Henrik Carlsson's Blog

The endless frustrations of using Siri

There’s a dearth in my podcast cue at the moment, so I’ve been relistening to some old podcasts. Currently I’m listening to Hypercritical #38: ”Virtually Spotless” and early on (Overcast link with timestamp) John and Dan talks about Siri which I assume had just been released when this episode was recorded.

Anyway, it’s interesting to listen to John’s concerns with a few years hindsight and realize that so many of his concerns are still valid. Siri can frustrate to no end. Even when ”she” correctly translates what I say into text the parsing fails me time and time again.

Here’s a recent example. My fiancé and me recently switched our grocery shopping list to a shared iCloud Reminders list. One of the supposed perks was that it would enable us to use Siri to add stuff to the list. The list in question is called ”Shopping list”.1

Me: ”Add bread to the shopping list.”
Siri: ”There doesn’t seem to be a list called the shopping list.”
Me: Frustratedly inputs the item manually instead.

After a few days or maybe a week or something, I had an idea:

Me: ”Add bread to shopping list.”
Siri: ”I’ve added it.”

Tried it a few more times and could confirm that shopping list is a known list and therefore work, however the shopping list does not work. How is such a basic thing not working?

And don’t get me started on how bad the iPhone is at picking up voice from any kind of distance other than right next to it.

My point is this, how can Siri still be this dumb and often so useless when it seems like Amazon’s Alexa is much more reliable to use? Apple has had years to fix this now but progress is so slow.


  1. Well, technically it’s called ”Handlingslista” which is the Swedish translation of Shopping list, and yes Siri ”works” in Swedish as well. 

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