On the public nature of your personal iPhone contact info

This weekend, I posted a useful tip from OSXDaily. In a nutshell, the tip suggested that, if you find an iPhone, press and hold the home button, then say this to Siri:

Whose phone is this?

In response, Siri will display your “me card”, the card you’ve designated as “me” to the Contacts app.

Two tiny issues, followed by a larger one. If you try this yourself, you’ll see that Siri spells your request as:

Who’s phone is this?

There’s a lack of contextual awareness in the sentence parsing. Who’s is a contraction of “who is”, which makes no sense here. Also, if you say “Whose iPhone is this?” (subbing iPhone for phone), you get sent to Apple’s web page.

But I digress. The more important issue:

Siri responds to your query by displaying the owner’s contact info, even on a locked home screen, like so:


Apple takes great pains to keep the iPhone owner info out of the hands of developers. On the Mac, there’s an address book framework that will return the address marked as “me”, but as far as I know, there’s no Apple approved (hacks, yes, but not Apple approved) way to access the me card under iOS.

Making this information available via Siri seems at odds with Apple’s privacy standards and with the “no me card” developer policy. On one hand, it’s great to give someone a way to reach you if they find your phone. Kudos for that. But perhaps you could have a public and private version of your contact info, one for you and one for Siri to share with the world.

Just saying.