A list of removed Siri voice commands: Sending emails, checking call history and more

Some Siri voice commands have stopped working. Apple’s digital assistant is no longer able to assist you with sending an email message, checking your call history or recent calls, and more.

A featured image showing a Siri orb set against a dark background

A list of Siri voice commands that no longer work

Siri no longer recognizes the following voice commands:

  • Do I have any voicemails?
  • Play my voicemail messages
  • Check my call history
  • Check my recent calls
  • Who called me?
  • Send an email
  • Send an email to [person]

It’s unclear if other Siri commands may be affected, too.

Try asking any of the above questions as you might, but Siri will respond with a “Sorry, I can’t help with that” or some such. But why on Earth would Apple drop this key Siri functionality that it used to tout as accessibility shortcuts for visually impaired customers?

Why has Apple removed these Siri queries?

Only Apple knows that. We don’t really know whether this is a deliberate feature removal because the company hasn’t even acknowledged that the above commands no longer work. Apple could also re-enable the removed commands or introduce alternate ones.

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Thankfully, the removal of key Siri functionality is widely documented on the AppleVis forum where blind, low-vision and other customers discuss the various accessibility features in Apple products. Read: A list of Siri commands that work offline

Why is this such a big deal?

It’d be too easy to chalk this up to the iOS 15 release, which (like all major updates) is plagued with bugs. That being said, it would appear that this isn’t a problem that’s specific to iOS 15.

9to5Mac was able to confirm that the above commands are not only unavailable in iOS 15, but also in iOS 14.8. MacRumors claims to have been receiving complaints from ‌iPhone‌ users about the missing voice commands for the past two weeks. And AppleInsider notes that people can still use the power of their voice to ask Siri to play the most recent voicemail.

Anyone using Siri daily could complain that they’re left feeling as if some of the most crucial pieces of Siri functionality were taken from them, and they’d be right. If you use Siri, some of your most frequent requests probably include sending an email message to someone, checking your voicemail, seeing who called you and so forth.

A photo showing actor Dwayne Johnson holding a Jet Black iPhone 7 in his hand and conversing with Siri
“Sorry, Dwayne, I can’t help you with that”

And now imagine being blind or having vision problems. You rely on your trusted assistant for those kinds of queries because Apple optimized them for accessibility. And then one day you wake up to a world where asking ‌Siri‌ to check your recent phone calls or voicemails results in an error message stating that Siri couldn’t be of any help. “I can’t help with that, but you can ask me to open the Phone app” isn’t what you want to hear in response, we bet.

“Prior to this last iOS update if Siri was asked to play voicemail, Siri would—now Siri just states she can’t do that,” writes one of the posters on the AppleVis forums: “Trying to find a workaround around as my dad who is completely blind heavily relied on this feature.”

Will Apple bring back the removed Siri features?

It sounds like this is a temporary rather than permanent removal because one of the posters on the AppleVis forums reached out to Apple support and learned that Apple is actually aware of this issue. And if Apple realizes folks would like their removed Siri commands back, thank you very much, perhaps the company will re-enable the removed queries in the future.

As MacRumors explains:

It’s worth noting that it’s still possible to ask ‌Siri‌ to play the most recent voicemail message that’s available, or a voicemail from a specific person, but ‌Siri‌ will not read out a list of all the available voicemails. The ‌Siri‌ commands seem to have disappeared when ‌iOS 15‌ was released, but iOS 14 users are also not able to use them anymore so it’s not an issue tied to ‌iOS 15‌.

One of the posters couldn’t get these commands to work on an iPhone running iOS 12. Because the removed commands have stopped working on multiple versions of iOS dating all the way back to iOS 12, this can’t be just a simple, random bug. iDownloadBlog’s take: Apple has intentionally removed the above voice commands, for some reason, but will bring them back with a quiet server-side update or introduce their alternate versions.