How To Use Cortana On Android Devices

Get the Windows virtual assistant for your Android phone

Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana comes pre-installed on Windows 10 devices and the latest Xbox consoles, but it's also available for other platforms including Android. With Cortana for Android, you can use voice commands to set alarms, compose text messages, and do anything the default Google Assistant can do on your smartphone.

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. The Cortana app is not available for Android tablets.

How to Activate Cortana for Android

To set up the Cortana voice assistant on your Android phone:

  1. Download and install the Cortana app from the Google Play Store.

  2. Launch the Cortana app and tap Allow to grant Cortana access to your location, which is used to bring you weather forecasts, restaurant recommendations, and more.

  3. Tap Sign In or Create Account to log in with your Microsoft account.

    Downloading and starting Cortana for Android
  4. Tap Agree to accept the terms and privacy agreement.

  5. Tap Turn On to add Cortana to your home menu, or tap Skip.

  6. Tap Allow to grant Cortana access to your microphone so that you can give voice commands.

    Setting up Cortana for Android

To better assist you, Cortana may also ask for permission to access your files (like photos, videos, and music) as well as your calendar, search history, microphone, camera, emails, and more.

How to Make Cortana the Default Voice Assistant for Android

You can activate Cortana by opening the app, but you can also make Cortana your default assistant:

  1. Open the Cortana app and tap the menu icon in the upper-right corner.

  2. Tap Settings.

  3. Tap Phone settings.

    Phone Settings on an Android device
  4. Tap Set Cortana as default assistant.

  5. Tap Cortana.

  6. Tap Agree.

    Setting Cortana as the default assistant on an Android phone
  7. Long-press the home shortcut on your phone at any time to talk to Cortana.

How to Talk to Cortana on Android

You can talk to Cortana through your phone’s mic.

  1. Open the Cortana app and tap the microphone icon.

  2. Give a voice command. For example, say one of the following:

    • Open Facebook.
    • Show me the top news headlines.
    • What’s 15 times 34?
    • Turn on Bluetooth.
    • Add a dentist appointment to my calendar for tomorrow at 2 p.m.
    • Set an alarm for an hour from now.
  3. Alternatively, tap the rows of dots beside the microphone to type your command.

    Making a request of Cortana on an Android phone

How to Customize Cortana

You can configure settings for Cortana to define how you want it to work. In the Android version, all information stored in your Cortana Notebook can be found in the Settings menu. This includes where you live and work, events you were invited to, local news, and your browsing history.

How to Use Cortana

Open the Cortana app and tap the compass in the lower-left corner to open the Discover menu. From here, set up skills, organize your calendar, create to-do lists, and more. To sync Cortana for Android with your other smart devices, tap the headphones icon in the lower-right corner.

Discover page and device button in Cortana app for Android

Why Use Cortana for Android?

If you're a regular Microsoft user, you might be more comfortable using Cortana than the Google Assistant. Cortana links well with multiple third-party apps like Eventbrite and Uber, so if you have trouble navigating those apps with Google Assistant, try Cortana. Cortana's search results come from Microsoft's Bing search engine, which is a powerful alternative to Google.