Siri Couldn't Find The Beatles (But Now She Can)

Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves
Episode 130

I was really starting to like Apple Music. I had none of the metadata scrambling I’ve heard about and was just starting to fall in love with the new, human-curated playlists that seem to read my mind. Then I encountered my first (and so far, only) problem...

I ask Siri to play music by The Beatles all the time. She used to respond by playing one of the 467 Beatles tunes in my iTunes library. But when I tried it last week, Siri said the strangest thing: “Sorry, I can’t find that.” I tried saying, “Play songs by the Beatles,” and even, “Play music by the Beatles from my iTunes library,” but Siri kept insisting she couldn’t find that, even though I could clearly see 467 Beatles songs in my iTunes library.

I was bummed; this always worked before.

I wasn’t happy so I posted this image on Facebook and found that most of my friends weren’t experiencing this issue, but a few were... 

One friend suggested I create a playlist called “Beatles” and that kind of worked. “Play the playlist ‘Beatles’” worked as expected, but "Play music by the Beatles" and “Play songs by the Beatles” still failed.

Another friend suggested requesting a specific Beatles song. Saying, “Play Helter Skelter” or “Play All My Loving,” worked as expected. But if I added the words, “by the Beatles,” as in “Play Helter Skelter by the Beatles,” Siri once again couldn’t find the song (which she had found moments before).

I tried asking for music by other bands including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and even Prince, whose stuff isn’t available for streaming but is in my library. All of them worked. 

I examined the Beatles songs' metadata endlessly, restarted my phone way too many times, and force-quit the Music app more times than I've ever force-quit an app, none of which helped a bit.

I even tried switching Siri’s voice from male to female, just in case. But, of course, that didn't help either.

After a couple of days and more than 40 comments on Facebook, I had yet to find a fix, so I did what any Mac Observer columnist would do in that situation: I went on The Mac Observer Daily Observations Podcast (aka TDO) and whined about how Siri must hate me (or the Beatles). And that turned out to be a fabulous idea, 'cause within a few hours someone who heard me ranting suggested a simple fix I hadn't thought of. Though it sounded kind of wacky, I was out of options and anything was better than having to nuke and pave my iPhone yet again.  And it worked like a charm. So, if Siri can’t find the Beatles on your iPhone, here’s what to do:

  1. Disable Siri by tapping Settings > General > Siri and sliding the Siri switch to Off.
  2. Disable Dictation by tapping General > Keyboard and sliding the Enable Dictation switch to Off.
  3. Re-enable both Siri and Dictation.
  4. Wait two hours before asking Siri to find the Beatles again.  

I know it sounds like balderdash. As Bryan Chaffin so eloquently put it, “That shouldn’t change anything.”

But it changed something. I suspect it cleared out a cache or killed a plist or something else that was causing the issue. Whatever it did, Siri finds the Beatles on my iPhone just like she used to. And I’m once again growing fonder of Apple Music every day. 

And that's all he wrote...