If you've ever used an iPhone, you'll be familiar with Apple's voice assistant, Siri. Users can ask questions or automate certain processes using the system, which offers hands free functionality across the brands' devices.
Now, in iOS 17, it's getting a neat upgrade. One of the most useful functions Siri has is automatically sending messages to contacts. Users can dictate a message, and send it without even needing to touch their phone.
In the new software, you'll be able to choose which messaging app you'd like to use for this. By default, Siri uses the iMessage app, but users will now be able to select from a drop down menu of third-party apps, too. That includes popular options like WhatsApp and Telegram.
It's a brilliant upgrade. Many users opt for alternative messaging platforms these days. Some see the benefit of an encrypted service. Others simply enjoy the added features certain apps offer. Regardless of why, being able to select it quickly and easily makes using Siri for this purpose a whole lot more user-friendly.
As well as the app used to send the message, users will also have an easier time changing the contact it's sent to. That's great for usability. If you have a few contacts with similar names, Siri can sometimes select the wrong one. This gives users a quick way to change that, without having to cancel and ask again.
I'm really excited for this change. Siri gets a bad rap sometimes, but this should make one of the most useful features it offers even more intuitive. Being able to make quick adjustments to correct mistakes should encourage more people to use it.
One thing that isn't clear is whether you can set a default messaging app for different contacts. If not, that's a feature I'd really love to see included in the future. Personally, I tend to use different apps to message different people. There's no real rhyme or reason – just whatever has become the default for our conversation.
The ability to select that as a default option within the device settings would make all kinds of processes much smoother. Siri would know to message my boss on one platform, but my Mum on another, and could make those adjustments without me needing to specify.
If you want to get hands-on with these new features right now, you can. The developers beta is open, and is available to anyone with an Apple ID. Be aware, though, that it can come with bugs and software issues. If you'd prefer not to have that, the public beta should launch sometime next month, ahead of a full public release later this year.