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TipBITS: Restart Your iPhone or iPad Using Siri

Restarting your iPhone or iPad isn’t something you should have to do often, but there are times when it’s a good troubleshooting step to eliminate odd or problematic behavior. There’s no harm in restarting, apart from a short downtime. But you may not remember which buttons to press to restart your iPhone or iPad (which is really powering the device off and back on, not a true restart). Plus, not everyone may have realized that Apple added an option to power the device off in Settings > General > Shut Down.

In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple has made restarting significantly easier by bestowing Siri with that capability. Just invoke Siri by holding down the side button or Home button, and then say, “Reboot.” Siri also understands “Restart this device,” “Restart my iPhone,” and so on, although using “Restart” on its own tends to cause whatever audio was playing previously to start again. You can also restart your device hands-free with “Hey Siri, reboot,” but your command could be picked up by multiple devices within range, which might not be desirable. Regardless of how it’s invoked, Siri always asks if you’re sure that you want to restart, and you can either tap the Restart button or answer “Yes.” 

Restart devices with Siri

That makes me wonder if someone could cause all the iPhones in a crowded room to restart by yelling, “Hey Siri, reboot,” and following it up with “Yes” a few seconds later. Very little actual harm would result, but it would freak people out. It could be a great distraction technique in a spy flick. And as my train of thought continues, now I’m dying to know if the PA system in an airport could be hijacked and used to play a stream of disruptive “Hey Siri” and “OK Google” commands. In a movie, of course. 

Sadly, Siri hasn’t yet gained the capability to restart other Apple devices. It’s easy enough to restart a Mac by choosing Restart from the Apple menu (among quite a few other methods), but it would be actively useful if Siri could restart an Apple TV, Apple Watch, or HomePod. Instead, here’s what you must do to restart each of them:

  • Apple TV: I can never remember the keys to press on the remote to restart an Apple TV because there are so many buttons and the specific combinations to restart have changed three times (currently, hold down the Back and TV/Control Center buttons). I often resort to selecting Settings > System > Restart and will admit to pulling the power once when I got frustrated.
  • Apple Watch: The Apple Watch is more obvious because it has fewer buttons. Restart it by holding down the side button until the sliders appear, tapping the power icon, and dragging the Power Off slider to the right. Alternatively, navigate to Settings > General > Shut Down. Either way, turn it on again by holding the side button until the Apple logo appears.
  • HomePod: The only way to restart a HomePod is by touching and holding its tile in the Home app, scrolling down and tapping the gear icon, tapping Reset HomePod at the very bottom of the settings, and finally tapping Restart HomePod. Instead, I usually just unplug it, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in.

Finally, I wonder how the fact that Siri learned to restart iPhones and iPads in iOS 16 first became known. I don’t remember Apple mentioning it in a keynote, and Apple’s coverage of Siri commands doesn’t seem to include it. The first article about it that I can find is dated two days after iOS 16’s release, on 14 September 2022, and comes from a site I’d never heard of called After that date, lots of sites mention the feature, but did discover it, publish it first, or merely backdate its coverage?

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Comments About TipBITS: Restart Your iPhone or iPad Using Siri

Notable Replies

  1. Is there a way to do it with iOS 15.7? That’s as high as I seem to be able to go with my iPhone 7 Plus.

  2. That makes me wonder if someone could cause all the iPhones in a crowded room to restart by yelling, “Hey Siri, reboot,” and following it up with “Yes” a few seconds later.

    Not my phone. My Siri only reacts to my voice. IIRC you set it up that way when you activate “Listen for Hey Siri”.

  3. Just FYI. This doesn’t work on my iPhone 14 running 16.2. “Sorry, I cannot help you with that.”
    I’m not in the US so maybe it hasn’t been rolled out globally?

  4. It works in the UK on a 13 Pro running 16.2.

  5. At least for my 12 mini, if the device isn’t unlocked, Siri tells me that I need to unlock my iPhone first for the “Hey Siri, reboot” command. So, it would seem that even if you could commandeer a PA system or similar, you’d first need to figure out how to unlock those devices which are currently locked.

  6. That’s also a user setting.

    Settings > Siri & Search > Allow Siri When Locked

    My Siri is not allowed to listen if I haven’t already unlocked my 12 mini.

  7. No, sorry, it’s only in iOS 16 and later.

    Ach, you’re right. I set that up so long ago that I had forgotten how it steps you through four or five phrases to learn your voice. So I suppose it’s possible that a yelled “Hey Siri” might be general enough to trigger a few iPhones, but probably not most of them.

  8. Is there actually a way to set up Siri to not be personalized? When I turn on Hey Siri I don’t recall seeing a way to circumvent its calibration (personalization).

  9. Interestingly, I do allow Siri when locked, but I still can’t command a restart of a locked device. However, in doing a bit more testing this morning, I discovered that if the device had been unlocked recently (not sure how long the window might be), I would receive the confirmation dialog.

    Very interesting…

  10. Not as far as I know, but I also don’t know just how accurate it is at ignoring other voices. In short, what’s the false positive rate for Hey Siri from other people?

  11. My wife can’t trigger mine. My brother and a couple male friends who tried can’t either. And none of the radio ads that attempt to do it have ever triggered mine so at this point I’m assuming it’s pretty good. If it were that easy, I bet we’d by now have heard of plenty pranks like this.

  12. But it is a problem at times, at least on some devices. That’s why podcasters try to avoid saying the words “Hey Siri” (like Andy Ihnatko’s “Hey Schlomo”), and we’ve definitely had our HomePod triggered by sound from the TV. The HomePod is probably different. I think I’ve seen Siri triggered occasionally on my iMac by ambient commands too.

  13. Interesting. I wonder of perhaps on the iPhone Apple has made the requirement for a match a little tougher. I would definitely consider it the more ‘personal’ device than a HomePod or Mac.

  14. My SO & I can’t command each others phones, but my iPad often responds to Hey Siri despite it being further away from me in the office (and in a case)

    I did try to restart the phone yesterday and it worked. I am on 16.2


  15. I’ve seen the same thing. Our phones generally don’t get triggered accidentally. But our HomePod mini responds to anybody’s voice.

  16. OK, thanks. Restarting is something I have to consider carefully, anyway, because, as a result of security recommendations found on this forum, I added a SIM pin. Starting up adds confusing prompts. Instead of asking for the unlock code then asking for the SIM pin, it leaves me with only the choice of starting the process of an emergency call, which I then have to cancel to receive the prompts mentioned above. I’m not actually too put off by that, because I suspect that if a thief actually got hold of the phone, he or she would probably just throw it away after seeing that sort of interface obfuscation. Anyway, I heartily recommend adding the SIM pin. Thanks again, and thanks for all you do here at TidBITS and TipBITS!

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