Most iPhone and iPad users know about Siri, Apple’s digital assistant service, but some may not know that you can change Siri’s voice, language, and nationality to suit your needs or tastes. Despite the fame and intrigue surrounding Siri’s default female voice, other options are available for both male and female voices in a number of languages and countries. Here’s how to customize Siri’s voice in iOS.
All of the changes to Siri’s voice can be found in Settings > General > Siri. Once there, make sure Siri is enabled, and then look for the options Language and Voice Gender.
Voice Gender, as you may have guessed, lets you switch from Siri’s default female voice to a male voice and, as far as the American English recordings go, both sound great and natural. But the real fun starts when you try experimenting with other languages and nationalities.
TekRevue is based in the United States and so we’re working with American English as a baseline. But try setting Siri to UK English to add, in our opinion, a touch of class to your digital assistant. Australian or Canadian English can also be fun, although the latter is understandably much closer to American pronunciation, with only a few key differences (imagine my frustration as I sat here for way too long trying to think of a way to get Canadian Siri to say “about”).
Those fluent in other languages can also use Siri to stay sharp with practice. Non-English language options currently include Cantonese, Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish, with multiple regional or national dialects available for many of them.
Language differences go beyond pronunciations and accents, however. They also have an effect on the user’s experience with Siri. For example, after setting Siri’s language to UK English, she/he will refer you to UK-specific website addresses when applicable (such as apple.com/uk) and is even more likely, in our experience, to favor UK customs and interests when there’s an ambiguity, such as offering the latest football (soccer) scores when asked about “the game,” as opposed to American Siri, who is more likely to refer to the NFL or NBA. More specific national differences, such as currencies and temperature units, are set elsewhere in the iOS settings, and Siri will honor those settings regardless of voice.
If you were unaware of the ability to change Siri’s gender and language until now, you may have already grown accustomed to Siri’s default voice, and any other voice may seem too unusual to stomach. But if you’re looking for something different, or for a way to make your iPhone or iPad stand out, try giving Siri a fresh voice, safe in the knowledge that you can always revert to the default voice with a quick trip to iOS Settings.
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