Can I do voice commands on Android?

Voice commands on Android devices allow users to perform tasks and get information hands-free using only their voice. With the rise in popularity of voice assistants like Google Assistant, Bixby, and Alexa, voice commands are becoming an increasingly common way for people to interact with their smartphones and other devices. Using voice commands can be quicker, easier, and more convenient than typing or tapping, especially when on the go.

Voice commands enable Android users to make calls, send texts, open apps, play music, get directions, check the weather, set reminders, control smart home devices, and much more through simple voice requests. The technology has improved significantly in recent years, with better speech recognition and more natural language processing. As a result, Android voice commands are now robust and accurate for daily use. This article provides an overview of how to activate and use voice commands on Android devices to take advantage of this useful hands-free feature.

Activate Voice Commands

To use voice commands on Android, you first need to activate and enable the voice assistant. The main voice assistant on Android is Google Assistant, which can be activated by saying “Hey Google” or “Ok Google” 1.

To enable “Hey Google”, go to Settings > Google > Account Services > Search, Assistant & Voice > Voice > “Hey Google” detection and turn it on 2. You can also train the assistant to recognize your voice for more accurate recognition.

Some Android devices, especially from Samsung, may use “Hi Bixby” instead of “Hey Google” to activate their voice assistant. You can change the wake words in the respective assistant’s settings.

Once enabled, you can activate Google Assistant at any time by saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”, even when your phone is locked or the screen is off. The microphone icon will appear as the assistant listens for your voice commands.

Built-in Voice Commands

Android devices come with a variety of built-in voice commands that allow you to control your phone hands-free. Here are some of the most common voice commands available on Android phones:

To make calls or texts:

  • “Call [contact name]”
  • “Send a text to [contact name]”
  • “Send an email to [contact name]”

To open apps:

  • “Open [app name]”
  • “Launch [app name]”

For navigation and directions:

  • “Navigate to [location]”
  • “Give me directions to [location]”
  • “Find [business name] near me”

To control music playback:

  • “Play [song name or artist]”
  • “Pause music”
  • “Skip song”

Other common commands include:

  • “Set an alarm for [time]”
  • “Set a timer for [number minutes/hours]”
  • “What’s the weather today?”
  • “What’s on my calendar today?”

You can find a more comprehensive list of built-in voice commands for your specific Android device model in your device’s user manual or on the manufacturer’s website.


Use Voice Access commands

The complete list of ‘OK, Google’ commands

Third-Party Apps

There are many third-party apps available that add voice assistant capabilities to Android devices. Some popular options include:

Amazon Alexa – Alexa can be installed as an app on Android phones and tablets, bringing the capabilities of Amazon’s voice assistant. Users can get information, create reminders/timers/alarms, control smart home devices, listen to music, and more.

Siri Shortcuts – Using the Shortcuts app, Android users can create custom voice commands that trigger actions on their device or other apps. It provides Siri-like functionality without needing an iOS device.

Other options include Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, SoundHound, Sherpa, and more. Third-party assistants expand the hands-free control and voice capabilities of Android devices.

Customize Commands

There are a few different ways to customize voice commands on Android devices:

Creating Custom Shortcuts

You can create custom voice shortcuts using the Google Assistant settings. This allows you to set up custom commands that trigger certain actions on your device. For example, you could create a command like “Good morning” that would turn on your lights, start the coffee maker, read the news, etc. Google Assistant Service allows you to create these custom commands without needing to say “Hey Google” first.

Using Third-Party Apps

Apps like IFTTT and Tasker allow you to set up custom voice commands that integrate with other apps and services. For example, using IFTTT you could create a command like “Post to Facebook” that would automatically create a Facebook post with your voice. Tasker allows creating custom commands like “Hey Google, ask AutoVoice to [custom command].” Tasker’s AutoVoice plugin enables this extensive customization.

With the right apps and services, you have a lot of options for tailoring Google Assistant to respond to specialized voice commands on your Android device.

