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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Adventures in Siri failures: Reminders edition

So, last night, as I got back from the gym, it occurred to me that I wanted to remember to pack my podcast gear for the trip I’m going on next week. I keep a “Packing” list in the Reminders app for just such a purpose, and since I was walking around the living room and my hands were full, I tried to use Siri.

Well, that was a mistake.



Now, I use Siri to add stuff to my Shopping List in Reminders all the time, and that generally works fine. But for some reason when I tried to do the same thing here, I kept getting the same error: “Sorry, I can’t add that to your library. You don’t seem to be subscribed to Apple Music.”

This is infuriating, for a few reasons. First: What the hell about this query even remotely suggests that I’m trying to do anything with music?1 Secondly, I’m not subscribed to Apple Music, so why is that lack of a subscription interfering with something I legitimately want to do? It ticks me off to no end that a feature I don’t even use is interfering with something I want to accomplish. I get annoyed enough as it is using the Music app without Apple Music: even though I’ve turned off as much of the service as I can, it still ends up poking its head up at times. (Not to mention I feel like every time I apply an iOS update, it tries to convince me to sign up once again.)

Anyway, I tried this task six or seven times with no success. I tried changing the name of my “Packing” list to “Packing List” figuring that might be the problem—no dice. I tried both my Apple Watch and my iPhone—both gave me the same error. (And that was after multiple attempts to make sure it had heard me correctly.) Eventually I gave up and just opened the Reminders app to enter it by hand, which ended up taking far less time than all the mucking about with Siri. Isn’t it great when features that are supposed to save you time just end up wasting it?2

Epilogue: Of course, this morning I tried the same query and it worked just fine. Which is even more befuddling. But this inconsistency is a reminder that you can’t really rely on Siri, since its behavior and effectiveness often seems to change from day to day.

  1. Maybe it was getting hung up on “podcast”? Still, that seems weird.  ↩

  2. No. No it isn’t.  ↩

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]