Siri gets new voices, and won’t default to female, in iOS 14.5

Siri just became more gender fluid.
Image: Apple

After almost a decade of using a female voice by default, users will be given a choice of voices for the virtual assistant when they set up Apple devices. There’s also two new English-language voices.

These changes debuted in iOS 14.5 beta 6, which was seeded to developers on Wednesday.

Siri is gender fluid

Users have had the option for years to change Siri’s voice from female to male. The change happening is that iPhone, iPad and Mac will ask users when setting up what voice to use, and no longer make the voice assistant female by default.

The additional voices for American English are intended to sound a bit less mechanical than previous options for Siri. There are both male and female versions, and the previous ones are still available.

Apple gave a statement to about the change to TechCrunch:

“We’re excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the option for Siri users to select the voice they want when they set up their device. This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.”

There’re tons of new features in iOS 14.5

This is the only significant change in iOS 14.5 beta 6. And it comes as something of a surprise — Apple doesn’t usually add major new features so late in beta process. Testing began for the upcoming version began on February 4, and the public launch of iOS 14.5 could be in April.

Especially as there are already plenty of new features in the next version. It enables user to unlock their iPhone with an Apple Watch, and it let users share lyrics from Apple Music. There are new emoji. Beyond the scenes, iOS 14.5 makes zero-click iPhone attacks even more difficult.

At present, iOS 14.5 beta 6 is only for developers. But, if Apple follows its previous habits, public beta version will be along. In the mean time though, getting access to the latest pre-release edition requires joining the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 a year.