How to use your iPhone 3G S Voice Contol

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Cool Stuff, Hints & Tips

So I have only played with the iPhone 3G S for few hours, but one of the cool features I was looking forward to trying was the new Voice Control. Only one problem. I had trouble figuring out exactly how to make it work. In most cases I am usually able to figure out how new iPhone features work. For this feature, I had to get some help from Apple’s support site and the iPhone 3G S User Guide. To save you some time, here is how to get this feature up and running on your new iPhone 3G S along with the command you can use to make it go. If you want to consult the manual yourself, here is the link (PDF) from Apple’s support site.

To activate the Voice Control feature:
Press and hold the Home button on your iPhone or press and hold the center button on the iPhone headset. After a second or two the Voice Control interface should appear and you’ll hear a beep indicating it is ready for your command.

Voice commands you can use:

  • Call a contact: Say “call” or “dial” plus the name of a person in your contacts to call that person. If they have multiple numbers the iPhone will prompt you for which number, i.e. “Home” or “mobile”.
  • Dial a number: Say “call” or “dial” and then the number
  • If you make a mistake: You can say “wrong,” “not that one,” “not that,” “no,” or “nope.”
  • Play music: Say “play” or “play music.”
  • Pause music: Say “pause”
    or “pause music.”
  • Change songs: Say “next song” or
    “previous song.”
  • Play an album, artist, or playlist: Say “play,” then say “album,” “artist,” or “playlist” and the name.
  • To enable shuffle: Say “shuffle.”
  • Get current track info: Say “what’s playing,” “what song is this,” “who sings this song,” or “who is this song by.”
  • Use Genius: Say “Genius,” “play more like this,” or “play more songs like this.”
  • Cancel Voice Control: Say “cancel.”

That’s it. I have to say the Voice Commands work pretty well right out of the box (at least with my “average” anglo saxon US voice). About my only complaints are that you have to constantly go in and out of Voice Command mode using the hold button technique described above and that the default voice is a bit tricky to understand at times. No OS X “Alex” here. That said it’s nice to have voice control on the iPhone (finally) and I look forward to get getting better in future updates.

There are 12 comments on How to use your iPhone 3G S Voice Contol:

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  1. Les Bartiromo | Jun 20 2009 - 01:23

    This is the main reason I wanted the 3GS. It sounds like “OnStar” for the iPhone! I’m envious but happy for you.

  2. Gwensonic | Jun 20 2009 - 04:39

    Surely you mean voice control — not contol? Can’t wait till the launch here in Ireland next Friday…

  3. mark Todd | Jun 20 2009 - 06:05

    I found that for an English UK accent it works but it is best to have the phone to the ear exactly the same way as you would make a call. I was disappointed to here that it does not currently work with bluetooth, as this was going to be my mechanism to control the iphone when in the car.

  4. Nicholas | Jun 20 2009 - 10:53

    This is such a great device that I love, that is so far ahead of any competition, that it seems a pity that just a few of the features such as Voice Control seem to be like pulling teeth to get them to work!

    I had a Samsung flip-phone 8 years ago (!) that worked well with voice control. How is it that Apple gets so many things right but can’t seem to get voice control right? Finally, we get voice control and we get stereo bluetooth, but we can’t get voice control to work on BT! I suppose it will take another year and maybe another phone to marry the two features. What can possibly make the two incompatible??

    It would also be more logical to a least be able to flip the default condition of VC. Allow VC to be the default and hold the home button down to get out of VC, for whatever reason! How about voice recognition to unlock the phone? Saying something like “iphone, call Cathy” should be enough to recognize the owner’s voice and “call Cathy” seamlessly!

  5. Greg | Jun 21 2009 - 07:35

    Has anyone found a way to use voice control to request podcasts?

  6. Steve | Jun 22 2009 - 06:18

    I found the voice control commands to be easy to use. My only suggestions would be to have an icon instead of the button function and add a song command such as “play this song”.

  7. Peter | Jun 22 2009 - 09:33

    This is perfect, thank you for the information.

  8. George Starcher | Jun 23 2009 - 04:25

    I also found it can dial by the nickname set on a contact. So you can take names it has an issue with and make it a one word shortcut name.

  9. Tom | Jun 23 2009 - 08:08

    The iPhone is a very cool device. More than the voice control I like the GPS-feature.

  10. jose villeta | Jun 28 2009 - 09:59

    voice control on the iphone makes me proud apple!

  11. luxury yachts | Jul 06 2009 - 11:00

    Thanks for the post. That’s really cool. I can’t wait to get my hands on a 3G S.

  12. Tim Yeadon | Jul 18 2009 - 04:00

    Will it really recognize even strange last names. I have a great friend of Polish ancestry whose last name is “Bradczyk”. (pronounced “Broad-sick”) Would it be able to recognize that name and dial the right one with that somewhat unique spelling ?