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Cortana commands receive some final improvements for the Xbox One Summer Update

Cortana on Xbox
Cortana on Xbox

The success of her implementation has been a bit mixed so far. Unlike the legacy voice commands, Cortana processes information via the internet, meaning that she's been a little less responsive than what many of us are used to. Her margin of error is also much larger, as she falls back to a Bing search when she misunderstands a command, which can be frustrating.

Thankfully, Brad Rosetti just announced that Cortana has received some final improvements ahead of the Xbox One Summer Update's public launch, which should improve her functionality when navigating apps and games on the console.

Rosetti posted the following comments on the Xbox One's official preview forums (opens in new tab) a few moments ago:

"Cortana just finished her final lesson for launching games, apps, and TV channels. Users were reporting issues of "Open Netflix" "Launch YouTube" "Play Halo 5" "Watch NBC" and the like resulting in web search or marketplace search results instead of opening the correct app/game/channel. After this final lesson she is much better at launching the app/game/channel you ask for. Please give it a spin!"

Considering I'm currently writing a review of the Xbox One Summer Update, I'm hopeful that these latest changes solve the problems I have personally been experiencing with Cortana. Either that or she just hates my accent.

When Cortana is fully implemented on the Xbox One, she will (optionally) replace the old voice commands triggered by saying "Xbox." She will be able to tell you whether friends are online, invite them to parties, and perform all the usual tasks you might be used to on Windows 10 Mobile and PC with natural language. Beyond Xbox One functionality, developers will also be able to leverage her vocal recognition engine, allowing you to perform actions in other apps using your voice.

Still, you will be able to turn her off if you prefer the old-school commands, so bookmark the guide linked below. The Xbox One Summer Update should land very soon to coincide with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, so stay tuned.

How to turn off Cortana on Xbox One

If you're currently on the Xbox One Preview, give Cortana a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

