iOS 11 introduced a feature which allows you to hide your message notifications on your lockscreen. Which means you can see that you have received a new message, but the content is not shown until you unlock the device. But the new update iOS 11.3 contains a bug in which Siri reads the content of your messages from the lockscreen, even if it is hidden. It is a severe privacy issue.
The Details of This Bug in iOS 11.3
The feature of hiding content of notifications on the lockscreen was first introduced on iPhone X. It gained a lot of popularity because it allows you to see that you have received, let’s say a WhatsApp message, but no one can see the content of the message until the iPhone X scans your face and identify you as the owner of the device.
The feature worked great to protect the privacy of users until the release of iOS 11.3 update. Many users have discovered the bug in this new update. The bug is, Siri can read most hidden messages even if they are hidden on your lockscreen.
So basically anyone who doesn’t have the passcode can easily access the hidden message notification from your device by using Siri. This bug has no effect on the official Messages app by Apple. However, many third party apps such as Telegram, Skype, and WhatsApp are vulnerable to this issue.
1 Threat Model
The bug has directly affected numerous users because notifications on the latest iPhone X are by default set to be hidden. This bug is definitely a major one as it can lead to privacy leak. No one wants their private messages to be revealed to others. Only a minority of individuals may not have a problem with this.
This isn’t the first time that Siri has been used to access private information as it has been done in the past; it has been used to access camera roll and contact list. As this bug doesn’t have any effect on messages from the official Messages app, Apple only needs to implement the same security for third-party apps too.
2 Apple’s Acknowledgement of the Siri Bug
Apple has confirmed the iOS 11.3 Siri bug and has stated that the company is aware of the issues and that users can expect it to be fixed in an upcoming software update. The release date of the new update is currently unknown. The issue may be fixed in the next beta build or in the final stable build of iOS 11.3.
3 Testing the Siri Bug
If you have installed the latest beta version of iOS 11.3 in your iPhone and want to test this Siri bug, then navigate to Settings > Notifications > [your preferred messaging app] > Show Previews, and then select the “When Unlocked” option. Siri will read notifications from the lockscreen after this.
Fix: Disable Spoken Notifications on Your iPhone
If you are worried about your privacy and don’t want to wait for the next update in order to fix this issue, then there is a way to control the misuse of this bug. Siri is able to perform the notification reading function via an accessibility feature called VoiceOver. So you simply need to disable it to protect your privacy. Follow these instructions:
Step 1. Open Settings in your iPhone.
Step 2. Navigate to General > Accessibility > VoiceOver.
Step 3. Now in this section, find and use the Always Speak Notifications button in order to disable the feature that Siri uses.
If you want to enable the spoken notifications, then simply use the Always Speak Notifications option again using the same steps and turn the option On.
Bonus Tip: Best Way Keep Your Private Data Safe
Apart from stopping Siri from reading your hidden message content, you can also permanently delete the messages and other sensitive data to prevent privacy leak. iMyFone Umate Pro will help you protect your privacy by scanning and permanently erasing your private messages and data. This iPhone data eraser offers many other features.
Following are some key features of iMyFone Umate Pro:
- Erase your private data such as contacts, messages, call history, browsing data, etc. permanently.
- Wipe sensitive data of third-party apps such as Viber, Kik, WeChat, WhatsApp, and 10+ more messaging apps.
- Permanently erase your deleted files so that no one can recover them via recovery software.
- Clean junk and temporary files quickly and boost your iDevice’s performance.
- Preview files before deletion.
- All iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices are supported.