Most folks refer to Siri as “she,” but that’s not always true. The original British English Siri, for example, was male-only up until iOS 7.1 added a female version. Likewise, you don’t have to stick with your local version of Apple’s comically-bad voice assistant. English speakers, for example, can choose between American, Australian, and British Siris, and also pick a male or female version of each, for six options.
So, if you’re a U.S. native who views the U.K. Standard English accent as quaint, cute, respectful, sexy, or reproachful, it’s easy to set your iPhone or iPad to adopt the new accent. Let’s see how to change Siri’s accent.
Does Siri’s accent affect Siri’s ability to recognize my voice
This is the number one question you might ask before switching to a new Siri accent. If you change Siri to speak Australian, does Siri then expect you to speak with an Australian accent? Most evidence points to “yes”.
According to Apple’s own support pages, Siri is trained to recognize local accents:
You can use Siri in any country or region, with any of the supported languages. Since Siri is designed to recognize accents and dialects of the supported countries or regions, Siri’s accuracy rate will be highest for native speakers.
But, is this based on country or region, or on the accent you choose, because those are two different settings. You can have your iPhone set to the U.S. region, and to use U.S. English, but tell Siri that you prefer it to speak in a U.K. English accent. Which of these affect the recognition?
On the Apple Stack Exchange, user Redandwhite answered this question with their own experience, way back in Siri’s early days:
In my experience with Siri, the initial language setting of Siri does help a lot to help it discover your accent more quickly, but it’s not the only measure it uses. It will base its understanding of your accent off of its own starting point.
So it seems that Siri does use the accent setting to get a leg-up in recognizing your own accent. Does this mean that you should stick with your locally-accented Siri?
In practical terms, Siri is so bad that it may make very little difference. So, let’s go ahead and change Siri’s accent. At least we can then be entertained when Siri gets everything wrong, instead of wanting to throw the iPhone across the room.
How to change Siri’s accent
This is the easy part. On your iPhone or iPad, head to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Voice Depending on your language and regional settings, you will have various options for Siri’s accent and gender. If your phone is set to English, you’ll most likely see something like this:
Tap the accent of your choice, pick male or female, and then wait for your device to download the voice from Apple. Then, when you’re done, you can enjoy listening to Siri’s great new voice.
And did you also know that you can ask Siri to give you a nickname, and always address you using that nickname? So, try switching Siri an to Australian accent, telling him to always call your Bruce, and annoying the hell out of your Aussie friends.