How to Use Microsoft Cortana on iOS and Android

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Everyone has a voice assistant these days. Apple products feature Siri, while Android devices conjure up Google Assistant. But on both mobile platforms, you can also tap into Microsoft’s Cortana to ask questions, issue requests, and find information via your voice.

Maybe you just want an alternative to Siri or Google Assistant, or perhaps you already use Cortana in Windows 10. Whatever the reason, you can download the Cortana app and ask it for help. Just as it does in Windows 10, Cortana can answer a variety of questions and respond to a range of requests. And best of all, Cortana can sync the same information and settings between your mobile phone or tablet and your Windows 10 PC.

(If you haven’t yet set up Cortana on your Windows 10 device or want to learn how to link your calendar, email, reminders, and other items, check out How to Use and Customize Cortana on a Windows 10 PC.)

Setting Up an Account

Setting Up an Account

Apple iOS users can download the Cortana app from the App Store, while Android device owners can snag it from Google Play. After installation, open the app. The first time you launch it, you’re asked if you want to allow Cortana to access your location. If you want to use the app to find location-based information, you’ll want to agree; otherwise you can deny the access and always enable it at another point should you change your mind.

Next, you’re asked to sign in with your Microsoft Account, the same account you use in Windows 10. If you don’t yet have an account, you can create one on the fly. If prompted, enter your email address and your password. You should also read the Terms & Privacy to learn what information Microsoft collects from you.

Once you agree to the terms, you are then deposited at the Upcoming screen, which shows you any upcoming events or other items or may simply display the weather forecast.

Connected Devices and Services

Connected Devices and Services

Swipe to the Connection section of the app to link third-party services so you can access and control them through Cortana. Tap the setting for Manage accounts to link Gmail, Outlook, and other email and contact services. Tap the setting for Music to link Spotify, iHeartRadio, and other audio services to Cortana. Tap the setting for Connected Home to link any smart home devices to Cortana.

Manage Skills

Manage Skills

From the Skills section of the app, you can view and customize various Cortana skills, such as the calendar, reminders, airline flights, weather, and restaurant reservations. Tap the setting for Skills you’ve enabled to see which skills are already turned on. Tap each of the other skills to enable, disable, or customize them.

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