Why iOS 17 Siri tells you when Conversation Awareness is active

iOS 17’s Siri tells you the first time you use the new Conversation Awareness feature. Now you can stop wondering why your AirPods Pro’s volume has suddenly dropped!

iOS 17 Siri Orb

When you turn this on for the first time, Siri may say, “Just so you know, AirPods lowered the volume due to Conversation Awareness” or something similar.

Apple hasn’t publicly mentioned this cool Siri tweak, but 9to5Mac was able to unearth it from the latest iOS 17 beta. Conversation Awareness dynamically adjusts the Siri volume and transparency mode as you talk.

Siri on iOS 17 tells you the first time Conversation Awareness kicks in

The feature lacks a user-facing interface, so that’s why some folks unfamiliar with it wonder why their AirPods volume has suddenly dropped.

Everyone will soon be able to try Conversation Awareness for themselves, with just a few weeks away until iOS 17’s public launch. According to the rumor mill, iOS 17 should drop ahead of the rumored September 22 iPhone 15 event this fall.

Conversation Awareness vs. Conversation Boost: What’s the difference?

Conversation Awareness is a new AirPods feature available with iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. Building on the Conversation Boost feature that came with iOS 15, Conversation Boost uses computational audio and other tricks to help you better hear the person talking in front of you.

Whereas Conversation Boost simply focuses the beam-forming microphones inside the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max on the person talking in front of you, Conversation Awareness is a much more developed version of Conversation Boost.

Apple says Conversation Awareness does three things simultaneously.

Firstly, it lowers the AirPods volume. Secondly, it enhances the voices in front of you. And thirdly, Conversation Awareness switches on transparency mode and dynamically adapts it to reduce as much background noise as possible.

Unlike Conversation Boost, Conversation Awareness is smart enough to tell the difference between someone talking to you and being near others who are talking.

“That means your AirPods Pro only switch to transparency mode and lower your volume when you join a conversation,” 9to5Mac‘s Michael Potuck remarks. “So, you can leave the feature on for things like public transit, close workspaces, etc., without interrupting your music/content.”

How to use Conversation Awareness and Conversation Boost

To turn on the Conversation Boost feature in iOS 15 or later, wear your AirPods Pro. connect them to an iPhone, venture into Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Headphone Accommodations and turn on the Headphone Accommodations switch at the top. Next, scroll to the bottom and hit Transparency Mode, then flip on the Conversation Boost toggle at the bottom of the next screen.

To enable the Conversation Awareness feature in iOS 17 or later, head to Settings > AirPods > Audio and enable the Conversation Awareness option. Alternatively, open the Control Center, press and hold the Volume slider and touch the hidden Conversation Awareness button to toggle the feature on or off.

Conversation Boost works on all AirPods Pro models and the AirPods Max. By contrast, Conversation Awareness only works with the second-generation AirPods Pro. Conversation Awareness is among the four new AirPods features in iOS 17 that don’t work on Apple’s $5349 AirPods Max over-ear headphones.

Aside from Conversation Awareness, iOS 17 also brings the new Adaptive Audio and Personalized Volume features, both exclusive to the AirPods Pro 2.

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