Hands-Free Use

Voice commands on Android allow for hands-free use, which can be invaluable in situations where you need access to your phone but don’t have your hands available. The most common use case is controlling your phone by voice while driving. Android’s built-in voice commands and third-party apps like Car Dashdroid make it possible to place calls, listen to messages, navigate, and control music playback through voice alone [1]. This allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Hands-free voice control is also useful while cooking, cleaning, exercising, or performing other tasks that occupy your hands. You can set reminders, place calls, add calendar events, play music or podcasts, and more using only your voice. Apps like and Todoist integrate with Google Assistant to provide robust hands-free productivity tools.

The key benefit of Android’s voice command capabilities is the ability to fully control your device without having to touch it. This allows for safer, more convenient use in situations where you need your phone but don’t have hands available.


With the proliferation of voice assistants, it’s easy to think that voice commands on Android do everything. But there are inherent limitations with voice technology (

Voice commands work best for simple, straightforward tasks like setting alarms, sending messages, or playing music. They struggle with more complex multi-step commands and nuanced natural language ( Background noise, echo, mumbled speech, and connectivity issues can also impede voice recognition.

Android’s voice assistant may fail to understand uncommon words or names. Certain regional accents and languages are better supported than others. Voice commands aren’t well suited for privacy-sensitive tasks like banking or accessing personal data.

In the end, touchscreens and keyboards input more accurately than voice in many situations. While voice control capabilities are rapidly improving, current limitations mean it acts as a handy supplement to—not a replacement for—traditional input methods.

Security Considerations

While voice assistants provide hands-free convenience, they also raise privacy concerns due to their always-listening nature. Voice assistants like Google Assistant are designed to continuously listen for their activation phrase in order to respond on command. This means they are passively recording conversations in the background at all times (Source). Some users may find this troubling, as private conversations within range of the device could theoretically be collected and analyzed.

In addition, the voice data collected by assistants is often stored by the manufacturer and used to improve speech recognition accuracy. While companies state this data is anonymized, some privacy advocates argue users should have more transparency and control over how their recordings are used. There is also a risk of voice data being subject to hacks or unintended leaks (Source).

Users concerned with privacy can review settings to limit data collection, turn off the microphone when not in use, or mute the assistant entirely. Using unique wake words and passwords also helps secure access. However, disabling features reduces functionality. Ultimately there is a tradeoff between convenience and privacy with smart assistants.

The Future of Voice

Voice technology is rapidly evolving and expanding in capabilities. Here are some predictions for new voice capabilities coming to Android devices in the future:

Personalized Experiences – Voice assistants will become more customized to individual users, understanding preferences and habits to deliver a more personalized experience. They may even replicate voices of loved ones.
(Predictions for the Future Of Voice Assistants)

Search Behavior Changes – As voice assistants improve conversational abilities, users will increasingly rely on conversational queries rather than keyword search. Searches may become more interactive, with the assistant asking clarifying questions.
(Predictions for Voice Assistants and AI)

Expanded Device Integration – Voice assistants will expand beyond smart speakers to integrate with more devices like cars, TVs and wearables. This allows for expanded hands-free control.

Overall, voice technology on Android is progressing rapidly. We can expect more natural conversational abilities, personalized experiences, expanded device integration and new ways of searching and controlling devices hands-free. The convenience and abilities of voice assistants will continue to grow in coming years.


In conclusion, Android offers robust voice command capabilities through Google Assistant. With just your voice, you can launch apps, search the web, dictate messages, set reminders, and more. Built-in commands provide common hands-free actions, while third party apps expand functionality even further. With some customization of Assistant settings, you can fine tune commands to suit your preferences.

While voice controls do have limitations and privacy tradeoffs, the convenience provided for hands-free use while multi-tasking makes them highly useful for many. Voice command adoption will likely continue growing, becoming even more seamless and powerful. Android has set the stage with Google Assistant integration for versatile, voice-driven interactions.

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