Which Siri? Here’s how HomePod knows when it should respond to your Siri request

If you already are or are planning on becoming a proud owner of Apple’s Siri-powered wireless speaker launching this Friday, maybe you’ve been wondering how Apple’s personal assistant will respond to your request if you happen to own multiple Siri devices.

For example, your HomePod is in the living room and you’re also wearing an Apple Watch on your wrist. Plus, your iPad and Mac are on the table and your iPhone is in your pocket. Will the first device that detects the “Hey Siri” hotword take over your query?

Which Siri should respond to a request?

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop has spent almost a week testing Apple’s latest product, and his detailed review of the smart speaker provides the answer to that burning question.

Siri polls all of your devices over Bluetooth to figure out which device should handle your request. Everything being equal, HomePod will respond. However, the system is smart enough to know if HomePod or another device should answer.

For instance, if you raise your wrist and say, ‘Hey Siri,’ the combined devices will assume you want Siri on your Apple Watch. If you’re using your iPhone, then you probably want that device to respond. If you’re just sitting, not touching any device, then HomePod will take over.

That is very smart.

Smart indeed.

This is actually an old iOS feature that Apple first implemented in iOS 10 nearly two and a half years ago. On iOS 10 and up, “Hey Siri” intelligently responds on one nearby device at a time.

The way this works, iOS sends a message to other nearby devices to cancel out the listening operation. If you own an iPhone and an iPad, you can test this yourself by uttering the “Hey Siri” phrase. Only one device should respond. Even though Siri’s overlay may still appear on your secondary device, it only shows up for a fraction of second before disappearing.

As Dalrymple said, HomePod appears to use a more developed variant of this feature where Bluetooth is used to determine device presence along with other signals showing user intent, such as raising your wrist to speak to Siri or picking up your iPhone or iPad.

Do you like this smart Siri feature on HomePod?

Leave your comment below.

HomePod photographs courtesy of TechCrunch