How to use Voice Controls on iPhone and iPad

It's been proven time and time again that when technology becomes more accessible, technology gets better for everyone. Voice Control is a new accessibility feature in iOS 13 that lets you speak commands to your iPhone or iPad. It's a huge boon for people with limited dexterity, mobility, and countless other conditions, but it's also a fantastic new way to interact with your iPhone or iPad hands-free.

How to set up Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

If you're using Voice Control for the first time, you'll need to set it up by following these steps:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Continue on the "Welcome to Voice Control" screen.
  5. Tap Continue on the "What can I say?" screen.

    Tap continue and then tap continue again.

How to turn on Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

Once you've used Voice Control before you can turn it on or turn it off by following these steps:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.
  4. Tap the Voice Control On/Off Switch. When the switch is green the feature is enabled.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, tap Voice Control, and the tap the On/Off switch.

How to disable commands in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

There are a ton of commands you can speak using Voice Control on your iPhone and iPad, and if there are certain commands you don't want to activate you can turn them on in the Voice Control menu.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Customize Commands.

  5. Tap the option for which type of command you want to disable. Your options are:

    • Basic Navigation
    • Overlays
    • Basic Gestures
    • Advanced Gestures
    • Dictation
    • Text Navigation
    • Text Selection
    • Text Editing
    • Text Deletion
    • Device
    • Accessibility

      Tap Customize Commands and the tap the type of command you want to change

  6. Tap the command you wish to disable.

  7. Tap the Enabled On/Off switch. When the switch is grey the command will no longer activate in Voice Control.

    Tap the command you want to disable and then tap the Enabled On/Off Switch

Once you disable a command, speaking the command to your iPhone or iPad won't trigger any action. If you want the command to function again, you can follow the exact same steps listed above to enable the command.

How to enable Confirmation Required for commands in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

Most commands don't need confirmation, meaning you speak the command and your iPhone or iPad does the action. If you want, you can require commands to need a confirmation, meaning after you say the command your iPhone or iPad will prompt you to execute the command and require you to either tap execute or say "tap execute" to proceed with the action. You can enable this feature for a ton of commands and it's all on a case by case basis, so you can pick and choose which commands needs this extra confirmation.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Customize Commands.

  5. Tap the option for which type of command you want to enable confirmation. Your options are:

    • Basic Navigation
    • Overlays
    • Basic Gestures
    • Advanced Gestures
    • Dictation
    • Text Navigation
    • Text Selection
    • Text Editing
    • Text Deletion
    • Device
    • Accessibility

      Tap Customize Commands and the tap the type of command you want to change

  6. Tap the command you want.

  7. Tap the Confirmation Required On/Off switch. When the switch is green the command will need confirmation to trigger.

    Tap the command you want and then tap the Confirmation Required On/Off Switch

How to create Custom Commands in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

There are a ton of commands in Voice Control, but you can even create Custom Commands to help you accomplish tasks that aren't available in Voice Control by default. You can create four different types of actions of custom commands in Voice Control, insert text, paste data, run shortcut, run custom gesture.

How to create a custom command to insert text in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Customize Commands.
  5. Tap Create New Command.
  6. Enter a phrase to speak to activate the command.

    tap customize commands, tap create new command, and then enter a phrase to speak.

  7. Tap Action.
  8. Tap Insert Text.
  9. Enter the text you want to be inserted.

    Tap action, tap insert text, and then enter the desired text.

  10. Tap Back
  11. Tap Application
  12. Tap the application you want the text to be inserted. This step is optional, the defualt allows the custom command to work in any app.

    Tap back, tap application, and then tap the application you want. This is an optional step.

  13. Tap Back
  14. Tap Save

    Tap back and then tap save

How to create a custom command to run a shortcut in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Customize Commands.
  5. Tap Create New Command.
  6. Enter a phrase to speak to activate the command.

    tap customize commands, tap create new command, and then enter a phrase to speak.

  7. Tap Action.
  8. Tap Run Shortcut.
  9. Tap the shortcut you want.

    Tap Action, tap run shortcut, and then tap the shortcut you want.

  10. Tap Back.
  11. Tap Save

    Tap back and then tap save

How to create a custom command to run a custom gesture in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Customize Commands.
  5. Tap Create New Command.
  6. Enter a phrase to speak to activate the command.

    tap customize commands, tap create new command, and then enter a phrase to speak.

  7. Tap Action.
  8. Tap Run Custom gesture.
  9. Tap or swipe to create the custom gesture you want.

    Tap action, tap run custom gesture, and then tap or swip to create the gesture you want.

  10. Tap Stop located at the bottom right of your screen.
  11. Tap Save.

  12. Tap Back.
  13. Tap Save.

    Tap back and then tap save

How to delete Custom Commands in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

You can delete any custom commands you have created at any time by following these steps:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Customize Commands.
  5. Tap Custom.
  6. Tap the command you want to delete.

