How To Use Cortana On Android Devices

Get the Windows virtual assistant for your Android phone

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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 so on.

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

    Install and open the Cortana app, allow access to your device's location, and tap Sign In or Create Account.
  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.

    Accept the Microsoft terms and privacy agreement, choose to add Cortana to your home screen, then allow Cortana access to your microphone.

To better assist you, Cortana may also ask for permission to access your files (like photos, videos, 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 top-right corner.

  2. Tap Settings.

  3. Tap Phone settings.

    Tap the menu icon, then go to Settings > Phone settings.
  4. Tap Set Cortana as default assistant.

  5. Tap Cortana.

  6. Tap Agree.

    Tap Set Cortana as default assistant, tap Cortana, then tap Agree.
  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, you can say:

    • 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.

    Tap the microphone to speak your command, or tap the dots beside the microphone to type your command.

How to Customize Cortana

You can configure settings for Cortana to define how you want her 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’ve been invited to, local news, your browsing history, and so on.

How to Use Cortana

Open the Cortana app and tap the compass in the bottom-left corner to open the Discover menu. From here, you can 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 bottom-right corner.

Tap the compass in the bottom-left corner to discover what Cortana can do, or tap the headphones in the bottom-right corner to sync other smart devices with Cortana for Android.

Why Use Cortana for Android?

If you're a regular Microsoft user, then 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're having 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.