Recent changes Siri removes call, email and voicemail features used by visually impaired and blind users

With the recent release of iOS 15, Apple seems to have made some changes to Siri functionality that have removed features relied on by visually impaired users and blind iPhone users.

Several Siri commands that provide details about phone calls, voicemail, and sending emails no longer seem to work. The following commands used to be functional, but have recently been removed.

  • 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]

In the last two weeks, we have received several emails from ‌iPhone‌ users who are missing this key feature of ‌Siri‌ or their relatives trying to help them navigate the changes. The removal of the “Siri” feature has also been documented on AppleVis forums for blind and partially sighted users of Apple products.

One of the people I support told me that he can no longer use Siri to send email from his iPhone 8 with iOS 14. I tried it on my iPhone SE with iOS 15.0 and Siri’s response was “sorry, can’t help After that, I had the same answer on my phone with iOS 12. If it’s a deliberate removal of features, it’s certainly a loss for some visually impaired users who consider it a convenient way to send short emails.

Prior to this latest iOS update, if Siri was asked to play voicemail, Siri would – now Siri just states that it can’t do so. Trying to find a job around because my dad who is completely blind relied heavily on this function.

My sister is blind and Siri would respond to voice commands, ie. She would read my text, call Barbara, answer questions about the weather and most importantly tell my sister who called her. As of today, Siri’s response is “I can’t help myself with that”. Has the system changed? Is there something on the iPhone that needs to be trained so Siri will help my sister find out who called her in the past?

Asking Siri to provide details about recent phone calls or voicemail results in the following response: “I can’t help you with this, but you can ask me to open the Phone app.” When asked by e-mail, a similar answer is being collected that “Siri” cannot help.

It is worth noting that it is still possible to ask Siri‌ to play the latest available voicemail or voicemail of a certain person, but Siri will not read the list of all available voicemails. The “Siri” commands seem to have disappeared when OSiOS 15 was released, but iOS 14 users are also no longer able to use them, so this is not a problem with “iOS 15”.

We asked Apple if this was an error or if there were alternative commands available to users, but after a few days of waiting for a response, we did not respond. A user on the AppleVisa forums talked to Apple support and was told that Apple is aware of the problem, so there is a possibility that this feature will be added again at some point.

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Naveen Kumar

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

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