Siri in iOS 7 getting better at pronouncing names

iPhone 4S advert (Siri 001)

Not only is Siri getting a facelift and new features in iOS 7 as Apple continues to focus on improving her usability and the accuracy and reliability of the responses, she’s also getting smarter thanks to backend changes which don’t require a software update. For example, one of such server-side improvements is the ability to place phone calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to help save lives.

But there’s one aspect of Siri that has seen little changes since her inception: inaccurate pronunciation of certain names. But no more. Although not specifically addressed during the WWDC 2013 keynote, it’s been discovered that Siri can now initiate a learning process of sorts whenever it has trouble understanding your pronunciation of a person’s name…

You can try this right now: just tell Siri a name she doesn’t know and she’ll apologize and ask for help. According to Scott Buscemi of 9to5Mac, Siri then offers two versions of what it thinks the name should be pronounced.

You can choose either of them as standard, which will force her to use that pronunciation going forward.

In addition, we have found that you can simply say, “That’s not how you pronounce [any name]” and Siri will go through the learning process.

Like before, you can also type in the phonetic spelling manually.

The feature appears to be iOS 7-specific.

iOS 7 (Siri, pronunciation of names, 9to5Mac 001)

I was able to replicate this feature, but Siri kept crashing my device and I couldn’t take my own screenshots (one of the wonders of beta software). This is no doubt a much-needed improvement, even more so given how Siri typically struggles with recognizing non-English contacts when asking her to call or text a person from your address book.

iOS 7 (Siri, Flashlight)

Siri in iOS 7 can turn on flashlight for you (also accessible from the Control Center), turn on Bluetooth, return calls, change the screen brightness, control iTunes Radio, play back your voicemail and more.

iOS 7 users can also change between a male and female voice and get inline results from more sources like Bing, Wikipedia and Twitter without sending you to a browser.

What’s your experience with Siri’s ability to recognize names?