iOS 13.2 update: new iPhone software lets Apple employees listen to your conversations

Despite apologising in August and suspending the practice, Apple is again using human employees to review audio captured by virtual assistant Siri, rather than using machines.

By Rhona Shennan
Thursday, 31st October 2019, 4:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st October 2019, 4:06 pm

This is what you need to know about the latest iOS update, how Apple employees are getting access your audio and how to opt out.

iOS 13.2 update

The new update comes with some new features for iPhone users, but it also brings back the practice of Apple allowing human workers to listen to your Siri interactions.

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Have you updated your iPhone? (Photo: Shutterstock)

The use of humans listening to audio recording was troubling as it increased the chances of an employee or contractor leaking leaking details of information being shared, including sensitive conversations.

While the practice was suspended earlier in the year, Apple is now giving users notice that the process has begun again when installing the new update. However, users can now opt out of having their audio stored and reviewed.

How to opt out

When installing the iOS 13.2 update, iPhone owners can choose ‘not now’ to decline audio storage and review.

Alternatively, users can turn this option off in the settings at a later point.

To do this in the settings, you’ll need to:

- Go to ‘Settings’

- From there, open ‘Privacy’ then ‘Analytics and Improvements’

- Click off the button next to ‘Improve Siri & Dictation’

If you want to delete any recording Apple might have uploaded to its servers, you’ll need to:

- Go to ‘Settings’

- From there, open ‘Siri & Search’

- Next, open ‘Siri & Dictation History’

- Lastly, press the red button that say ‘Delete Siri & Dictation History’, then press confirm when it asks you again

In the small print under ‘Delete Siri & Dictation History’, however, it states that any data sampled by Apple “to help improve Siri and Dictation is no longer associated with this iPhone and will not be deleted” - that may also include any data Apple collected before allowing users to opt out of this process.