Apple Quickly Patches Siri’s Profane ‘Mother’ Glitch

Apple users found yet another way to make iOS's digital assistant Siri misbehave.

  • Published 30 April 2018

On 28 April 2018, a Reddit user on r/apple directed fellow users to ask iOS’s Siri to “define ‘mother,'” and comments indicated that users who followed the title’s instructions incited the digital assistant to recite a profane word — “motherfucker.”

Predictably, the action (likely best described as a glitch) became virally popular, and several YouTube videos of Siri swearing appeared on or around 29 April 2018:

By 30 April 2018, we were unable to replicate Siri’s off-color response as seen in the clips and described on Reddit. According to the Sacramento Bee, Apple quietly edited Siri’s response to a “define mother” directive:

By [30 April 2018 in the] morning, however, Siri began responding with, “As a verb, it means: to bring up (a child) with care and affection,” though the earlier, more vulgar response also periodically surfaced.

The off-color original response appears to have first been noted on Reddit’s Apple community, where a visitor suggested on [28 April 2018] that iPhone owners ask Siri for the alternate definition of “mother.”

Siri’s “motherfucker” phenomenon wasn’t the first time users contorted iPhone functions to perform an unusual action or claimed the devices had purported secret functions. Previous rumors held that telling Siri to charge a handset to 100 percent or pressing the home button five times would surreptitiously summon police.

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