    Tap Customize Commands. tap Custom, andthen tap the command you want to delete.

  7. Tap Edit.
  8. Tap Delete Command.
  9. Tap Delete Command again.

    Tap edit, tap delete command, and then tap delete command again.

This permanently deletes this command from Voice Control and you will no longer be able to speak the command phrase to activate this custom command. If you want to use this command again after deleting it, you'll need to create the command from scratch again.

How to add words to Vocabulary in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

Voice Control will type out any text you speak to your phone in a text field but you may use words or slang that it can't understand. Luckily, you can add words to the Voice Control Vocabulary to help your iPhone or iPad understand them, and thus be able to write them out for you.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Vocabulary.
  5. Tap the + button in the top right hand of your screen.

    Tap Vocabulary, tap the + button.

  6. Enter the word you want to add.
  7. Tap Save.

    Enter the work you want and then tap save.

How to remove words to Vocabulary in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Vocabulary.

  5. Swipe left on the word you want to remove.
  6. Tap Delete.

    Tap Vocabulary, swipe left on the word you want to delete, and then tap delete.

How to disable Show Confirmation in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

By default, when Voice Control is active, every command you speak will show up at the top of your screen when your iPhone or iPad recognizes the command. This visual confirmation can be reassuring, but if you would prefer the prompt to go away, you can disable it in your Voice Control settings.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.
  4. Tap the Show Command Confirmation On/Off switch. When the switch is gray the feature will be disabled.

    Launch Settings, tap acessibility, tap voice control, and then tap the show comfirmation On/Off switch

You can bring back the Command Confirmation prompts anytime by following the same steps listed above.

How to enable command recognition sound in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

If you'd like not only a visual cue that your command was heard but also an audio cue, you can enable the Play Sound feature

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.
  4. Tap the Play Sound On/Off switch. When the switch is green the feature will be enabled.

    Launch Settings, tap acessibility, tap voice control, and then tap the play sound  On/Off switch

Any time you don't want the sound to play for Voice Control any more, you can follow these same step listed above to disable the feature.

How to disable hints in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

When Voice control is active it will occasionally show hints at the top of the screen which will offer suggestions on what commands to use or options on various commands you can give. If you'd prefer that these hints don't show up, you can disable them in the settings.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.
  4. Tap the Show Hints On/Off switch. When the switch is gray the feature will be disabled.

    Launch Settings, tap acessibility, tap voice control, and then tap the show hints On/Off switch

You can enable hints again at any time by following the same commands listed above.

How to enable Item Numbers Overlay in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

Using the continuous overlay features in Voice Control, you can display numbers for each tappable part of the current screen display, that way all you have to do to activate something is say a command like "Tap four".

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Overlay.
  5. Tap Item Numbers.

    Tap overlay and then tap item numbers

How to enable Item Names Overlay in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

If you want the names of all the tappable items on any given screen, you can enable the Item Names in the overlay options in Voice Control.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Overlay.
  5. Tap Item Names.

    Tap overlay and then tap item names

How to enable Numbered Grid Overlay in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

By using the continuous overlay features in Voice Control, you can display a grid of numbers across the screen that will section the screen off into numbered sections. Once activated, you can then say some like "tap six" to get your iPhone or iPad to input the command in that numbered location.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.

    Launch Settings, tap Acessibility, and then tap Voice Control.

  4. Tap Overlay.
  5. Tap Numbered Grid.

    Tap overlay and then tap numbered grid

How to enable Attention Aware in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

Instead of turning Voice Control or off manually, you can activate the Attention Aware feature, which allows Voice Control to turn on when you're looking at your iPhone or iPad and to turn off when you aren't looking at your phone. Your iPhone or iPad has to support FaceID for this feature to work, but it does mean that when you're not looking at your device you can speak freely without your iPhone or iPad trying to execute commands.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.
  4. Tap the Attention Aware On/Off switch. When the switch is green the feature is active.

    Launch settings, tap acessibility, tap voice control, and then tap the attention aware on/off switch

You can disable this feature at any time by following the same steps listed above.

How to enable Improve Voice Control in Voice Control on iPhone and iPad

If you want to help Apple make Voice Control ever better, you can allow your iPhone or iPad to share your Voice Control activity and even samples of your voice to Apple to help them out. Of course, this may bring up privacy concerns so the feature is disabled by default.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Voice Control.
  4. Tap the Improve Voice Control On/Off switch. When the switch is green the feature is active.

    Launch settings, tap acessibility, tap voice control, and then tap the improve voice control on/off switch.

You can disable this feature at any time by following the same steps listed above.

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions about Voice Control, let us know in the comments below!

Updated September 2019: Updated for iOS 13.

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