TECH TIPS


July 2019: Apple users beware: Complete strangers could be listening to your ‘private’ conversations.




If you use an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch you know how handy Siri can be at times.

But what you might not know is Siri is constantly snooping on your conversations, and that even includes face-to-face conversations that don’t involve a phone call!

What happens is Siri records your conversations for use in training Siri to better understand how you speak and how it should respond to the things you say.

But Siri doesn’t do this “learning” all on it’s own. It has help from human contractors that Apple pays to listen to their customers’ recorded conversations and then provide feedback to help Siri improve.

According to this recent report from “The Guardian”, those human contractors hear all kinds of conversations ranging from the boring and mundane to extremely sensitive encounters such as medical consultations and even personal encounters of a very “intimate” nature.

What’s more, as mentioned above the conversations that are recorded and listened to aren’t just telephone calls. Your face-to-face and in-person conversations are shared with the contractors as well.

The takeaway is this: If Siri is active and waiting for you to speak her into action, she is listening to everything you say (how else would she hear you when you say “Hey Siri“?).

Apple says only about 1% of all daily customer conversations are recorded and listened to.

That sounds like the odds of them listening to any particular conversation of yours are very low, and they are.

But since Siri is constantly listening 24/7 (unless you tell her not to) there’s a very real possibility that some of your conversations are being recorded and listened to by complete strangers.

If this potential eavesdropping concerns you, all you have to do to prevent it is tell Siri to stop listening to your every word. Just follow the steps listed below for the device you’re using.

If you have an iPhone or iPad:

1 – Open the Settings app.

2 – Tap Siri.

3 – Tap Search.

4 – Toggle both the Listen for “Hey Siri” and Allow Siri When Locked settings to Off.

If you have an Apple watch:

1 – Open the Settings app.

2 – Select General.

3 – Select Siri.

4 – Toggle both the Hey Siri and Raise to Speak settings to Off.

That’s all there is to it. Once those changes are made, Siri should no longer listen in on your private conversations without your knowledge or approval.

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