Thursday, February 2, 2012

iPhone 4S owners may get to listen to the dulcet tones of Siri, but users of earlier iPhone models can also enjoy similar high-tech wonders through Apple’s “Voice Control” functionality.

It’s a limited tool, especially compared to Siri, but a useful one if you know how to use it correctly. To help you out, we’ve spent some time experimenting with the feature and have drawn up a quick list of tips and tricks.

Take a look through the gallery for some handy hints for using the iPhone’s Voice Control. Let us know in the comments about any other methods you’ve found effective.

1. Language Options

If you speak the language of the country you bought your iPhone in, then your default language setting should be correct.

If you do need to change it, go to your iPhone's "Settings" menu, select "General," scroll down to see "International" and hit "Voice Control."

Now you can choose which language you'd like to use from the list.

2. Press and Hold

To activate your phone's Voice Control function, press and hold the home button.

When prompted by the tone, speak your command straight away -- delays can cause unpredictable results.

If you're using a Bluetooth headset, press and hold the call button to activate.

3. Optimum Use
For best results, Apple recommends holding the phone to your face, as you would on a call.

If you do hold the handset in front of you, make sure it's no more than 12 inches away and that the mic is facing you.

4. Calling Commands

The key commands for calling are "call" and "dial."

Use "dial" if you're reading out a number that's not in your contacts, so, "dial 555-7919."

"Call" works for named contacts. So, "call John." If you have multiple numbers entered for contacts then add "home," "work," "mobile," etc. So, "call John at work."

If you have several contacts with the same name then add the surname too.

Don't use possessive names. Your phone will better recognize "call John on his mobile" than "call John's mobile."
If you want to FaceTime someone rather than call, then say "FaceTime John on his mobile.

5. Calling Tip

If your phone won't recognize a certain name, a workaround is to give that contact a nickname the phone will understand.

You can do this by going into the contact and hitting "Edit." Now scroll down to see "add field" and select "Nickname."

6. Music Commands

In addition to making calls, Voice Control can handle your music playback.

The basic commands for this area are "play songs by Artist Name," "play Album Name," "play Playlist Name," "pause," "previous song," "next song," "shuffle" and "play more songs like this."

In addition, your phone can identify music for you. If you ask "what is playing?" or "who is this song by?" you'll get the answer.

7. Music Tip

If your phone has trouble recognizing an artist or album name, put the tracks into a playlist and give it an easy to identify name.

When you want to hear that music, just say (for example) "play playlist 'summer songs.' "

8. General Commands and Tips

Finally, one other trick the iPhone's Voice Control has is the ability to tell the time.

Ask it "what is the time?" or "what time is it?" and the robo-voice will inform you.

Other useful commands to note are "cancel," "stop," "no" and even "nope."

9. Speak Up!

Do you use the Voice Control function on your iPhone?

Have you any more tips and tricks for the Mashable readership?

Have your say in the comments below.