Setting up the “Hey Cortana” voice service on Lumia phones

There is good news for the fans of Lumia Windows Phones. After a long wait the Denim update is rolling out from the carriers to the handset. Denim consists of an OS and firmware update for the Lumia devices.

Cortana, the excellent voice-driven personal assistant, gets a few welcome updates in this version, including the ability to activate her by saying “Hey Cortana”.  So when my Lumia Icon was updated today and finished rebooting I tried the “Hey Cortana” phrase a few times with no results.  After some help from Twitter, I discovered that the feature is off by default.  Why?  Because you have to train her to recognize your voice.   I guess that keeps other Windows phone owners (or malicious bystanders) from activating Cortana on your device.

 

Steps to success

Here are the steps to activate and train the service.

First, open the settings app and then open the Hey Cortana settings.

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Then follow the steps shown in the following screenshots.

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Cortana listens when you say “Hey Cortana”, even when your phone is asleep or locked.  You can train Cortana so this phrase only works for you.

 

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Find a quiet place. Hold the phone in front of you, in your hand.  Speak clearly in your normal voice.  Say “Hey Cortana” when prompted. Remember to say it the same way every time.

 

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Conclusion

That’s it.  It take about two minutes to configure Cortana and she’s ready to help.

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