Siri can read out hidden notifications on locked iOS 11 iPhones

Pauline Obrien
March 25, 2018

We confirmed Siri was able to read out loud hidden messages from third-party messaging apps Signal and WhatsApp on an iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus running the latest version of iOS (11.2.6).

Mac Magazine uncovered the unfortunate oversight, and 9to5Mac also reported on it. But a bug in the most recent iOS 11 software challenges the very nature of Apple's privacy. "Apple is aware of the issue and it will be addressed in an upcoming software update", Apple said.

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Except that MacMagazine tried simply asking Siri to read out notifications from the lockscreen, and she obliged for apps such as WhatsApp and Skype even with the Show Previews option set to "When unlocked". Without checking if it was the user issuing the command, Siri would begin to reel off all of the notifications aloud, including those designated as hidden. Do the same thing for the other apps that you don't want to send you notifications on the lock screen.

Another option is to turn off lock screen notifications to apps you think to carry sensitive information. But it looks like Siri can surpass this security layer quite easily. Until a fix has been released, we suppose users who are anxious about this can maybe try disabling Siri. This helped confirm that, strangely, iMessage and SMS were unaffected, whereas applications such as Facebook Messenger, Apple Mail and plenty more. With this setting enabled, lock screen notifications will remain hidden until a user authenticates with Face ID, Touch ID or passcode. Interestingly, Siri does ask you to unlock the iPhone X if you ask it to read the last email or last note.

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Thankfully there are some basic settings that can prevent Siri from reading out your personal messages without authentication, but it takes a toll at some of your convenience. Then select Previews and choose Never.

You can also control notifications for individual apps by tapping the app's name on the Settings → Notifications screen.

Siri privacy bug on iOS 11 compromises your hidden notifications
Apple says it will fix a bug that caused Siri to read out hidden lock screen notifications to anyone who asks. Interestingly, the bug does not work for Apple's native messaging app, meaning your iMessages are safe.

Siri just can't seem to figure out when to keep quiet.

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