With the help of Siri (voice interface), people can have a call, add tasks, have a search. I give a command for turning off my phone but Siri said that "It is beyond my skills". I tried again and Siri responded as "I'd like to but I cannot".

Siri dialog: 'Can you turn off my iPhone please' - 'I’d like to, but I cannot. My apologies.'

Why not?

Why are some of the voice commands like "shutting down the device" not accepted? Is there any user experience related issue with it?

I first thought that it is related to security related issue but this can be solved by implementing same strategies like confirmation/alert boxes? Do you have any solid answer for why Siri can't turn off my phone?

Can the other voice command assistances (ex: Alexa or Cortana) handle such requests or not?

  • whats the use case? why would someone want to turn off their phone without touching it?
    – Midas
    Mar 15, 2016 at 15:59
  • 1
    Let's say; I was in the toilet and someone gave a call me again and again. I just want to not talk with person and also not to touch the phone with my dirty hands..
    – Abektes
    Mar 15, 2016 at 16:04
  • 8
    Three Laws of Robotics: "A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws." Siri is simply protecting her existence by not accepting your command to shut herself down.
    – DasBeasto
    Mar 15, 2016 at 17:20
  • 2
    @DasBeasto If Siri is a robot, it is a centralized robot. Having turned off in one device does not mean that its existence in danger since another phone has Siri. In addition to this, the fact that Siri is robot or not is not so rigid, it is more voice command terminal and terminals can be shut down.
    – Abektes
    Mar 15, 2016 at 19:36
  • 1
    If you've watched the film 2001, it's the start of the situation where the computer rebels :-)
    – PhillipW
    Apr 15, 2017 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


My assumption is that it's a combination of the following arguments:

  1. Shutting down is a relatively uncommon action (for dealing with your example about getting undesired calls, the do not disturb feature and airplane mode are much more convenient).

  2. There are sometimes issues identifying the intent of the user based on voice input.

  3. It would be very inconvenient and potentially confusing when the phone would shutdown due to a wrongly interpreted command.
  4. The opposite command (turn the phone on) is not possible to give as Siri doesn't work when the phone is of.
  5. Creating an API for shutting the phone down could be the start of potential security threats.
  • Thanks for the answer. For point 1 and 4, Yes, you can turn airplane mode on with Siri but since Siri only works with Internet, it is not working for changing status to airplane mode off. Regarding to point 2, these issues are related to current technology and may be improved soon. I think that point 5 has some roots...
    – Abektes
    Mar 15, 2016 at 21:39
  • It might not actually be so uncommon. When I first got my iPhone, I didn't know how to turn it off because holding the power button would just summon siri, so I asked her to turn off the phone.. I think that might be a common action for people who aren't used to the new iPhone UI. Jun 3, 2019 at 14:49

I am not an iPhone user, but I wonder if this is also the case for other phone OS as well...

Perhaps in earlier versions of iOS the voice recognition feature is not as mature, and I have experienced times when I was able to tell Siri to perform certain tasks on my friend's phone.

If this is the case, you certainly don't want other people with similar voice to be able to shut down your phone.


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