How to Use Voice Control on iPhone and iPod Touch

Use your voice without your iPhone talking back

woman speaking into a smartphone

Witthaya Prasongsin/Moment/Getty Images

When it comes to talking to your iPhone, Siri may get all the attention. It's not the only way to control your iPhone or iPod touch using your voice, however. In fact, Siri wasn't even the first way to do this. Before Siri, there was Voice Control.

Voice Control is similar to Siri, but has fewer features. It only lets you control the Phone, FaceTime, and Music apps by speaking into the phone's mic. Though Siri later replaced Voice Control, the older feature is still hidden in the iOS and is available if you prefer it to the virtual assistant.

Here's how to enable Voice Control, how to use it with various apps, and provides tips to make using it more effective.

Voice Control is compatible with devices running iOS 3 and higher. These instructions use iOS 13.

How to Enable Voice Control

On modern iPhones and iPod Touches, Siri is enabled by default and can't be turned off. But you can turn on Voice Control by following these steps:

  1. Tap the Settings app.

  2. Tap Accessibility.

  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Voice Control in iPhone Settings
  4. Select Set Up Voice Control.

  5. The next screen shows an overview of things you can do with Voice Control. Select Continue.

  6. Tap Done on the next screen to finish enabling Voice Control.

  7. When Voice Control is on, an icon will appear at the top of the screen.

    Finishing enabling Voice Control on an iPhone

How to Use Voice Control

With this setting enabled, Siri is still active as long as you're connected to the internet. But Voice Control works as a hands-free way to control your phone. You don't need a passphrase like "Hey, Siri" to activate it. You can just say things like, "Open Messages," "Go home," and "Tap <item>" to navigate around your phone.

How to Customize Voice Control

You can decide which commands you can issue to Voice Control. They're all on by default. Here's how to decide what you can do with Voice Control.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Select Accessibility.

  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Voice Control in iPhone Settings
  4. Tap Customize Commands.

  5. You'll see the available categories of commands that Voice Control supports. Select one to see the specific commands.

    Customize Commands in Voice Control settings on an iPhone
  6. Tap a command to see its options screen.

  7. Set the toggle switch to disable the command. This screen also shows the phrases you can use to activate this option.

  8. Turning on Confirmation Required will make you confirm a command before Voice Control makes it.

    Customize Voice Control commands on iPhone
  9. Repeat these steps for every command you want to modify in Voice Control.

What You Can Do with Voice Control

Voice Control lets you navigate and use your iPhone almost completely hands-free. Here are some of the things you can do with this feature:

  • Open apps
  • Return to the home screen
  • Tap buttons
  • Select, delete, and modify text
  • Scroll up and down on web pages and app screens
  • Drag items
  • Use 3D Touch
  • Take screenshots
  • Reboot your device

Check the commands section in the Settings app on your iPhone for a full list of what Voice Control can do.

Languages Supported by Voice Control

Chinese (Cantonese)

Finnish

Norwegian

Chinese (China)

French (Canada)

Polish

Chinese (Taiwan)

French (France)

Portuguese (Brazil)

Danish

German

Portuguese (Portugal)

Dutch Greek Russian

English (Australian)

Italian

Spanish (Mexico)

English (U.K.)

Japanese

Spanish (Spain)

English (U.S.)

Korean

Swedish