Siri can definitely be helpful when you need her (or him), but you may not want the entire world hearing Siri's responses in certain situations. If you're in a library, meeting, class, or another scenario where your iPhone's voice assistant would do more harm than good, there's a way to keep Siri silent ... but it's tricky.
By default, Siri is set to provide voice feedback no matter how you're using her/him. So even if your ring switch is set to silent, it won't have any effect on Siri's loudness. Of course, if you don't want to mute her outright, you could just adjust your iPhone's volume when Siri's speaking to get her/him to a lower level. But to actually keep her quiet, you need to understand how your voice assistant works.
First up, you'll need to go into Siri's settings to adjust how you want Siri to respond to you. I'll be frank here, there's no way to mute Siri in every situation, but there are great alternatives that you can use that I'll discuss later.
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In the "Voice Feedback" settings, you have three options to choose from, which I'll explain a little below. Maybe there will be an "Always Off" option one day, but for now, we'll have to make do with what we've got.
- Always On: This is the default option. Siri will vocally respond to you after each query, no matter if you use the Home or Side button shortcut, "Hey Siri," or have your ring switch set to silent. If you're here to silent Siri, do not choose this option.
- Control with Ring Switch: When you set your ring switch to silent, Siri will not vocally respond to you, but there are caveats. Siri will still beep and respond vocally if you initiate a discussion using "Hey Siri" or if you're connected to a Bluetooth device, headphones, or CarPlay. So, the only time Siri will remain quiet is if you use the Home or Side button shortcut to activate her/him. If you unmute your device, Siri will again vocally respond in every situation.
- Hands-Free Only: Just like the previous option, Siri will only beep and respond vocally if you initiate a discussion using "Hey Siri" or you're connected to a Bluetooth device, headphones, or CarPlay. The only difference here is that you don't have to remember to set your ring switch to silent.
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As you've probably noticed, there aren't really any great options for keeping Siri silent on your iPhone. The two not-always-on options listed above are virtually identical, only one requires you to set it manually each time using the ring switch while the other is automatic.
So what's the answer to total silence, like when you're using "Hey Siri" but don't want voice feedback? Turn your volume down.
This is a really bad answer, I know, but if you're using "Hey Siri" and don't want to hear her/him respond, this is what you're going to have to do. Use the volume down button on the side of your iPhone to turn the volume down as far as you can, and you'll barely hear her/him at all.
In all of the above scenarios, whether you're initiating Siri with "Hey Siri" or the Home or Side button shortcut, the results are pretty much the same — you have to speak out loud and there's no way to keep Siri 100% completely quiet.
However, there's a setting in iOS 11 and iOS 12 that lets you type to Siri instead of talk to her/him. With "Type to Siri" enabled, Siri will only ever beep or respond vocally when you use "Hey Siri." You'll have to use your keyboard to ask questions or give commands, but if you're in a library or tense meeting, this will be the absolute best option, since neither of you will be heard.
If you're connected to headphones, a Bluetooth device, or CarPlay, Siri will remain silent when you type to her/him. Pretty awesome, right? Type to Siri will replace your current Home or Side button shortcut, so keep that in mind. (See our full guide on enabling Type to Siri.)
Know of any other tricks to keep Siri silent on your iPhone? We're all ears. Seriously.