Apple Wants to Drop ‘Hey’ From the ‘Hey Siri’ Wake Phrase for Voice Commands: Report

Just saying ‘Siri’ will wake Apple’s voice assistant in the near future, as per a new report.

Apple Wants to Drop ‘Hey’ From the ‘Hey Siri’ Wake Phrase for Voice Commands: Report

Apple’s smartphones and audio products work with the Siri voice assistant

  • Currently, the phrase ‘Hey Siri’ is used to wake Apple’s voice assistant
  • Siri works on many of Apple’s hardware products
  • HomePod mini has an always-on microphone to listen for the wake phrase

Apple is said to be working on changing the wake phrase for its Siri voice assistant, and will change the phrase from ‘Hey Siri' to simply ‘Siri'. This will make it much easier to invoke the voice assistant on supported devices once implemented, but the change is said to be a technically challenging one since it involves AI training and a lot of engineering work, as per the report. More words in the phrase usually makes it easier for voice assistants to understand the invocation of the voice assistant, so implementing this properly will be a challenge for Apple.

The report comes via journalist Mark Gurman's Power On newsletter on Bloomberg, and states that Apple has spent the past several months working on shortening the wake phrase. Siri has for long supported voice invocation through a wake phrase, which has thus far been the familiar ‘Hey Siri'. The company is now working on making the phrase ‘Siri', similar to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, that is invoked by simply saying ‘Alexa'.

Longer phrases are typically less prone to errors, and shorter phrases might be said differently according to languages and accents across the world. Apple is said to have factored these challenges into its work, and is already testing the simplified phrase with company employees. If all goes to plan, we could see Apple products, including those on iOS, macOS, WatchOS, tvOS, and HomePod devices, work with the simplified ‘Siri' wake word.

A significant challenge for voice assistants is miscues - phrases that sound similar to the main wake phrase tend to wake the devices and have them listen for commands. This is a frequent issue for smart devices and smartphones that have always-on microphones, as it can cause devices to react even when no response is expected. Shorter wake phrases typically increase the chances of these miscues, but are admittedly a lot easier for users who frequently use them. Siri serves as the default (and in some cases, only) voice assistant on many of Apple's devices, including the HomePod mini and Apple Watch range.

Apple launched the iPad Pro (2022) and the iPad (2022) alongside the new Apple TV this week. We discuss the company's latest products, along with our review of the iPhone 14 Pro on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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  • Design
  • Smart Features
  • Audio Quality
  • Value For Money
  • Good
  • Looks great

  • Clean, detailed sound

  • Excellent soundstage

  • Works very well within the Apple ecosystem
  • Bad
  • Some connectivity issues with stereo pairing

  • Limited smart capabilities
Model HomePod mini
Touchpad Yes

For details of the latest launches and news from Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo and other companies at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, visit our MWC 2024 hub.

Further reading: Apple, iOS, Hey Siri, Siri, Voice Assistant
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