iPhone 4S restart appears to resolve Siri availability for some

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
iPhone 4S users suffering from an inability to access Siri voice assistance can try to resolve the issue by performing a device restart, something that has helped some users to fix temporary issues.



A number of readers have reported issues with Siri "not being able to connect to the network" on their new iPhone 4S, suggesting a service outage related to Apple's servers. Record sales of the new phone, stoked by the Siri feature itself, have been blamed with overwhelming the company's ability to keep up with requests.



However, in testing iPhone 4S models on different service providers and configured to work over the same WiFi network, it appears that some devices can reliably contact the service to promptly get results while others get either no results or very sporadic responses, often failing with messages that blame a network connectivity problem.



A Sprint iPhone 4S that AppleInsider has been testing appeared to be unable to answer any requests until all apps running on the phone were manually terminated and the phone was powered off and restarted. After the reset, Siri began working consistently, at least for a few minutes.



However, the same solution didn't immediately address the problem of an identically configured iPhone 4S that happened to be set up on AT&T. After being reset, the device appeared to work occasionally (although taking much longer to obtain the same results), but frequently failed to contact the server entirely.



In continued testing, the functionality of the two devices traded places, with the AT&T model beginning to work while the Sprint model complained of network problems, at times even before a request was made. Restarting the phone seemed to get it working again. For some requests, answers were delivered with a delay, sometimes with the content of the request being correctly rendered before a delayed answer was provided.



If Siri problems are related to overburdened servers on Apple's end, restarting the phone may help to restore service by either resetting its connection session with the service, or perhaps by reallocating memory or resetting the status of the phone locally in a way that helps it to connect to the service. In any case, regular problems in using Siri on either phone seemed to benefit from restarting the device, performed by holding down the power button until the "slide to power off" control appears, sliding it off, waiting for it to shut down, then holding the power button again until it restarted.



Siri is still in beta, and record shipments of iPhone 4S and the novelty of the new service are likely driving high request volumes. However, Apple is not reporting any downtime status for Siri, as it does at least to some extent for its iCloud-branded network services, leaving users frustrated and unable to determine if Siri's inability to respond to requests is related to Apple's servers or to specific issues with their carrier or network.



Apple has also failed to comment on when the issue might be resolved. Yesterday, the company issued a limited press release to specific media sources informing them that the company had discovered battery issues in the new iOS 5 that it planned to address in a future update, and developers report that a beta release of that 5.0.1 update has been distributed for testing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Went to give it a shot out of curiosity, but found Siri to be working quite nicely without a restart. Just had some hiccups earlier today during the initial part of the outage.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,510member
    It just works!
  • Reply 3 of 18
    ai7rai7r Posts: 8member
    If everyone would stop asking Siri to marry them or where babies came from the system would work fine...
  • Reply 4 of 18
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post


    Went to give it a shot out of curiosity, but found Siri to be working quite nicely without a restart. Just had some hiccups earlier today during the initial part of the outage.



    I hope it happened because Apple adding to more Siri systems to te mix. There are probably 5 million US iPhone 4Ses sold by this point, if Siri can't handle that then we are in for some trouble as the weeks press on; 20 million US units by Christmas and over 100 million in the next year.



    One thing I wish they'd do, though doubtful, is allow the local system to switch to Voice Control for certain tasks or altogether if Siri is down.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post


    It just works!



    Your joke didn't.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    moewmoew Posts: 41member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I hope it happened because Apple adding to more Siri systems to te mix. There are probably 5 million US iPhone 4Ses sold by this point, if Siri can't handle that then we are in for some trouble as the weeks press on; 20 million US units by Christmas and over 100 million in the next year.



    One thing I wish they'd do, though doubtful, is allow the local system to switch to Voice Control for certain tasks or altogether if Siri is down.







    Your joke didn't.



    1 flagship data center, check

    not using anycast, check

    quickly realizing their mistake and not commenting, check.



    Honestly, we have a few 4S's in the mix at work and it's been hit/miss on it actually working since the launch. Not so sure it's a recent problem.



    [racist comment removed]
  • Reply 6 of 18
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MOEW View Post


    [racist comment removed]



    Both Siri and I are baffled by that sentence.
  • Reply 7 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Both Siri and I are baffled by that sentence.



