Siri and concerns about privacy

“What’s meaning of life?” or “Will you marry me?”. Over the past week, Siri had to answer a lot of these questions. While everyone enjoys their new iPhone 4S and the lovely personal assistant Siri, most people don’t think about what really happens when you use Siri. Every time you say something to Siri, your voice is streamed to the cloud. Apple then processes your recording and sends the results back to you. The advantage of this process is obvious. Apple can analyse, improve and change Siri without the user having to do anything. 

But there’s also a downside in this process. Everything you say gets uploaded to Apple and we don’t know what they do with our data. Over time, they will have a lot of data about how we use Siri. They will also know a lot about us, our media and our relationships. But this data won’t be passed on to third parties and everything will be more or less anonymous. If you don’t want Apple to collect data about you, you can disable Siri in the Settings.

Siri’s User Privacy Policy

 (updated 10/16/2011)


Siri helps you get things done just by asking. You can make a phone call, send a message, check the weather, or even dictate text. To better understand your request, your device will record and send to Apple the things you say and dictate, as well as other information from your device. This information is sent only with your consent.

Products Affected

iPhone 4S

What data is collected and how is it used

As part of providing the Siri service, Apple collects two general types of data to enable Siri to become better at recognizing what you say and how you say things: User Data and Voice Input Data.

User Data provides context for your request and helps Siri understand what you are saying. User Data collected may include information such as:

  • The names of your address book contacts, their nicknames, and their relationship with you (for example, “my dad”, or “work”)
  • Your first name and nickname
  • Labels you assign to your email accounts (for example, “My Home Email”)
  • Names of songs and playlists in your collection

User Data sent to Apple enables Siri to help you when you say things like “Call Dad” or “How do I get to work from here?”

Voice Input Data is used by Apple to process your request, to help Siri better recognize what you say and may be used generally to improve the overall accuracy and performance of Siri and other Apple products and services. Voice Input Data is associated with your verbal commands and may include:

  • Audio recordings
  • Transcripts of what you said
  • Related diagnostic data, such as hardware and operating system specifications and performance statistics

Data Apple collects while you use Siri is not linked to other data Apple may have from your use of other Apple services.

The data will not be shared with third parties other than with Apple’s partners who are providing related services to Apple.


If you have Location Services turned on, then the location of your device at the time you make the request will also be sent to Apple to help Siri improve the accuracy of its response to your location-based requests (for example, ”what’s the weather like here today?”). You may choose to turn off Location Services for Siri. To do so:

  1. Tap Settings > Location Services.
  2. Slide the Siri option to “off.” The Siri features will still be available on your device, but location information will no longer be sent with your queries.

Opting out of Siri

You may choose to turn off Siri at any time. To do so:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Siri.
  2. Slide the Siri option to “off.”

Siri will no longer be available, and no further User Data or Voice Input Data will be sent to Apple in connection with this service.

If you turn off Siri, Apple will delete User Data and any recent Voice Input Data. Older Voice Input Data that has been disassociated from you may be retained for a period of time to improve Siri and other Apple products and services. Any data Apple retains from your use of Siri will not be associated with you or your device.

You can also enable explicit language filtering or restrict the ability to use Siri altogether under the Restrictions Setting.

To restrict the ability to use Siri:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Restrictions.
  2. Slide the Siri option to “off.”

To enable Explicit Language Filtering:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Restrictions.
  2. Slide the Explicit Language option to “off.”

Siri Passcode Lock

Siri can allow you to interact with your device without needing to unlock your phone. If you have enabled a passcode on your device and would like to prevent Siri from being used from the lock screen you can:

  1. Tap Settings > General > Passcode Lock
  2. Slide the Siri option to “off”

Privacy policy

Apple will treat information it collects in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy, which can be found a

Source: iPhone 4S: About Siri and privacy,

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