How to Fix It When Siri's Not Working

Get Apple's virtual assistant back online

Siri, the Apple virtual assistant, helps with a wide range of tasks, from finding directions to looking up restaurant menus. Some people are often so reliant on Siri that when the function stops working, they're at a loss.

If Siri stops listening, responds with texts, or doesn't respond to "Hey, Siri!" there are some easy fixes you can try to get your digital assistant up and running.

The troubleshooting steps in this guide apply to iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 7 devices with iOS 12 or iOS 11.

Causes of Siri Not Working

There are several reasons behind a malfunctioning Siri, including not speaking clearly, having the wrong language setting, Wi-Fi issues, or problems with your iPhone. Many solutions are easy fixes that will soon have Siri at your beck and call once again.

Person using iPhone to talk to Siri
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How to Fix It When Siri's Not Working

These troubleshooting sections are divided into general Siri malfunction fixes, specific fixes to try when Siri responds with texts instead of speaking to you, and issues using the "Hey, Siri!" command.

General Siri Malfunction Fixes

Try these troubleshooting steps in the order presented to get Siri up and running again.

  1. Speak clearly. If Siri has trouble understanding you, the problem could be with your request. With any virtual assistant, it's imperative to speak clearly and plainly. Siri is best used for straightforward requests, such as, "What's the weather?" or "Call Mom."

  2. Restart your iOS device. Restarting the device may solve issues with a weak cellular connection and Wi-Fi connectivity, two problems that can cause Siri to stop working properly.

    Restarting an iPhone doesn't erase your settings or data. It only reboots the device.

  3. Check your network connections. If Siri responds with, "Sorry, I'm having trouble connecting to the network," or "Try again in a little while," the problem may be a faulty network connection. Make sure the device is connected to the internet and activate Siri again.

    If you find network connection issues, consider resetting the network settings on your device.

  4. Make sure Siri is turned on. You may need to enable Siri manually to get the assistant up and running. You can also turn Siri off and back on to reset the assistant.

  5. Check for Siri restrictions. Make sure you don't have any restrictions set up that block Siri. For example, Siri may be blocked from accessing certain websites.

  6. Turn on Location Services. Siri needs to know your location to answer questions about the weather, directions, and other issues. Turn on Location Services for Siri to work properly.

  7. Install all available iOS updates. A phone that requires an update is known to do many strange things, including mess with Siri. Install all available iOS updates on your device and then try Siri again.

  8. Toggle Airplane Mode on and back off. Turn Airplane Mode on, wait 20 seconds, then toggle it off. This often resets Siri and gets it back to normal.

  9. Toggle iPhone dictation off and back on. Some Siri problems may be caused by issues with your iPhone's dictation, the tool that sends voice input to Apple to process your requests. Toggle dictation off and back on.

  10. Make sure Siri's language is correct. For Siri to understand you when you speak, you must select the correct language from the options in your iPhone settings.

    Choose the language that you speak in this step, not the language you want Siri to speak back to you. This allows Siri to understand your requests.

  11. Test the iPhone's microphones. Siri may not hear you or respond if the microphones don't work properly. Remove screen protectors or cases that may cover the microphone and try using Siri again.

    Clean the microphones by using a can of compressed air or a static-free brush to spray or wipe away dust and debris lightly.

  12. Check the Siri servers. Visit the Apple Support System Status website to see if Siri is experiencing a problem on Apple's end. If so, it's a waiting game to see when Apple will fix the issue.

  13. Restore the iPhone to factory settings. Reset all your iPhone's existing settings by returning the device to factory settings. This may remove an issue deep within the system causing Siri to malfunction.

    Restoring an iPhone to factory settings erases all your iPhone settings and data. Make sure to back up your device before moving forward.

  14. Contact Apple Support. If all else fails, contact Apple for help. Apple offers many resources through its website and the Apple Support app. Alternatively, visit the Genius Bar, or find a local Authorized Apple Service Provider.

When Siri Responds With Texts

Another common problem is Siri responding with texts on the iPhone screen instead of speaking to you. If this happens, there may be an issue with your device's sound or other settings.

  1. Check to see if your device is muted. iPhones can be muted or unmuted using the switch on the left side. Siri won't speak back to you if your iPhone is in muted mode.

  2. See if Voice Feedback is turned off. In your iPhone's settings, it's possible that the Siri Voice Feedback option has been limited. Make sure to allow Siri's Voice Feedback features.

  3. Check Siri's volume control. Siri has a separate volume control. Turn up the volume after saying a command or starting Siri.

  4. Turn the device off and back on. Restart your device to see if Siri starts speaking to you again. Sometimes after updates or app mishaps, tools like Siri need a good reset to get moving again.

When "Hey, Siri!" Won't Work

For iPhone versions 7 and newer, you can activate Siri using your voice without being connected to power by saying, "Hey Siri!" If this feature isn't working, there are a few issues that could be to blame.

  1. Make sure "Hey, Siri!" is activated. If "Hey, Siri!" isn't activated on your iPhone, press and hold the home button or side button to activate Siri.

  2. Check for "Hey, Siri!" obstructions. If your iPhone is lying face down on any surface, "Hey, Siri!" won't work. If you have a cover on your iPhone that's closed, open it to use "Hey, Siri!"

  3. Turn Low Power Mode off. If Low Power Mode is turned on, "Hey, Siri!" won't activate to conserve battery life.

On an iPhone 6 or earlier, you can't use "Hey, Siri!" without being connected to a power source.