Similar to the structure of Siri’s functionality when the iOS 5 update rolled out, anyone upgrading to iOS 6 on their iPhone 4S or purchasing a new iPhone 5 will need to be wary about access to Siri when the iPhone is in a locked state. In iOS 5, an iPhone user that kept Siri enabled when the lock screen was active could use the voice assistant to place Facetime calls, send text messages or jot off a couple emails.
Now that iOS 6 has launched, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users are also able to update their Facebook status update or Twitter account without leaving the lock screen. However, this also leaves the smartphone open to pranksters that want to create a silly, embarrassing or inflammatory status update as a practical joke. It’s as simple as speaking into the iPhone microphone after a friend has put their phone down for a moment and left the room temporarily.
To avoid a potentially embarrassing situation on Facebook or Twitter, Apple offers a way to disable Siri from the lock screen. Within the Settings application, tap General and the Passcode Lock option.
Within the Passcode Lock menu, slide the toggle to turn off Siri when the iPhone is locked with a passcode. Without Siri enabled while the phone is locked, you can easily set your iPhone down among friends without having to worry about a Facebook status update prank. However, the iPhone owner will have to unlock the screen each time they want to communicate with Siri.
It’s important to note this isn’t a vulnerability; simply a feature that could be misused if the iPhone is being handled by anyone else besides you. Since fifteen percent of iPhone owners have already upgraded to iOS 6 after the recent launch of the new operating system, it’s possible that some users haven’t considered how the new Facebook feature could be exploited in certain social situations.