‘Hey Siri’ not working? Try these steps

By , May 17, 2016

Set Up Hey Siri

Hey Siri is an invaluable feature of Apple’s iOS devices that lets you invoke Siri without having to press any buttons.

Using nothing more than the device’s microphone, you can mutter the words “Hey Siri” from a distance, and Siri will instantly launch and wait for your command.

But what should you do if it’s not working as you’d expect it to? In this troubleshooting guide, we’ll go over a few things that could help you figure that out.

Hey Siri not working?

So you’ve been repeating the words “Hey Siri” over and over, but Siri isn’t opening on your iPhone to take your command. What gives?

Here are a few things to look into:

Does your device have Hey Siri turned on?

The first thing you should do is check to make sure you have Hey Siri enabled on your device. It is possible to have Siri turned on, but to have Hey Siri turned off.

To see if you have Hey Siri enabled, open your Settings app and navigate to General > Siri > Hey Siri and ensure that the switch is turned to the on position:

Enable Hey Siri on iOS

Does your device support untethered Hey Siri?

Not all devices support untethered Hey Siri functionality. With many Apple devices, you have to be plugged into a power source, such as the AC adapter or your computer’s USB port, in order for Hey Siri to become active.

Only the following devices support Hey Siri without being connected to a power source:

  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • 12.9″ iPad Pro

If you are using any other device, such as an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5, or another unlisted iOS device, then you need to be connected to a power source. This is because Hey Siri can have high battery demands and only Apple’s latest iOS devices are efficient enough to run the feature in the background without significant battery drain.

Do you have an internet connection?

Siri requires an active internet connection to work, and so does Hey Siri. It can utilize either Wi-Fi or cellular internet connections, so long as it can establish a connection to Apple’s Siri request servers. If it can’t, you’ll get an error message like the one below:

Siri not available connect to the internet

It’s possible that you’re connected to a wireless router, but you could be experiencing network problems, so verify that your internet connection works by opening Safari and trying to load a web page. If it works, then you know your connection is good. If not, try rebooting the router or using another Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Is Low Power Mode turned on?

If you have Low Power Mode turned on, then Hey Siri will not work because it’s a power hog and would be unproductive to the cause of saving power.

As a result, Apple disables Hey Siri when Low Power Mode is enabled on your device. Try turning it off, or charge your device up some more.

Reboot your device

Sometimes software glitches can occur, and a reboot can often fix problems with services that get stuck and fail to work.

To reboot, just hold down the power button for a few seconds and then slide the slide to power off slider to the right. Then, hold the power button until you see the Apple logo and wait until the boot up completes before trying Hey Siri again.

Try recalibrating Hey Siri

When you set up Hey Siri for the first time, you’re asked to say “Hey Siri” a few times before the service can initialize. This is because the feature requires some form of calibration before it can be used.

If Hey Siri never seems to be able to understand you, then it might be worth going through this calibration process once again. This is done by going to the Settings app and navigating to General > Siri > Hey Siri and then disabling the already-enabled feature and then turning it back on again.

When you do, you’ll get the interface shown below:

Recalibrate Hey Siri

Tap on the Set Up Now button and you’ll be taken through 5 calibration steps where you’ll have to say something. Your device will then re-learn your voice.

Say Hey Siri into the iPhone recalibration

This tip may come in handy for those with heavy accents, or for those that normally mumble when they use Siri, but need to talk louder to get the feature to work.

Is your microphone working?

Another thing to look into if you’re having problems with Hey Siri is to check that your microphone is working. Water damage or debris inside the microphone can wreak havoc on microphone performance, or keep it from working altogether.

I recently had my microphone go out on me on my iPhone 6 Plus, and it is hindering my ability to use any Siri and Siri Dictation features at all on my device.

To check if your microphone is working, enter an app where you can pull up the keyboard and attempt to use the Siri Dictation feature. If you don’t see any movement in the voice waveform, then you probably have a bad or muffled microphone.

Try removing any cases that may be covering the microphone, such as thicker and bulkier Otterbox or Lifeproof cases. You can also try to blow at the microphone to remove dust particles that might be obstructing the sound.

Restore your iOS device

If a reboot didn’t fix it, you may still be experiencing a software problem, such a file corruption. Try restoring the device through iTunes and see if this fixes the problem.

In some cases, a reboot can’t fix it because it’s so severe. This is especially the case with jailbroken devices where software extensions like jailbreak tweaks can modify the Siri functionality.

Contact Apple

If everything listed above fails, you may want to contact Apple. A malfunctioning device may be covered under your limited or extended warranty, and Apple seems to be very happy to resolve problems for any covered device free of cost.

If you’re out of warranty on the other hand, you may be looking at more expensive alternatives to a free replacement.

Wrapping up

Despite how useful Hey Siri can be, it can be quite finicky at times. Hopefully after following the steps above, especially after recalibration, you’ve been able to get your Hey Siri working as you’ve been expecting it to.

Also read:

Has Hey Siri ever stopped working for you? If so, what was the fix? Share in the comments below!

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  • Erick Reyes

    Is worth mentioning that the 12.9 inch iPad Pro doesn’t support this feature. Only the 9.7 inch model

  • Smeltn

    my question is, does your phone have to be on the lock screen? I have had times that I wanted to use hey siri while my phone was active, like running navigation, etc but it wouldn’t come up and I am wondering if its because it only works when the phone is locked.

    • Gabriel Anaya

      Hey Siri works from anywhere, not just the lock screen. You may need to speak up more when it’s in the middle of navigation.

  • Diego

    My siri stops working too, but only the Hey Siri, I can’t set up the HEY SIRI, it simple doesn’t recognize my voice, I already tryed to set up many times but no luck.
    Already done all the steps above but no luck. the only one that I still didn’t try is restore iOS, I don’t wanna lose the jailbreak.

  • GaugePrower

    Note: Hey Siri does not work when the phone is in Low Power mode! Also, lately mine has been unresponsive, but if you invoke her with the home button and then close her and try again everything will work as normal. Its as if she stops listening sometimes.

  • TJ

    Yeah instead of being in freaking Beijing Tim Cook should be in the US fixing this crap, I’ve been having this problem for a while now…. its like come on!!!!!!

  • James Rimmer

    Hey Siri use to work when it was in “rest” (phone is on but screen is black) mode but for some reason it doesn’t do that anymore. Any fixes; because I have to actually have to take my phone out of rest mode to use it.