iOS: How to Use Siri Hands Free From Your iPhone Lock Screen

It’s possible to use Siri hands free from your lock screen, but sometimes you might run into a bit of trouble like I did. Here’s what I learned about it, and how I solved my problem.


When I first got my AirPods, I was pleased at being able to use Siri just with a double tap of my finger. I like being able to listen to music while cooking dinner, and now I can leave my iPhone on my desk and change songs with my AirPods.

But recently, I noticed that Siri was acting different. When I tried to change music with my AirPods, I was forced to unlock my iPhone with my fingerprint first. It seemed weird when I didn’t have trouble before, but then I figured out the problem.

Use Siri hands free by enabling Notification Previews.


Here’s what happened. For a bit more privacy, I decided to hide notification previews on the lock screen. You can do this on iOS by going to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews. When you select “When Unlocked” you still get notifications, but the content is hidden until you unlock it. This is a great feature, and it prevents people from seeing your notifications when your iPhone is on the table.

But it’s also the reason why Siri stopped working. Even though I allowed Siri access on the lock screen, under Settings > Touch ID & Passcode, I still had to unlock the phone. And that’s because the notification previews interfered. I don’t know why this happens, but you can fix the problem by changing the notification previews to Always. This is turned on by default on iPhone X because of Face ID.

Hopefully in a future iOS update, Apple can allow both Siri access and hidden notification previews. It’s a trade-off we have to make, because it means anyone can use Siri if your phone is unlocked. But it makes it impossible to use Siri with AirPods. Privacy versus convenience, as usual.

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