Apple has actual people listening in on Siri recordings. Luckily, a security researcher has come up with a method to stop it.
Earlier this week, The Guardian reported that Apple contractors do listen to user interactions with Siri to improve accuracy. And although those interactions are anonymized and make up only a small percentage of all Siri requests, Apple’s contractors can sometimes hear extremely private situations or sensitive data.
Now, security researcher Jan Kaiser has created an iOS configuration profile that puts an end to Siri requests being sent to the server.
Here’s how to get it (or make your own).
Download This Profile
For those who aren’t particularly tech-savvy, Kaiser has created a mobile configuration profile for iOS that disables server-side logging of Siri commands.
Essentially, what this means is that Apple won’t be able to record or listen to user interactions with Siri.
PSA: This method requires installing a configuration profile from a third-party source, but we have an alternative below in the next section.
- Go to Kaiser’s GitHub page for the “Prevent server-side logging of Siri commands” profile on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap on the Raw view.
- Tap Allow to download the profile to your device.
- You can finish installing it by going to Settings, tapping on Profile Downloaded and tapping Install in the upper-right corner.
Make One Yourself
If you’re concerned about downloading random configuration profiles to your device, we don’t blame you. They’ve definitely can be and have been used for sketchy purposes.
Luckily, you can create a configuration profile that disables server-side logging of Siri recordings yourself. That way, you can be absolutely sure of the profile’s security.
This method requires the use of Apple’s Configurator app, which is only available for Mac computers from the App Store.
- Download the Configurator app from the Mac App Store and open it.
- Click File in the top menu bar and click New Profile.
- Go through the profile setup steps in General.
- Once you’re done with that, click Restrictions.
- Find the checkmark next to Allow server-side logging of Siri commands.
- Once you’re done, click File > Save. It’ll be saved as a .mobileconfig file.
At this point, the easiest way to install the profile onto your iOS device is to email it as an attachment to yourself. Just tap on the email attachment on your iOS device to install it.
Siri Privacy in Context
While it’s been causing a stir in the Apple blogosphere, there wasn’t necessarily anything new in The Guardian’s report.
Apple has always been transparent with the fact that it manually reviews a small number of Siri requests to improve the digital assistant.
On the other hand, there are certainly ways that Apple could improve the privacy of Siri — particularly since it bills itself as a privacy-focused company.
For one, the ability to listen to and delete interactions with Siri would be a good start (Google and Amazon already allow similar functionality for Google Assistant and Alexa).
Kaiser also notes that Apple should make it easier for users to disable server-side logging of Siri requests, and encourages users to let Apple know using the feedback form.