Recently I have seen some interesting tips for increasing the accuracy of Siri by entering phonetic details for contacts with names that is has trouble understanding or saying correctly.

This involves editing a contact, adding a new field, then selecting either phonetic first name or phonetic last name. E.g. Shuvawwn instead of Siobhan.

While I do not have Siri as I run an iPhone 4 not 4S, I have still seen these tips pre-dating iOS 5 to help with voice control as was before Siri came along.

The problem is that I do not appear to have these fields available on my iPhone at all.

How can I get them to show? Is there some language or accessibility setting or other required to get them to appear?


I can confirm after testing that these fields are not available on the iPhone 4 in iOS5, although they are available on the iPhone 4S.

However, if you have your contacts synced with Address Book on the Mac, you can add the field to the contact card via the Add Field menu item under Contact, and the field is then sent to your iPhone on the next sync. I am not able to confirm if you can do this via the iCloud web interface directly.


It's looking like a bug.

On the phone, if I have a contact that already has a first and last name entered, there is still an option to add a further first and last name field. If I add and fill in the fields, then view the contact in iCloud.com when it has synced, it shows the phonetic first and last names as already in use, with the details I entered. If I remove the additional fields, and then try to add them back using the phonetic first and last names fields which are available on the website version, then sync back they sync to the additional first/last name fields as originally shown.

So, in short it looks like they forgot to include the word "phonetic" on iOS5 running on (at least) iPhone 4, the fields are there, and they sync correctly, they just do not show properly.


When editing a contact, scroll to the bottom of the edit pane and tap "Add a new field." You should see phonetic first name and last name. Add the fields and you should be all set.

  • I double checked and these fields are not available on the iPhone 4 or 3GS. It is however available on the iPhone 4S. – BinaryMisfit Oct 20 '11 at 11:20
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    I answered my own question. Previously the phonetic fields were at the top (I have seen old screenshots) next to the normal name fields, and they are still there on my phone but without the word Phonetic prefixing the field name. – stuffe Oct 20 '11 at 11:31

On my iPhone 4S the 'Phonetic First Name' and 'Phonetic Last Name' did not show. The video shows how I fixed the issue. I basically learnt that the reason for that was the 'British English' Language setting, which I had to set to 'English'. After I did that the fields became visible. It really did not seem obvious to me at first.


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