Does Cortana have an "always listening" mode so I can launch her without physically touching my phone, by speaking a specific word or phrase? Like Kinect has "Xbox", Google Now has "Okay, Google" and Siri will have "Hey, Siri". This would be handy when driving, for instance.


Yes, the Lumia Denim firmware update will enable a voice-activation feature called "Hey Cortana" on supported phones. You'll have to switch it on in your phone settings, and then train Cortana to recognise your voice, after which you'll be able to activate her without touching your phone.

For more information, see the following links:

Old answer:

It seems Microsoft may be planning to add this feature to Cortana, as explained in this article on WPCentral. Apparently Marcus Ash, the Group Program Manager for Cortana, teased this feature on Twitter (emphasis mine):

Something to think about as we design voice activation for #Cortana. Don't want Jesse sending texts on your behalf. http://mashable.com/2014/06/13/aar…

WPCentral goes on to speculate, however, that voice activation may only be supported on newer devices with Snapdragon 800 and higher chipsets. As of the writing of this, that would only include the 1520 and the 930 / Icon.

Update: Voice activation has been confirmed to be a part of the upcoming Lumia Denim firmware update, scheduled for release later this year. As suspected, it will only be available on phones with Snapdragon 80x chipsets.

Update: Cortana voice activation demoed on a Lumia 930 with the Denim update.

  • 1
    You may want to update your answer to include the fact that it is now available.
    – RareNCool
    Mar 12 '15 at 18:33

No. Unlike Google Now(on some phones), this feature is not yet available. You can provide a suggestion at Cortana Feedback. Since there already is a feedback regarding this, you can Vote for it there.


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