The real reason why you cannot turn off Voice Control

Is your iPhone launching Voice Control randomly? For the last weeks, this blue screen is interrupting whatever I’m doing without any apparent reason. Why is this happening? After some quick research, I discover that when you disable Siri and press the Home Button for more than one second you get Voice Control. That’s why it appears. This is the reason why it keeps popping up. In my case, I also listen to music and podcasts using headphones with faulty remote controls, which happen to trigger Voice Control every now and then. This gets annoying. Very annoying.

After some friends asked me about this I started realising that it’s not only me summoning Apple’s semi-retired voice assistant by accident. Let’s Google this. I never put any time into solving it, but when I finally did, I discover a bunch of sites with the same unanswered question and workarounds that are quite concerning. How do you turn off Voice Control? You turn off Voice Control by turning on Siri.

Apple has been working on Siri for a while and I hear it’s getting better. That’s great. I have my reasons to disable Voice Control and Siri.

  • Voice Control plays a sound when the device is on silent mode. This has lead to very embarrassing situations.
  • Siri doesn’t recognise my accent and adds a microphone key on my keyboard.
  • I don’t want to summon a voice assistant when I’m unlocking my phone.

With the introduction of iOS 10 the familiar ‘swipe to unlock’ gesture is gone and instead you need to ‘Press Home to unlock’. With faster Touch ID sensors people wouldn’t have time to see the notifications on the lock screen, so this adds a stop in-between. Rest your finger on the Home Button to see your notifications and widgets and press it to unlock the device. If you press if too long, Voice Control or Siri will come to greet you.

If this new behaviour annoys you there is a way to restore it to something similar to the way it used to be. I don’t really use the lock screen for anything and just want to unlock my iPhone when I rest my finger on the Home Button. There are some situations when you still have to press to unlock and out of practice, you will trigger Voice Control or Siri pressing too long.

Collateral damage

In late 2016 Apple, Amazon and Google have taken their fight to become the win the voice assistant battle to a new level. I love competition. Even if I’m slightly worried about a machine understanding my non-native speaker accent, this field really interests me and I’m willing to try things. Try things. Not having companies to try things on me.

Apple keeps insisting in enabling Siri on my devices damaging using experience. How can you have one of the most used interactions with your phone to trigger a voice assistant by accident when you have made clear you don’t want a voice assistant. Madness.