Apple still hasn’t solved the problem with Siri, which has turned off call, email and voicemail features used by visually impaired and blind users

With the launch of iOS 15, Apple changed Siri functionality and removed features that relied heavily on visually impaired and blind iPhone users. The “Siri” commands that provide details about phone calls, voicemail, and emails no longer work, and Apple has yet to resolve the issue.

We first shared details about this issue in September, shortly after the launch of ‌iOS 15‌. Before launching the update, visually impaired users could ask Siri to play voicemail, check call history, check recent calls, and more, all commands that no longer work. Some of the removed features:

  • Do I have voicemail?
  • Play my voicemail messages
  • Check my call history
  • Check out my recent calls
  • who called me
  • Send an email
  • Send an email to [person]

We have received constant complaints from “iPhone” users who lack this key feature of “Siri”, or their relatives who are trying to help them cope with the changes. The removal of “Siri” features has also been documented on AppleVis forums for blind and partially sighted users of Apple products, and complaints have continued to pile up in Apple’s support communities. One user explains the problem:

Siri “cannot” read missed calls or call the last missed call at once. I use this feature every day due to visual impairment and since this morning Siri has answered with “I can’t help it” when looking for missed calls, last missed call, etc. I rely heavily on this function and suddenly Siri is not able to do it. please can anyone help. no settings have been changed and other iphones also have the same problem.

Asking Syria to provide details about recent phone calls or voicemail now results in the following response: “I can’t help with that, but you can ask me to open the Phone app.” Questions about the e-mail result in a similar answer that “Siri” can’t help.

MacRumors Reader Joshua contacted us and explained that this change makes ‌iPhone‌ almost unusable for his mother, and he is frustrated by Apple’s lack of help.

For many completely blind people (like my blind mom) this makes their phone almost unusable because I can’t ask Siri who called, and I can’t ask Siri if they have voicemail. (Their official “workaround” for voicemail is, in fact, calling the old mobile operator’s voicemail number to check your voicemail over the phone.)

Joshua contacted Accessibility Support and did not receive a response to the call to add him to the official engineering report as a “affected user” and fill out the Feedback Assistant, but said he had previously sent radar and received no response. Other users in Apple’s support communities are becoming increasingly upset about Apple. From Maboc:

I don’t understand how Apple can’t solve this so far. Taking away critical functionality for people with disabilities, the inability for visually impaired people to now check for missed calls and messages via Siri and no response or action does not speak well for this support community or Apple itself. We bought a new iPhone 13 for my older, visually impaired mother on the recommendation of the School for the Blind. Apple is a leader in accessibility features. Can’t anyone offer a time frame for repairs? HELLO APPLE ??? !!! ???

We asked Apple when there could be a repair or if the removal of “Siri” functionality was intentional back in September, but we never got an answer. Apple’s lack of effort to address this issue for blind and partially sighted users is disappointing from a company that is usually at the forefront of accessibility.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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