How to use your iPhone hands-free with voice control

Here you can read how you can navigate and work on your iPhone without using your hands.

Image: CNET

Voice control is one of the new accessibility features introduced in iOS 13. With Voice Control you can give commands and use functions by speaking instead of by tapping or swiping the screen or by pressing buttons. You can ask your phone to go to the home screen, open a specific app, search the internet and more. With Voice Control you can also navigate through your phone and different screens and dictate and edit text – you can even add your own custom words. Voice control is available in iPadOS 13 and macOS Catalina.

SEE: Apple iOS 13: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The following steps explain how to keep your hands free by using Voice Control on your iPhone.

First make sure you use iOS 13.1 or higher on your iPhone. Navigate to Settings, select Accessibility and tap the Voice Control option. On the Voice Control screen, tap the link to set up Voice Control (Figure A).

Figure A

Read the information on the first installation screen and tap Continue. After reading the information on that screen, tap Done (Figure B).

Figure B

Voice control is now activated; A speaker icon appears in the top left of the screen to indicate that you are in Voice Control mode. If you are not sure which voice commands you should give, say “Show what I have to say” and the screen will show some commands that you can use. Otherwise, tap the Customize Jobs option and tap each category to see a complete list.

You can say things like “Go home,” “Go back,” “Lock screen,” and “Take screenshot.” To open an app, say “Open (app name).” For web searches, say “Search the web for (keyword or phrase).” If you want to disable Voice Control, say “Go to sleep” and say “Wake up” to enable it. While you give your order, the words appear on the screen for visual confirmation (Figure C).

Figure C

You can record the word ‘tick’, which works the same as a finger tap. If you see a link, setting or visual item on the screen that you want to open, say: “Tap (item name.)” (Figure D).

Figure D

If you want to display a screen grid with numbers for each section, say “Show grid” and then say the number of the area you want to see. The screen will zoom in on that area, and speaking another number will zoom in further or open the item corresponding to the number. When you are finished, the schedule should disappear; otherwise you can say: “Hide grid.” (Figure E).

Figure E

You can dictate and edit text in any text-based app. Open an app, such as Notes, and say “Dictation mode.” Start dictating your text now. As you dictate, you can say things like: “Undo that,” “Do that again,” and “Correct that.” To move around the screen, say “Move down”, “Move to end of word,” “Move to end of selection,” and “Move three paragraphs down.” For text selection, say “Select (word or words)” and say “Delete that”, “Cut that”, “Copy that” or “Bold that” to execute commands on the selected text. (Figure F).

Figure F

You can enable or disable any voice command. Go to Settings, select Accessibility and open Voice Control. Tap the option to adjust commands, and then tap a specific command. From this screen you can disable the command if you think you would never use it. You may need confirmation when you say this command and see alternative ways to say it (Figure G).

Figure G

To create new voice commands, return to the Customize Commands screen and tap the option to create a new command. Type the sentence that you want to use when you pronounce this command. Suppose you want to create a command that inserts your name; for the sentence, type something like: “Type my name.” Tap the item for action and select the option to insert text. Type your name in the text field and then tap the New Order link to go back one screen. Tap the Application entry to limit the command to one app, and then select that app; otherwise keep the option set to Any. Tap Save on the New Command screen and open a text-based app and then execute the ‘Type my name’ command to view the result (Figure H).

Figure H

To adjust some of the Voice Control settings, go to the main Voice Control settings screen. Here you can change the language, add a word to the dictionary via Vocabulary, choose to display visual confirmation or play a sound when you speak a command, show hints, cover a grid with names or numbers and wake up Voice Control when you look at your phone and go to sleep when you look away (Figure I).

Figure I

Finally, if you want to turn off Voice Control, say, “Turn off voice control.” To turn it back on, you must return to Settings, Accessibility and then Voice Control and set the switch to On again.

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