It never fails. Right when you’ve got your hands full, or you’re doing dishes and they’re covered in soap, or you’re working outside and all muddy, the phone rings. And the last thing you want to do is muck up your screen or AirPods to answer the call. Good news: In iOS 14.5, you can now answer phone calls while wearing said AirPods or certain Beats headphones simply by saying “answer” when it rings.
To unlock this feature, you’ll first need to set up the “Announce Call with Siri “ feature on your iPhone—which, of course, means installing iOS 14.5 if you haven’t already. Visit Settings > Siri & Search and make sure “Allow Siri When Locked” is enabled. Next, tap on “Announce Calls.” You can pick one of three options:
Now, whenever you’re using one of the following models of headphones with your iPhone, you’ll be able to just say “answer” or “decline” when the phone starts ringing—no “Hey Siri” needed.
- AirPods Max
- AirPods (2nd generation)
- AirPods Pro
- Powerbeats Pro
- Beats Solo Pro
And, yes, your iPhone will even tell you who’s calling while your ringtone plays.
Unfortunately, this little trick doesn’t work with your iPhone or iPad by itself. I tried yelling “answer” at my iPhone with no results; you have to be using your headphones. However, it’s a great technique to pair with the similarly named Announce Messages feature, where Siri will read you messages received from a variety of apps (not just the default iOS Messages app) and allow you to respond, again without having to say “Hey Siri” to get started.
If you’re dead-set on getting your iPhone to answer calls without you having to do anything, you can turn on an accessibility feature that does just that by visiting Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Call Audio Routing. From there, enable “Auto-Answer Calls” and your iPhone or iPad will automatically answer everything—as long as you understand the risks to your productivity, given how many robocalls you likely receive in a day.