Siri privacy bug lets it read out hidden message content on a locked Apple iPhone

Apple has reponded to the findings of the bug and said that it was "aware" of it and that a fix was on its way.

A newly uncovered bug with Apple's voice assistant Siri reveals that anyone can access your hidden message notifications on a locked iPhone by simply asking Siri to read them aloud.

Representational image of Siri.

Representational image of Siri.

Apple users on iOS 11 can set message notifications to be hidden on the lock screen, where the user is alerted that a notification from an app has arrived, but its contents are not revealed unless the device is unlocked. The privacy bug uncovered by a Brazilian publication Mac Magazine finds that Siri is able to read the content of most messages even though the content itself is not visible on the lock screen.

The bug could essentially allow anyone to go through your hidden messages without you even unlocking the device. There is a catch here though. According to a report by 9To5Mac, the bug here applies only to third-party applications such WhatsApp, Messenger and Slack but not to Apple's own Messages app where Siri reads out content only once the phone is unlocked.

The report also found that the bug exists in both iOS 11.2.6 which is currently the latest stable version and the beta of iOS 11.3 which is due to release in Spring 2018.

As per a report in Mashable, Apple has responded to the findings and said that it was "aware" of the bug and that a fix was on its way. Apple in the statement said,"We are aware of the issue and it will be addressed in an upcoming software update."

The company is yet to provide a timeline for the update, but users in the meantime can go ahead and disable Siri when the phone is locked to ensure that hidden notifications remain private.

In order to disable Siri on the lock screen, head to Settings > Siri & Search > Allow Siri When Locked. Unselect this toggle and Siri won't be able to read out messages when the phone is locked.

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