In the last week, I’ve been contacted by several users about a bug in iOS 13 where activating a phone call via ‘Hey Siri’ forces it through the speakerphone – even if you have headphones connected. And the big-picture problem with this bug is it is not only frustrating but also potentially dangerous.
“I mainly use hey Siri in my car and it plays over my stereo Bluetooth for safety,” explains one user on Apple’s Communities Forum. “Now [a call] goes to speaker and I have to mess with it while driving which is VERY dangerous.” – source
“This is so dangerous and where I live you will get a substantial ticket and demerit points for even TOUCHING your phone while driving.” – source
“This ***** because I use it daily for my car’s Bluetooth. I had a kidney transplant and Drs and nurses call me every day.” – source
“Same issue. In addition, when I have my wired Apple headphones in and use Siri to make a call, the iPhone makes the call using the speaker. The bug is that I cannot simply tap the speaker button to move the call to my headphones. It does not work. The iPhone will not allow me to move the call to my headset. I have to physically disconnect my headset and then take the call off speaker and then plug my headset back in. Not a safe manoeuvre while driving.” – source
Users have also pointed out that the bug causes problems for blind iPhone owners. Furthermore, despite users reporting that Apple acknowledged the problem in tech support calls just days after iOS 13 launched (September 19), no fix has been issued in the rush of updates that followed. Given the bug’s potential to impact safe driving, this prioritisation is bizarre.
The good news is a partial workaround has been found (Assessibility > Touch > Call Audio Routing > Bluetooth Headset) but it only appears to work for a limited number of users and models. If you prompt Siri by holding the power button this will also work, but that involves your hands leaving the steering wheel and handling your phone while driving, which is an offence in many countries.
Considering all the other ongoing problems and bizarre mysteries in iOS 13 you could argue you didn’t need another reason to avoid upgrading your iPhone. But here it is. And that’s a crying shame considering all the good stuff Apple put in there.