While Siri was the first smart digital assistant to come to the smartphone, it certainly isn’t the best. While it has a lot of strengths, Siri needs to catch up to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in other categories. However, unlike other smart digital assistants, Siri has an incredibly useful feature that can’t be matched without the tight Apple integration.
Thanks to Apple’s neural engine, Siri can work offline and do many useful things like opening apps, setting alarms, or reading messages. The neural engine was added to Apple’s SoCs with the launch of the Apple A11 Bionic chip and Siri takes advantage of the Deep Neural Network to work offline.
Let’s check out how Siri works offline and what’s the best way of using Siri without an internet connection.
With the help of the Deep Neural Network enabled by Apple silicon’s neural engine, Siri can understand and process your voice and respond to it intelligently. Almost all iPhones and iPads that have been released since 2017 come with A11 or higher Bionic chips and all of them have a neural engine.
A neural engine is made up of a bunch of specialized cores that work as an NPU(Neural Processing Unit) to accelerate machine learning tasks and AI operations. While the first neural engine in A11 had just two neural engine cores and could do around 600 billion operations per second, it has come a long way. The most powerful Apple silicon, the M1 Ultra has 32 neural engine cores and can do a staggering 22 trillion operations per second.
These cores allow Siri to work smoothly for tasks that don’t require fetching some data from the internet. Those cores also allow for the smooth operation of Face ID, Animoji, and other such tasks. While the neural engine was first only used by Apple services and apps, Apple has released CoreML, their own framework for machine learning that can be used by third parties for using the neural engine for their apps.
Devices that support offline Siri
As mentioned above, Siri only works offline on devices that have a neural engine. Fortunately, all Apple SoCs that have been released after 2017 have a neural engine, and devices with those SoCs can use Siri even when you’re offline. If you’ve bought an Apple device that has been released within the last 5 years, it should have neural engines and support offline Siri.
Here’s a list of devices that support Siri even without an Internet connection:
|Apple Silicon||Apple Device|
|A11 Bionic||iPhones – 8, 8 Plus and X|
|A12 Bionic||iPhones – XS, XS Max, XRiPads – 8th Gen(2020), Air 3rd Gen(2019), Mini 5th Gen(2019)|
|A12X Bionic||iPads – Pro 11-inch 1st Gen(2018), Pro 12.9-inch 3rd Gen(2018)|
|A12Z Bionic||iPads – Pro 11-inch 2nd Gen(2020), Pro 12.9-inch 4th Gen(2020)|
|A13 Bionic||iPhones – SE 2nd Gen(2020), 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro MaxiPads – 9th Gen(2021)|
|A14 Bionic||iPhones – 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro MaxiPads – Air(2020)|
|M1||MacBooks – Air(2020)iMacs – 24-inch(2020)iPads – Pro 11-inch 3rd Gen(2021), Pro 12.9-inch 5th Gen(2021), Air 5th Gen(2022)|
|A15 Bionic||iPhones – SE 3rd Gen(2022), 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, 13 Pro MaxiPads – Mini 6th Gen(2021)|
|M1 Pro/Max||MacBooks – Pro 14-inch, Pro 16-inch, Mac Studio|
|M1 Ultra||Mac Studio|
|M2||MacBooks – Air(2022), Pro 13-inch(2022)|
Tasks to do with Offline Siri
Despite the advanced machine learning and AI operation capabilities of the neural engine, Siri is still very limited without an internet connection. Most tasks that require data to be streamed to and from the internet would not work. That means Siri can’t create new entries on basic apps like Calendar, Reminders, and Maps since they need to be connected to iCloud and backed up. With that said, let’s check out the things you can do with Siri without an internet connection.
Turn Bluetooth and WiFi On or Off
Even when you aren’t online, Siri can turn Bluetooth and WiFi on or off. What’s the use of turning on Bluetooth and WiFi when your WiFi router doesn’t have an internet connection? Well, I need to be on the same WiFi network as my Macbook for sharing files and using those sweet Apple ecosystem-exclusive features. Moreover, I can connect to my AirPods for any Bluetooth speaker to listen to some music as I’m unable to scroll through my social media feed.
I also use Siri to launch apps even when I’m offline. However, it’s important to note that you may not be able to use Siri to control many in-app features while you’re offline. Moreover, it’s pointless to use Siri to open an app like Youtube that requires an internet connection for basic functionality.
You can also use Siri to read messages while you’re offline. Even when my WiFi router doesn’t have an internet connection and I don’t have a mobile data plan, I can still send and receive regular old-school text messages(not iMessage since it requires an active internet connection). I use Siri to read and send regular texts when there’s no internet.
Set timers and alarms
Even when Siri is offline, it can set alarms and timers without skipping a beat. This really helps out when I’m camping in the middle of nowhere and there’s no cellular network for mobile data.
While Siri is very limited without an active internet connection, I like the fact that it still works and becomes better at its job in some cases. For instance, there’s more privacy when Siri is offline and some tasks are performed faster.
Siri doesn’t have to wait for a response from a slow server and does a snappy job. I hope you try out Siri when you’re offline. While it can do limited tasks in that state, those tasks are done at the fastest speed I’ve ever experienced.