Apple will soon let Siri default to third-party messaging, phone apps

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Siri
Siri is about to get a lot more useful.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will roll out a software update later this year that eases some of the Siri restrictions for third-party messaging and phone apps.

Siri currently defaults to using Apple’s own apps when sending messages and making calls. But it will later default to the services that are used most frequently, based on specific contacts.

Apple in recent months has faced mounting criticism over its restrictions on third-party apps and services. It has already started easing some of those with changes in iOS 13.

Siri now has greater control over third-party music streaming services, for instance. And with an update coming later this year, it will play better with third-party messaging apps.

Siri opens up to third-party communication services

Siri will no longer default to Apple’s built-in Messages and Phone apps for all communication following the change. It will identify which services are used most frequently and employ those instead.

For example, if you always use WhatsApp to message a certain friend, Siri will default to that when you ask it to message that contact — even if you don’t specify “WhatsApp” in your request.

Developers will need to enable the new functionality in their apps themselves. So, we won’t see the change right away across all third-party messaging apps. Support for calling services will come later.

Apple backs third-party developers

“In the few categories where Apple also has an app, we have many successful competitors and we’re proud that their success is responsible for almost 2 million U.S. jobs in a thriving multibillion dollar market for developers,” reads a statement from Apple.

Apple has also been keen to point out that its own apps represent just 0.000002% of the roughly 2 million apps in the App Store, Bloomberg reports. And it has only promoted its own software 1% of the time in App Store Stories.

The upcoming change is not only good for developers, who should see a boost in usage from Siri users. But it’s also great for iPhone and iPad users who will find Siri to be much more useful.