Make Siri Safe to Use With This Simple Security Settings Fix

Prevent Siri from giving up your secrets

If you have an iPhone, then chances are you have played around with the Siri virtual assistant. You've probably been asking it all sorts of important questions such as, "What's the meaning of life?" or "Tell me a joke."

Potential Security Gap

Apple prefers quick access over device security for Siri, which is why the iOS default settings allow Siri to bypass the passcode lock. However, allowing Siri to bypass the passcode lock could allow a thief or hacker to make phone calls, send texts, send e-mails, and access other personal information without having to enter the security code first.

There is always a balance that must be struck between security and usability. Users and software developers must make the choice of how much perceived security feature-related inconvenience they are willing to endure to keep their devices safe versus how quickly and easily they want to be able to use them.

Tighten Siri Security

To block Siri from bypassing the passcode lock:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode. Or, tap Touch ID & Passcode on devices that do not support Face ID.

  3. Enter your passcode.

  4. Ensure that the passcode lock option is turned on.

  5. Set Require Passcode to immediately.

  6. In the Allow Access When Locked section, turn off the Siri toggle switch.

    Face ID & Passcode, passcode entry field, Require Passcode option "Immediately" in iOS Settings
  7. Close the Settings.

Practical Considerations

Whether you prefer instant access to Siri without the need to have to look at the screen to enter a passcode is completely up to you. In some cases, while you're in the car, for example, driving safely is more important than data security. So if you use your iPhone in hands-free mode, keep the default option, allowing the Siri passcode bypass.

As the Siri feature becomes further advanced and the amount of data sources it is tapped into increases, the data security risk for the screen lock bypass may also increase. For example, if developers tie Siri into their apps in the future, Siri could provide a hacker with financial information if a Siri-enabled banking app is running and logged in using cached credentials and a hacker asks Siri the right questions.

Apple continues to monitor security concerns about Siri and has prevented some functions from being performed while a phone is locked. One example is if you have a HomeKit (Siri-enabled) door lock, someone can't ask Siri to unlock your door if the phone's lock screen is active.

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