Apple will release a software update later this year that will allow Siri to set third-party messaging apps as default and allow users to directly send a message to their contact from the voice assistant.
While it is possible to use Siri to send messages via WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, etc, it requires one to specify that explicitly. For example, one must say “Hey Siri, send a message to ‘xyz’ on WhatsApp” to send a message to their contact on WhatsApp. Without the WhatsApp command at the end, Siri will use the Messages app to send the message.
While Apple will allow third-party messaging apps to work with Siri, it won’t allow users to select the default messaging app. Instead, Siri will decide that on its own based on your usage. Developers will also need to update their apps to take advantage of this new Siri feature. Eventually, Apple will also expand this functionality for the Phone app in Siri.
When the software refresh kicks in, Siri will default to the apps that people use frequently to communicate with their contacts. For example, if an iPhone user always messages another person via WhatsApp, Siri will automatically launch WhatsApp, rather than iMessage. It will decide which service to use based on interactions with specific contacts. Developers will need to enable the new Siri functionality in their apps. This will be expanded later to phone apps for calls as well.
Apple’s move seems to have stemmed from the anti-trust pressure that the company is facing. It is frequently criticized for favoring its own apps in favor of other third-party apps. After all, it is not possible to set a third-party app downloaded from the App Store as a default app on an iPhone. Instead, one is forced to use the default system app from Apple. By opening Siri to other third-party apps for messaging and phone purposes, Apple wants to show that it treats all apps the same. The company has already opened up Siri to third-party media player apps with iOS 13.