There are two ways to use Siri; long press the Home button or say ‘Hey Siri’. For older devices, you can only use ‘Hey Siri’ when your device is connected to a power source. Newer devices have ‘Hey Siri’ set to always on. This is awesome for when you can’t manually access Siri via the home button. iOS 10 has new settings in the Accessibility menu that let you disable Siri access from the home button. Unfortunately, disabling Siri access from home button turns it off completely so that you can’t even use it via a ‘Hey Siri’ command. This is the very definition of one step forward and two steps back and Apple needs to fix it before iOS 10.2 hits the stable version.
You can turn off home button access for Siri from the Settings app. Under General>Accessibility you will find new option in the ‘Interaction section’ called Home Button.
The Home Button setting has three options; Siri, Voice Control, and Off. Selecting the ‘Off’ option automatically turns Siri Off which is the problem. Selecting ‘Voice Control’ has the same effect. If Siri doesn’t have access to the home button, she is turned Off.
This is an obvious gaffe on Apple’s part. The company is persistently pushing wireless technology like its AirPods on to users. The aim is to allow users to interact with their device without touching them. The AirPods let you control Siri as well and the always-on mode for Siri on newer devices also encourages users to interact with her without actually touching the device. To be fair, that’s the easier way to do it.
This isn’t Apple’s first hiccup of this kind. iOS 10 initially launched with a setting that disabled iMessage effects if you turned Reduce Motion On. Turning Reduce Motion On is necessary to save battery life. It was later rectified in iOS 10.1 but it’s not a mistake that should have made it to the stable version of iOS. We can only hope Apple fixes it in future betas, or at the latest, by the time iOS 10.2 stable is rolled out. Also, Apple needs to stop doing this.