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While iOS 15 may be a massive upgrade in many ways, there’s at least one area in which Apple is actually paring back some features, with some of Siri’s capabilities slated to disappear when this next major iOS release arrives in the fall.
To be fair, all these features concern Siri’s integration with third-party apps, using the framework known as “SiriKit,” and it’s likely Apple is simply trimming some fat in iOS 15 by scrapping aspects of Siri that are rarely used, if at all.
Apple quietly outlined the changes in a developer support document, listing a total of 21 SiriKit commands that will be deprecated in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8 this fall.
The commands cover a total of seven “SiriKit Intent Domains” — or specific areas of integration — including CarPlay, Lists and Notes, Payments, Photos, Visual Codes, VoIP Calling, and Ride Booking.
No More Asking Siri for an Uber Ride
While Apple doesn’t offer any explanation for the removal of support for these domains, it’s fairly easy to see how some of them have already been deprecated in practical terms.
For example, the CarPlay domain was intended to allow Siri commands to support manufacturer-specific in-car features like adjusting climate settings, setting radio stations, and even saving your seat settings. However, no carmakers ever took advantage of these, and Apple has probably realized that this isn’t going to change.
In fact, Siri’s Ride Booking Intents may have been the only ones that were particularly well known, since Apple promoted these during the debut of iOS 10 back in 2016. You could ask Siri to request a ride, get the status of your active ride, cancel a ride, or even send feedback on a recent trip.
While the feature seemed like a cool idea when Apple demoed it, it’s unclear how many people actually used Siri for this. Since many ride-hailing apps still required users to interact with their iPhone in some way to avoid mistakes like sending an Uber or Lyft to the wrong location, it was generally much simpler to just pull out your device in the first place.
In the case of the Ride Hailing Intents, Apple has made it clear that it’s only the Siri aspect that’s being deprecated. You’ll still be able to hail a ride within Apple Maps, or build Shortcut workflows for it. On-screen Siri Suggestions will also still be offered for your favourite ride-sharing services as well.
Similarly, Payment Intents always seemed to be a bit of a gimmick that never become widely adopted by third-party developers, and therefore never got much uptake from users. Square Cash was one of Apple’s debut partners back in 2016, and a couple of banks even got on board, but it still required on-device interaction to confirm things and make sure that no mistakes were made — like sending large sums of money to the wrong person.
Here’s the full list of the SiriKit features that are slated for the chopping block in iOS 15:
- CarPlay: Set Audio Source in Car, Set Climate Settings in Car, Set Defroster Settings in Car, Set Seat Settings in Car, Save Profile in Car, Set Radio Station.
- Lists and Notes: Append to Note, Create Task List, Delete a Task.
- Payments: Pay a Bill, Search for Bills, Transfer Money (between accounts).
- Photos: Search for Photos, Start Photo Playback.
- Visual Codes: Get Visual Code.
- Ride Booking: Request a Ride, Get the Ride Status, Cancel Ride, Send Ride Feedback.
To be clear, these are only being deprecated for third-party apps. Siri will continue to support these capabilities in first-party apps, where applicable.
For instance, you’ll still be able to ask Siri to search for photos in Apple’s own Photos app. There weren’t a lot of third-party photo library apps that supported Siri’s photo search anyway — the feature was mostly implemented in social and fashion apps like Pinterest, Vogue Runway, Looklive, The Roll, and Pikazo.
Similarly, sending money with Apple Pay (via Messages) will continue to work just fine (as long as you’re in the US), but you won’t be able to do this using third-party apps like Venmo, Square Cash, or PayPal. It remains to be seen whether this decision, in particular, will raise the ire of antitrust regulators, since it could be viewed as forcing users into Apple’s own payment system. This will likely hinge on how many folks actually use Siri to send money — or even know that they can.
Notably, all of these intents are still functional in the latest iOS 15 beta (developer beta 5 / public beta 4 as of this writing), however Apple has said that they’ll stop working “starting with the customer release of iOS 15” this fall. After that time, if a user makes a request that uses one of these features, Siri will simply respond that it’s not supported.