In iOS 15, Apple has focused on improving the Siri experience, including on-device processing and offline support.
With speech recognition happening on your iPhone or iPad, rather than being sent off to Apple's servers, Siri should be much faster to respond. You can now perform some actions without the need for an internet connection, too. Here's everything you can do with Siri on-device in iOS 15.
On-device Siri in iOS 15: How does it work?
Though it might seem straightforward, understanding your voice command and translating it into an action on your iPhone or iPad requires a lot of processing. Before iOS 15, your Siri commands would be sent off to Apple, where its powerful servers could figure out what you want and relay that back to your device.
Over the years, this process has gotten much quicker, but it still required an internet connection for Siri to function at all — even if you just wanted to set a timer or toggle a setting on your device. On-device Siri processing in iOS 15 sets out to fix this.
Instead of Siri commands getting processed on Apple's servers, the audio of your requests is now processed entirely on your iPhone or iPad. It can occur this way now due to the power of Apple's Neural Engine, which offers the same level of speech recognition as Apple's servers without the need to send your request off-device via the internet.
Since your audio doesn't have to be processed elsewhere, the process should be much quicker and means you don't need an internet connection for select requests.
Apple states that Siri's on-device speech recognition and understanding improve over time as you use your device, and it learns the contacts you interact with most, words that you use, and topics you read about. This personalization remains private on your device.
On-device processing is available on newer Apple hardware that runs an A12 Bionic chip or newer. The complete list of compatible devices is available below.
On-device Siri in iOS 15: Offline support
Since your Siri requests aren't shuttled over the internet, Siri can now process many types of requests offline.
Here's the official list of supported Offline Siri features according to Apple:
- Timers & Alarms
- App Launch
- Control Audio Playback
Most of these are pretty self-explanatory, though Settings is a fairly broad term. In our testing, we've found offline Siri works for toggling between dark and light modes, turning Lower Power mode on or off, setting Night Shift on or off, turning Airplane mode off, and various accessibility settings.
If you don't have a Wi-Fi or cellular signal and make a request of Siri that requires an internet connection, you'll be greeted by a message stating, "To do that, you'll need to be online."
On-device Siri in iOS 15: Compatible devices
As mentioned above, any iPhone or iPad featuring an A12 Bionic chip or newer will support on-device Siri with the release of iOS 15. That's most of the latest iPhone and iPad models. If you want to check if your device is compatible, take a look at the below lists.
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 3rd generation)
- iPad Pro (11-inch, 1st generation)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad (8th generation)
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 4th generation)
- iPad Pro (11-inch, 2nd generation)
- iPad Air (4th generation)
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 5th generation)
- iPad Pro (11-inch, 3rd generation)
- iPad (9th generation)
- iPad mini (6th generation)
Still have questions about on-device Siri processing and offline support? Hit up the comments!
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Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.
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