Siri for iOS can now play short daily news digests by request, allowing you to quickly hear news recaps from some popular mainstream news outlets and media sources. This is a handy feature if you want to get a quick blurb about what’s apparently newsworthy on a given day, and it works the same on iPhone and iPad.
The news digests are short podcasts and usually between 1 minute and 7 minutes long, depending on the source and likely other factors, and can come from a variety of different outlets, including NPR, Fox News, CNN, Washington Post, CNBC, Bloomberg, and ESPN. The feature is also available in the UK and Australia, but at the moment anyway it does not appear that users can get news from international sources, or from outside of their home country.
How to Get News Recaps from Siri
Currently can get Siri news summaries and recaps from NPR, Fox News, CNN, Washington Post, CNBC, Bloomberg, and ESPN. Here’s how this feature works:
Summon Siri as usual, either with a Home button press, side-button press on iPhone X, Hey Siri voice activation, or even Type to Siri, and then use the following type of commands:
- “Play news headlines”
- “Play news from NPR”
- “Play news from CNN”
- “Play news from Fox News”
- “Hey Siri, play me news from CNBC”
- “Play me sports news from ESPN”
- “Play me news from Washington Post”
- “Play business news from Bloomberg”
- “Tell me the news from Fox News”
- “Tell me news from NPR”
You can ask for business news, which can be either CNBC or Bloomberg:
Or you can ask for news, which seems to default to NPR, with CNN, Fox News, Washington Post as alternatives.
And there is also sports news from ESPN:
You must say “play news”, if you simply say “give me news” then Siri will instead return a bunch of headlines from the Apple News app and not read out any news to you.
Note this feature is not completely foolproof yet, and there are a few quirks and failures. In particular, getting news from Washington Post and Fox News were a little funky in testing. Whether or not this is something from Siri or from those news outlets is not clear, but it’s worth mentioning since you may get confused if you encounter either issue.
In repeated testing with Washington Post, Siri often ends up playing a totally unrelated podcast called “can you do that?”
Additionally, in testing with Fox News, Siri was sometimes giving me news summaries from last year, rather than today.
Try each a few times yourself, your mileage may vary.
When the news headlines feature with Siri does work as expected, it’s a nice feature and offers a simple fast way to hear the days headlines from various news outlets.
We can expect this feature to improve as time goes on, and presumably the capability will come to other Siri devices in the near future too. Maybe even some day users will be able to set their own default news choices for Siri, and play third party news digests and recaps as well, and play news from foreign and international sources, who knows?
The feature is specifically mentioned in the release notes of iOS 11.2.5, but in testing you can usually get the news read to you with earlier iOS versions as well, give it a try on your iPhone or iPad and report back. The feature does not currently work on the Mac with Siri, however.
If this feature isn’t quite doing it for you, perhaps you’re not a fan of the short news podcasts or you’d rather have more detailed information, it’s worth mentioning that you can also have Siri read the screen to you in iOS, including articles on screen of an iPhone or iPad too, which is another nice trick that works in all iOS versions.