How To Set Up Voice Commands On Android And iOS Devices

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Gone are the days of playing Snake on our old-school Nokia phones. Today, you can do almost everything on your smart phone.

Handle everything from banking to work to social engagements all from the super computer in your pocket. One of most useful features is one that most people overlook — voice commands. You can do more than ask Siri for the weather or make your Android phone search Google.

Voice commands are the best way to optimize your productivity and turn your smart phone into the perfect multifunction tool. How can you set up voice commands on your Android or iOS device?

“OK Google” — Set Up Android Voice Commands

Android has offered voice activation since version 4.4 of its operating system was released. Simply say “Ok Google” to activate the Android’s voice commands.

If you haven’t turned this option on, it’s easy to fix.  Simply open your Google app and click settings.

You’ll see a couple of options — the first lets you set up voice commands for Android by turning on the voice activation. The second lets you access those voice commands from any screen, so you don’t have to open the Google app or an Android productivity app to take advantage of these tools.

how to set up voice commands

“Hey Siri” — Set Up on iPhone

Siri has been a part of the iOS for as long as we can remember, but until recently you had to tap the home button to activate her voice settings.

Now, you can use voice commands to activate Siri without touching your phone. Simply open the settings on your iOS enabled device, tap ‘General’ and select the Siri settings.

There, you’ll see an option to allow “Hey Siri,” which turns on those voice commands.

What Can I Do With Voice Commands?

Now that you’ve set up voice commands, what can you do with this newfound power?  Here are a few things you can do with both, Android voice commands and IOS voice commands, to make your life easier and improve your productivity.


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This is a general list — you might need to check the specific functionality for your device but for up-to-date iOS and Android devices, most of these voice commands should work as described:

  • Make a call. If you actually use your phone’s address book, simply tell your phone to call a name that’s saved in your phone’s memory.
  • Send a text. Same concept: tell your phone to send a text to X and then dictate the message.
  • Be a wizard. Are you a fan of Harry Potter? Activate your Android voice commands and tell your Android phone ‘Lumos’ to turn your phone’s flashlight on, or ‘Nox’ to turn it off. You can also use the silencing charm “Silencio” to turn off your phone’s volume.
  • Get scores for your favorite sports teams. Ask what the score is for your team and the information will be provided.
  • Find out what song is playing. Ask “What’s that song” and hold your phone up to the source of the music. If it’s clear enough, your phone should be able to identify the song.
  • Set alarms or reminders. Set an alarm to remind you to be somewhere or a reminder to call someone when you get home or get to the office. If you’ve got the addresses for places like home or work saved in your phone, your device will use your location to activate the reminder when you arrive.
  • Add events to your calendar. Similar to setting alarms, you can add upcoming dates or events to your calendar, so you never forget important meetings, appointments or deadlines.

All of this with the sound of your voice and without having to download another Android productivity app on your phone.

A Few Things to Remember

Setting up voice commands is a great way to get the most out of your phone, but there are a few things that you should remember when you’re talking to your phone:

  1. Speak slowly and clearly. Talk too fast and “What’s that song” becomes “What’s Up Song” and brings up a totally different result.
  2. Be considerate of others. No one wants to hear you screaming at your phone when your voice commands don’t work. Siri has a “Raise to Speak” option that activates Siri when you lift your phone to your ear, with her voice coming through the phone’s earpiece instead of the speaker.
  3. Make it a habit. Your phone will take a while to get used to your particular way of speaking, so make a habit to use your voice commands as often as possible.

Voice commands can be the best way to get the most out of your phone. Just be patient, speak clearly and make a habit of using Siri or Google, and you’ll find that tasks take a fraction of the time that they once did.

 

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.

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