How to invoke a Siri listening session on Apple Watch without using the “Hey Siri” command


Invoking a Siri listening session on Apple Watch used to require an utterance of the familiar “Hey Siri” command, a press of the Digital Crown button found on the right side of the wearable or a tap on a watch face complication. With watchOS 5, Apple customers are also permitted to converse with the digital assistant by raising their wrist and speaking into the device.

As mentioned during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address in June, this is one of the new Apple Watch features in watchOS 5 and they’re calling it “Raise to Speak”.

Raise to Speak prerequisites

Talking to Siri without having to use the “Hey Siri” command requires:

  • Apple Watch with watchOS 5 or later
  • Paired iPhone with iOS 12 or later
  • Network connectivity

Raise to Speak first appeared in watchOS 5 beta 3. It doesn’t work on beta 1 or beta 2.

watchOS 5 is available for all Apple Watch models except for the original model. Apple Watch Series 0 owners must upgrade to a newer model in order to use this feature.

TUTORIAL: How to type to Siri instead of talking

Apple is gradually enabling Raise to Speak by making server-side changes. Check back in a few days if it’s not present in the Settings app. Some Reddit users have reported various hiccups with Raise to Speak, like the feature not working at all despite it being enabled.

How to use Siri on Apple Watch without “Hey Siri”

Here’s how to see if Raise to Speak is available to you, and how to toggle it on:

1) Open Settings on your Apple Watch.

2) Tap General.

3) Tap Siri.

4) Slide the switch labeled Raise to Speak to the ON position.

If you don’t see the toggle or you cannot use Raise to Speak despite the feature being toggled on, it either hans’t rolled out to you or it has but Apple hasn’t enabled it on its end yet. If that’s the case, check back a couple of days later.

I recommend double-checking that the option Wake Screen on Wrist Raise has been enabled in tvOS Settings → General → Wake Screen or through the companion Watch app.

TIP: Disabling Siri voice feedback when your iPhone is on silent

Your Apple Watch is able to detect that you’re talking to Siri and not your friend or anyone else by using built-in motion sensors to register if your wrist is up to your face. For those wondering, yes, your watch needs to be fairly close to your face for the device to determine that you’re actually talking to Siri.

TUTORIAL: How to disable “Hey Siri” on HomePod

If you own a Series 3 watch model or newer, Siri can also talk to you via the built-in speaker. You can adjust Siri voice feedback options on your Apple Watch Series 3 by venturing into Settings → General → Siri and use the options underneath the Voice Feedback heading:

  • Always On—Siri will always speak out her responses, even when the watch is in silent mode.
  • Control With Silent Mode—Siri will silence all audio feedback when you set the watch to silent. Siri will continue to talk to you when the watch is connected to Bluetooth headphones.
  • Headphones Only—Siri voice feedback is limited to Bluetooth headphones.

Does Siri on HomePod tend to respond to the “Hey Siri” command issued through your wrist?

If so, I suggest toggling “Hey Siri” off in watchOS Settings. Doing so prevents Apple Watch from erroneously responding to the “Hey Siri” wake-up phrase, but you still retain the super-useful Raise to Speak feature.

Use cases

Raise to Speak lets you use Siri on Apple Watch in a truly hands-free fashion.

No longer do you have to speak the “Hey Siri” hot word or press that Digital Crown button to invoke a Siri listening session on your wrist. With Raise to Speak, you can start a turn-by-turn navigation session or respond to a message whilst riding a bike.

TUTORIAL: How to control AirPlay 2 multi-room audio with Siri on HomePod

As an example, if you’re riding a bike and have your AirPods on, you can ask Siri to initiate a phone call by bringing the watch close to your mouth and saying “Call Dad”. Or, if lunch is on the table but you’re running late, tell Siri to “send a message to Mom saying I’ll be late, 15 minutes“without having to prefix each and every Siri command with “Hey Siri”

Raise to Speak is currently a hit-and-miss.

That being said, we fully expect it to be thoroughly tested and improved in subsequent betas as Apple works out the remaining kinks—especially as millions of people start using it, helping improve Apple’s underlying machine learning model.

Need help? Ask iDB!

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