Over the years, Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, has become an integral part of iOS (as well as other Apple operating systems, as it’s also available for the Mac and Apple Watch).
Siri lets you open apps, create calendar reminders and events, ask questions, and more using just your voice, without ever touching a screen or keyboard.
But can you still use Siri when you’re offline? Yes you can, but with limitations. In this article, we investigate how far Siri’s intelligence reaches when Wi-Fi or mobile data is not available.
Which iPhones let you use Siri offline?
For virtually its entire existence, Siri has connected to Apple servers to convert your (voice) commands into actions that it can understand and complete. So when you say “Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?” the question is quickly transmitted to servers and processed, before the answer is sent back to your iPhone, where Siri reads it.
But in iOS 15, which came to iPhones in late 2021, Apple moved voice recognition capabilities from its servers to your phone, making the service more secure and private while also making certain tasks possible when you are not connected to the internet.
In other words, if your iPhone is compatible with the latest version of iOS, this is another great reason to update to iOS 15. But the question is whether it is.
Due to the demands of voice recognition, Apple has limited the iPhones that can work with Siri offline in iOS 15 to those with the A12 Bionic processor or higher.
This is the list of current iPhones that support this feature:
- iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max
You can also use this feature on these iPads:
- iPad mini (5th generation or later)
- iPad Air (3rd generation or later)
- iPad (8th generation or later)
- iPad Pro 11″ (1st generation or later)
- iPad Pro 12.9″ (3rd generation or later)
At the time of this writing, the ability to use Siri offline is not available on Apple Watch or macOS Monterey.
You’ll also need to make sure the “Hey Siri” feature is turned on.
What can Siri do offline?
Note that in iOS 15, only the voice recognition part of Siri is stored on your iPhone. There are still many command processing and question answering functions on the server.
For this reason, if you’re not connected to the Internet, Siri won’t be able to offer all the features you’re used to. For example, if you ask general questions like “What is the capital of Switzerland?” or “Will it rain today?”, you’ll get an error message saying that Siri needs to be connected to the Internet to reply.
In fact, you’ll be surprised how many tasks Siri can’t reach when you’re offline.
For example, you can launch multiple apps through Siri, such as Calendar, but you’re not allowed to create new entries in that app. The same goes for Notes: you can create a new note, but you’ll need to tap the screen to bring up the keyboard, then tap the microphone button to start dictating.
So far, we’ve found that you can perform the following tasks with Siri offline:
- open apps
- Create new alarms
- Create timers (but strangely not using the stopwatch)
- Control some system functions (such as enable/disable low power mode, flashlight, adjust screen brightness)
- Play tracks in the last music/podcast app used, and skip to the next or previous track
- Adjust volume levels
- Make calls
- Create and send messages
What limitations does Siri have when you are offline?
As you can see from the list above, Siri can do some tasks offline, but its capabilities are quite limited. Although you can open apps, you can’t really do anything within them through voice controls alone.
Many useful applications such as Reminders, Calendar, Maps and the like cannot create new entries. Music and podcasts cannot be accessed beyond the main screen and downloaded albums/episodes cannot be selected.
Of course, any action that requires Internet access will be off limits, but that’s a given.
The addition of offline voice control is a useful feature, but Siri is still better when connected to the Internet. To see what a fully functioning Apple voice assistant can do, read How to use Siri on iPhone or iPad and How to use Siri on Mac.