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Siri not working? Try these troubleshooting fixes

Isn’t Siri rubbish? Well, that’s a matter of opinion, but Apple’s voice-activated ‘personal

assistant’, introduced with the iPhone 4s and later made available on iPad

certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Back in 2013 we went on to Twitter and asked Macworld readers about their experiences with Siri, and the things that they love and hate about Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant. In those early days, only about half said they use it – but while some of those used it fairly rarely, others defended the feature staunchly.

We discuss the good stuff in a separate article – 10 things we love about Siri – but in this article we talk about its problems and annoyances, and how to fix them. In this article, however, we’re going to concentrate on the bad stuff: the reasons why the other half gave it a go and recoiled with horror, never to ask for Siri’s help again.

So: what is it that makes Siri so rubbish? Read next: How to use Siri on Mac

Siri’s not working at all on my device. Can it run Siri?

If Siri isn’t working for you, the first thing to check is whether your device is able to run Siri.

Siri is available on the iPhone 4s and later, on the iPad 3 and later (including all iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad mini models, and the iPad 2017) and on the 5th- and 6th-gen iPod touch models. Plus every Apple Watch model and the 4th-gen Apple TV, and any Mac able to run macOS Sierra.

If you’ve got an iPhone 4 or earlier, or an iPad 1 or iPad 2, you won’t be able to run Siri, although there are some alternative voice-control apps on the App Store that you might like to try.

How to turn Siri on

If it’s not working at all, Siri might be switched off. In iOS, go to Settings > Siri (in earlier versions of iOS you had to select Settings > General > Siri) and make sure the top slider, labelled Siri, is on, and green.

On Mac, open System Preferences and click Siri (on the fourth row). Make sure there’s a tick next to Enable Siri on the lefthand side.

Don’t know what to ask

Simon Davies was put off Siri by his first (and only) experience. “Nope. Tried once. Gave up.”

“To be honest, I find it quite useless,” added Abdullah.

The best questions to ask Siri

Solution: Don’t be put off by one bad experience, Simon! Siri can do lots of stuff but it takes a little while to get used to its way of working. Bear in mind that Siri is constantly improving: Apple is continually adding features, and it should get better at interpreting your wishes the more you use it.

There are many, many useful questions you can ask Siri. For more ideas of the questions that Siri can handle, press and hold the Home button to activate Siri, but don’t ask it anything. After a short wait it will start cycling through several pages of sample questions.

If your issue is that Siri can’t understand your requests, rather than not knowing which questions are likely to produce useful results, try the fixes we list below for accent problems.

Siri can’t understand your accent

Will Leitch complained about Siri’s ability to grasp our weird and varied British voices. “The interaction bit is useless with UK and Irish accents,” he writes. “Never seems to learn.”

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