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iOS 17 beta brings long-awaited bilingual Siri, but still no Spanglish

Published Jul 13th, 2023 9:09AM EDT
iOS 17 beta Siri
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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With the iOS 17 public beta and a reissued build of developer beta 3 now available, Apple has added a very important feature to its personal assistant: supporting bilingual queries. Although the company is at least five years late to this party, it’s great to see the Cupertino firm really expanding Siri’s capabilities.

The information was shared by TechCrunch. The publication explains that, for now, iOS 17 beta adds support for bilingual queries to Siri starting with select Indic languages. That said, users can ask questions to Siri by mixing English and Hindi. People can also mix English with Telegu, Punjabi, Kannada, or Marathi.

Although many US users won’t notice this, it’s very frustrating to ask a question for Siri and have to use a term in Portuguese, Spanish, or whatever. This is especially painful if your primary language isn’t English.

For example, if I set my Siri to American English and asked the personal assistant to read a message a friend sent me, I would get the worst Brazilian Portuguese I would have ever heard. On the other hand, if I set my Siri language to Brazilian Portuguese, I cannot ask it to play my favorite artists or songs because it’s not able to understand an American accent.

With this iOS 17 beta build, Apple is giving the first steps to change that for good. While the company is starting with English and Hindi, it doesn’t mean it can’t expand from English and Spanish, Portuguese and Spanish, and so on.

Once Apple can expand this Siri capability, I’m sure many users will feel more comfortable using it more often – and it would make many people enjoy the features Apple’s personal assistant can offer.

TechCrunch also notes that this iOS 17 beta also brings some other new features, such as:

  • Transliteration support on iOS for Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam, now supporting 10 indic languages;
  • Users can sign into Apple ID using their phone number instead of an email ID;
  • New built-in Punjabi dictionary;
  • The ability to see up to 2,000 calls in the call history section, including FaceTime and WhatsApp calls;
  • Filtering messages by known and unknown senders on iPad.

You can learn more about iOS 17 below.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.