about this feature is that you can just say “Hey Siri, remind me to pick up milk at 5PM” without any delay between “Hey Siri” and “remind me to…” It’s very nice.

    • George

      I think they want you to use your watch for that kind of stuff.

      • iByron

        Not everyone has a watch. And no, Apple isn’t so silly as to expect that everyone will.

      • brian.

        Agreed. While I do have a watch, there are other cases I can think of when I want to do something with Hey Siri. I use a Sena Slip-Case for my phone, so it covers the face if it’s on. When I sleep, I don’t know how I’ll shift around, so the case goes on like a little protective sleeping bag.

        All that to say, I can’t activate Siri with just my voice with that on. Sometimes, I just want to say something really quick before I fall asleep and I might not be able to. The world won’t come to an end with my issues, but, like I said, it’s a “nice to have.”

      • George

        Talking to your phone in your pocket? How practical is that?

    • Well you’d be able to do that if you had headphones in.

  • iByron

    I was disappointed to learn that Hey Siri doesn’t work when my phone is in my pocket. If I’m out and about town, I’d rather not have to take my phone out of my pocket to “Hey Siri” a reminder. The benefit of Hey Siri is that I can activate Siri as soon as I think about it and without any additional action.

    If I’m carrying a load or a chid, or I’m dressed for cold weather (with non touch-screen gloves… don’t hate, they generally look better and I’m more likely to find some that fit), or I’m in any number of other situations where taking my phone out of my pocket is not something I want to do, being able to “Hey Siri” with just my headset would be a big plus.

    It’s not a deal-breaker and I appreciate the battery-saving features, but still. Options are better than dictates.

    • Merman123

      You can’t invoke Siri with your headset?

      • iByron

        Not with Hey Siri when it’s in my pocket. And again, in situations where my hands are otherwise occupied I can’t do it the normal way either.

      • Merman123

        Hmm that would take something else though. For your headset to be listening all the time. It would be dead in a couple of hours.

        But yeah it would be cool.

      • askep3

        I think if you have headphones or earphones with a mic hey Siri is always on

    • Gary LE

      You should definetly consider the Apple watch for its convinience of always having “hey siri” on your wrist for the whole day! You will in the end of the day kiss siri and charge her up for the next day.

  • Someone

    My ‘Hey Siri’ doesn’t work well. 75% of the time it doesn’t respond.

    • Merman123

      You got to tame your girl man

    • EduHH

      I experienced also bad performance of that. I need to say “hey siri” very load otherwise the phone wont respond.

    • Micro

      I found you have to say “HEY SIRI…… 2 second pause” but you really gotta say “HEY, SIRI” very bro like and clear.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    Don’t remember if the iphone has a variable clock rate. Does anyone know of this?

  • They probably meant ambient light sensor.

  • Lance Baker

    My screen doesn’t even turn off when face down. Anyone else have that problem? Thought that was an iOS 9 feature and I’ve got a brand new phone.

    • ArtieMack

      Facedown detection is to prevent the screen from waking when you get a notification. If doesn’t turn off the screen if you placed it down when on.

      • Lance Baker

        That makes sense. Thanks for clearing it up. Any time I read about the feature it sounded like what I was talking about.

  • It must sense the darkness of the pocket?