Take Full Control Over Siri's Audible Responses on Your iPhone for Silent or Spoken Replies When You Need Them

Take full control of Siri’s audible responses on your iPhone for silent or spoken responses when you need them

Apple’s iOS 16 update changes the way Siri speaks responses, defaulting to a more “automatic” solution that lets your iPhone decide when it should or shouldn’t speak out loud. That might sound like a good thing, but it’s harder to keep Siri quiet when you only want muted responses. Luckily, a new iOS update is giving you some control back.

Before we dive into the recently updated Siri feedback preferences, let’s see how these options have progressed over the years. This can help you understand how confusing constantly changing a menu can be.

On iOS 13.7 and earlier:

Siri voice feedback preferences seemed most detailed on iOS 13.7 and earlier. You can adjust Siri’s chatty responses via Settings -> Siri & Search -> Voice Feedback, and you can choose between:

  • Always On: Siri will provide voice feedback, even when your ringer switch is set to silent.
  • Control with Ring Switch: Siri will mute all audio feedback when you set the ringtone switch to silent. You will continue to hear the Siri beep and provide voice feedback when using “Hey Siri” or when connected to a Bluetooth device, headset, or CarPlay.
  • Hands-free only: Siri will only beep and provide voice feedback when using “Hey Siri” or when connected to a Bluetooth device, headset, or CarPlay.

On iOS 14.0:

Via Settings -> Siri & Search -> Siri Feedback -> Voice Feedback on iOS 14.0, you will notice some settings updates. For one thing, the main menu was Siri Feedback instead of Voice Feedback, in case you haven’t figured that out already. And then there is the fact that the title of each option has been changed:

  • Still: Siri will always speak, even when silent mode is on.
  • With silent mode off or with “Hey Siri”: Siri will speak when silent mode is off, when using “Hey Siri”, or when connected to a Bluetooth device or CarPlay.
  • Only with “Hey Siri”: Siri will only speak when using “Hey Siri” or when connected to a Bluetooth device or CarPlay.

On iOS 14.1 to iOS 15.7:

The Siri Feedback menu on iOS 14.0 seemed sloppy, so Apple tidied things up for iOS 14.1 to iOS 15.7, now available via Settings -> Siri & Search -> Siri Responses -> Spoken Responses. He changed the name of the menu again, this time from Siri Feedback to Siri Responses, and changed the name of the Quiet Mode option while keeping the same fine print.

  • Still: Siri will always speak, even when silent mode is on.
  • When silent mode is off: Siri will speak when silent mode is off, when using “Hey Siri”, or when connected to a Bluetooth device or CarPlay.
  • Only with “Hey Siri”: Siri will only speak when using “Hey Siri” or when connected to a Bluetooth device or CarPlay.

On iOS 16.0 to iOS 16.1:

On iOS 16.0 to iOS 16.1, you will only see two choices under Settings -> Siri & Search -> Siri Answers -> Voice Answers:

  • Automatique: Siri will use the intelligence of the device to automatically determine when to speak.
  • Prefer oral answers: Siri will speak when possible, including when silent mode is on.

The Automatic preference is a combination of the Always On and When Silent Mode is off options from iOS 14.0 through iOS 15.7, or the Always On and Control with Ringer Switch options on iOS 13.7 and earlier. These have been slimmed down, likely to make your iPhone smarter, showcasing its powerful on-device intelligence that tracks your general routines and preferences.

However, some users have experienced issues where Siri will audibly respond to whatever is asked, and this is likely a result of Auto mode not always working properly.

On iOS 16.2 and later:

For those of you having trouble with Siri’s voice feedback control, and for those of you who are just plain confused about the changes, Apple has heard your feedback. There is now a third option on the iOS 16.2 update, released on December 13, 2022. The three options now include the following:

  • Prefer silent answers: Siri will respond silently except when you appear to be driving or using headphones with the screen off.
  • Automatique: Siri will use the intelligence of the device to automatically determine when to speak.
  • Prefer oral answers: Siri will speak responses, including when silent mode is on.

Will the new changes stick? Maybe, but I wouldn’t doubt it if Apple tweaked those settings again to be even more specific about what each option does.

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Cover photo and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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