Mobile & Wearable

Apple to allow Siri to default to WhatsApp and Skype in future iOS update

Apple will release a software update that allows Siri to default to popular third-party messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Skype to improve its user experience.

The company told Mark Gurman from Bloomberg that the feature would arrive in a future iOS 13 update this year, allowing Siri to automatically default to preferred messaging apps where users frequent more.

An iOS user who only talks to Mike via WhatsApp, for example, should find that Siri suggests and defaults to WhatsApp when asked to message Mike.

At present, it’s not possible to set third-party apps as default on an iPhone, and this update won’t change that.

Instead, Siri will decide on the most appropriate messaging app based on user interactions with specific contacts, and developers will need to enable the functionality in their apps when it becomes available this year, rather than it being a standalone feature.

Right now, users need to specify which third-party app they’d like to use when commanding Siri, such as “Send a message to Mike on WhatsApp,” but following the update, the user should be able to say “Send a message to Mike” and Siri will know what to do.

Bloomberg added that the functionality would come to third-party phone apps for calls, but there’s no timeline on when that would be added just yet.

During its chat with Gurman, Apple was quick to defend its App Store following complaints that the company placed its default apps at the top of the results: “Apple offers our users an experience that is only possible from the integration of hardware, software, and services,” a spokesperson said.

“From the very first iPhone, we have included apps to provide customers with a great experience right out of the box for making phone calls, playing music, surfing the web, and more. With every generation of iPhone, we have advanced the built-in capabilities for our customers with a few default apps designed for great performance, long battery life, seamless integration, and industry-leading protections for security and privacy.

“We have also created the App Store, the safest place to get apps, so customers can choose from millions of apps to find the ones that further enhance their iPhone.

“In the few categories where Apple also has an app, we have many successful competitors and we’re proud that their success is responsible for almost 2 million U.S. jobs in a thriving multibillion-dollar market for developers.

“Our North Star is always to create the best products for our customers and that is why iPhone has the highest customer satisfaction in the industry.”

Are you excited to see this functionality coming to iOS and macOS? Let us know your thoughts using @AppleMagazine and check back soon for more Siri news and rumors.

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