    All this person does is troll,, sometimes with flame bait.

    I think its a racist remark.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post


    All this person does is troll,, sometimes with flame bait.

    I think its a racist remark.



    The only thing UrbanDictionary has to say on the matter is sexual. And I wish I had never read it.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Depending on a network for such a large data service in my opinion is shaky at best. Although Siri takes about 32k per request having to depend on network access for Siri in my opinion makes a weak point. It's too bad that Siri cant be more localized in to the device.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    ktappektappe Posts: 759member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    The only thing UrbanDictionary has to say on the matter is sexual. And I wish I had never read it.



    I'll translate. By "chalkie" he meant "whitey", implying Apple products are too expensive for minorities to afford. And for the youth reading this, a "walkie talkie" was a handheld peer-to-peer radio that usually used citizens band (CB).



    MOEW, dude...you've been watching too much "Shaft" or "Starsky & Hutch"....
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MOEW View Post


    1 flagship data center, check

    not using anycast, check

    quickly realizing their mistake and not commenting, check.



    Honestly, we have a few 4S's in the mix at work and it's been hit/miss on it actually working since the launch. Not so sure it's a recent problem.



    But the chalkie walkie talkie will continue to fail, and the chalkies will still praise them.



    OOPs a beta version of a program is not perfect. The servers are getting more traffic than Apple expected and it's causing trouble. Time to hate on Apple especially since they offered up a fix that takes about 30 seconds to perform.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    ..
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


    i'll translate. By "chalkie" he meant "whitey", implying apple products are too expensive for minorities to afford. And for the youth reading this, a "walkie talkie" was a handheld peer-to-peer radio that usually used citizens band (cb).



    Moew, dude...you've been watching too much "shaft" or "starsky & hutch"....



    +99
  • Reply 13 of 18
    Reading this thread was a waste of 3 minutes of my life.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    purchased new 4S last night, and found that Siri was not responding until a reboot. Took a few tries and settings tweaking until I though to reboot. Strange.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    vandilvandil Posts: 187member
    I had to toggle Siri off/on the first day to get her to work. No big deal. And people seem to be forgetting that Siri is beta software. Lastly, smartphones are computers and rebooting is always a troubleshooting step
  • Reply 16 of 18
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    Depending on a network for such a large data service in my opinion is shaky at best. Although Siri takes about 32k per request having to depend on network access for Siri in my opinion makes a weak point. It's too bad that Siri cant be more localized in to the device.



    The processors on current phones do not have enough computational power to handle local requests. Pretty much all advanced speech recognition offloads the processing to networked servers.



    Since apparently Siri uses Nuance, is it both that get offloaded to the network, or is it just Nuance? If its the latter, it would mean only the speech recognition (input) is network-based, while the actual intelligent interpretation is done on the device.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    moewmoew Posts: 41member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


    I'll translate. By "chalkie" he meant "whitey", implying Apple products are too expensive for minorities to afford. And for the youth reading this, a "walkie talkie" was a handheld peer-to-peer radio that usually used citizens band (CB).



    MOEW, dude...you've been watching too much "Shaft" or "Starsky & Hutch"....



    I don't have a tv.



    [racist comment removed]



    ktappe, nice interpretation, lol.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    I wonder about the NC data center's fault tolerance. Most data centers that I am familiar with are built on a major fiber backbone where they become peering centers. There are two major east/west backbones. Once goes from San Francisco through Denver, Chicago to New York. The other from Los Angeles to Phoenix through Dallas to Atlanta. The north/south routes connect those same cities.



    Everything else is branched off and not really considered top tier. The North Carolina location is out in the sticks so it cannot possibly be tier one because it is not on the major backbone or a hub. It really doesn't matter what speed they have to the nearest peering point because if that link goes down they have no redundancy since they aren't a peering point.



    By peering point I am referring to different national carriers such as Level 3, TW, Cox, Comcast, Savvis, XO and even AT&T and Verizon among other. They all come together and lease space at peering point data centers so that a request from one network can be sent to another easily with the least number of hops. If you are not at a peering data center that creates a single point of failure situation.
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