Help for HomePod ‘I’m not sure who is speaking’ bug

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Help for HomePod 'I'm not sure who is speaking' bug


One of the handy capabilities of Siri on HomePod that’s been available since 2018 is Personal Requests. It allows users to make voice commands that deal with what can be more private information from their specific iPhone and iPad. However, as it turns out, Personal Requests are still broken with Siri on HomePod often replying “I’m not sure who is speaking.”

As a refresher, Personal Requests happen when you ask Siri on a HomePod to do something with your iPhone or iPad apps like Messages, Reminders, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Find My.

When working, the feature makes multi-user voice recognition valuable to handle lots of different tasks without needing your iPhone nearby (but your iPhone does need to be at home for Personal Requests to work on HomePods).

The trouble is that Personal Requests don’t work consistently. In my own experience, they’ve been hit-and-miss since 2018. But with HomePod software 16 and 16.1, Personal Requests were fully broken for both my original HomePods and HomePod minis.

When I installed 16.2, the feature started working again, not always, but at least 75% of the time. But now on the latest 16.3.2 release, my wife and I are still getting the “I’m not sure who is speaking” error regularly.

How common is the issue?

Back in January, my colleague Ben did a poll asking whether people were seeing Personal Requests fail on HomePod. Almost 1,000 people responded:

  • 79.74% said yes
    • Among that majority seeing the issue, 66% said “Yes, recently,” with 14% saying “Yes, but not recently”
  • Only 15% said “No” with 6% Unsure/Other

And many users have shared about the feature not working on Apple’s Community forum, Reddit, and more across the years.

Troubleshooting

I’ve done a variety of troubleshooting to try and fix Personal Requests multiple times since 2018 to no avail:

  • Making sure Personal Requests are turned on (Home app > Home Settings > My profile (some users note they’ve seen this get toggled off automatically somehow by iOS)
    • And making sure they’re on for each HomePod individually
  • Turning Personal Requests on/off and doing a clean setup of the feature
  • Updating HomePod software
  • Double-checking WiFi connection
  • Double-checking Siri knows who I am (Contacts > My Card)
  • Turning off Hey Siri in iPhone Settings and setting up again
  • Making sure my iPhone’s Siri voice and each HomePod’s Siri voice are using the same variant (this has worked for some users who have seen the issue but not me)
  • Resetting HomePods

Share feedback with Apple

Apple fixed a bug that was causing HomeKit requests to fail with Siri on HomePod with the 16.3.2 software release, but there was no mention of a fix for Personal Requests.

Along with being frustrating for longtime HomePod users, inconsistent Personal Requests also offers a rough experience for those new to HomePod 2 or HomePod mini.

While we wait on a patch, there’s not a lot to do if you’ve tried the above troubleshooting steps.

However, there is an easy way to let Apple know you want to see it resolved. Just fill out a short feedback form here.

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