42 Comments
  • I wouldn't dare turn Cortana off. Though I've had very little issues using her help.
  • Been mixed with me, sometimes she works well, other times (crucial times), she fails me, missed some cool game clips trying to get her to do the recording.
  • Why can't Xbox commands and Cortana work simultaneously? I found Cortana much better at opening games and apps, and things that required longer speech strings, but the Xbox commands were better for simple system functions, like turning off, and adjusting the volume.
  • Could they flash cortana over the xbox live because xbox live is offline if I remember right. Cortana might be more responsive to turn on and off if it was.
  • This is what I want.
  • I'll be keeping it off, nothing simpler than "Xbox, on" and all the other cortana stuff is fluff, nothing really compelling.
  • It's been quite mixed for me. Example, Cortana is better at turning on my Xbox with the hey Cortana Xbox on command where as the legacy voice command rarely worked. Still slightly disappointed about the internet based searches.
  • Agreed. When the Xbox is in standby, you can say "Hey Cortana, turn on" or "Hey Cortana, turn on my xbox" or "Hey Cortana, power on", or a bunch of others I've tried... I think even "Hey Cortana, wake up" worked (I can't confirm right now, since someone is watching the TV).
  • If you simply try Hey Cortana, you'll notice that the kinect comes alive as it waits for the rest of the command.
  • I noticed that too
  • How about if you have a PC or phone near by?
  • It is very bad as my phone and Surface try to respond.
  • Its really time to have Hey Cortana magic word to be customizable, at least we need it to have our devices have their own name and use that name to be a magic word for voice command activation. So we can customize it to be like: - "Hey 'Surface'" for my Surface Pro - "Hey 'PC'" for my desktop - "Hey 'Jarvis'" for my phone - "Hey 'Xbox'" for my Xbox One
  • My thoughts exactly! I want to use Hey Cortana on my Xbox but my PC or phone hears it as well. We need to be able to say "Hey Xbox" if we choose. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • We seriously need to make similar feedback about Hey Cortana activation phrase to be customizable for RS2. Since Cortana isn't confined to single device anymore, we must have a way to have them have unique identifier to activate Hey Cortana, no less. There can be also another more subtle and nicer implementation like Cortana intelligently knows which device are on active session and you "intent" using, but this is rather more advance stuff. We need to 'perfect' basics first (especially that customizable activation phrase for voice assistants isn't even new, Moto X phones for example).
  • I'd love to try the preview just don't know anyone using it..
    Cortana I'll leave on Xbox commands I find sluggish. Wonder if you can get additional mics as well as it doesn't always pick up my voice.. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • After the update, you can use Cortana with a headset mic, might be better than Kinect in some situations.
  • Something else to note: you *only* have the option to use voice control through a headset microphone or Kinect if you have Cortana enabled. If you disable Cortana and use the older Xbox voice commands, they will only work with Kinect.
  • Aye, that fact strikes me as kinda odd too.
  • It shouldn't. "Xbox" commands are processed locally which require the processor of the Kinect. "Cortana" commands are processed though, I believe, azure servers which can be recorded on any mic and require internet access.
  • She does work better as I just tried her. Good job.
  • I get tied of having all my devices launch Netflix when I ask my Xbox to do it, via "Hey Cortana". That's why I am thinking of switching back to "Xbox" for voice commands.
  • This is my only problem. If I'm sitting there with my Surface 3, Lumia 950, and Xbox ONE and say "Hey Cortana!"........ Three Cortanas are too much to handle
  • This is why need need a way to customize the "Hey Cortana" commands for each device with Cortana on it. Basically giving a unique device name we like. Its better also for detection of activation command, and less prone for other people activating Hey Cortana (though this rather rare next to none, depends on situation but there is a tiny possibility).
  • Thats whatbI did but I wish there was another way. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I think you had it sorted in the last podcast, needs two separate command possibilities, one for Xbox commands and Cortana for other stuff. Any news when the next Onecast will hit? And man, why no dictionary and predictive text when using the controller? My W10 mobile text etc is perfection. Must be such an easy addition.
  • It would be nice if she actually spoke.... " Good morning. How can I help you. Okay, I'm on it. Have a good night." Etc,etc.... The Windows phone version is guilty of the same thing. Give her some personality. Speak to us. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 1000% Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Indeed! Like they already featuring Cortana to be the most personalized digital assistants out there, but same as all other popular assistants, Cortana doesn't have nice greetings when activating her through voice command. There is actually still shortcomings about Cortana, like most of the time I ask for my calendar agendas. Cortana just simply tell me "Here is your calendar..." but she doesn't tell me what it is, I have to actually pull-up my device and read those information. Cortana has to speak complete every detail (also in more humane way) when I ask something through voice command.
  • Good thing about Cortana is you can select the number you wanna turn the volume up by
  • You could do that with the old commands too.  
  • Why can't I just say cortana turn on xbox Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Voice commands with Cortana on Xbox One are way way better in the last few builds. I just wish that we could disable the Auto Snapping if Cortana miss understands. I prefer if Cortana asked "shall I search the web for this" otherwise I have to call out the unsnap command and then try again, 9/10 I probably don't want a web search snapped automatically, but a simple toggle would be fine.
  • Hey Cortana is nice since you can speak conversonally " Hey Cortana can you turn on the xbox please". The problem though is my laptop and my phone also reply as well. Is there a solution in the works for this at all???
  • Sooooo... if I have my Windows Phone in my pocket, and my Surface beside me on the couch, and Cortana on XBO, and say "Hey Cortana,what will the weather be like tomorrow?", will I get the answer in stero?
  • Which WP did you have?
  • I still don't understand why they can't leave the legacy commands in place, AND let Cortana remain enabled. I love the speed of the Xbox... commands, but would also like to make sure of more advanced Cortana commands for other things. Just disabling the Xbox... commands overnight for the millions of people that use it is poor if you ask me.
  • Cortana has gone miles backwards from 8.1 on mobile, she's pretty much rubbish now.
    Setting an appointment, she has the right year and info displayed, once set it goes back to 2010 or similar.
    99 times out of 100 for everything else she just does not understand plain English and does the wrong thing.
    Reading texts via Bluetooth with 8.1 was flawless, now it never works.
    At this point, (I'm outside the US) I've given up, she just does not work, sadly she is rubbish
  • Nada here in India. I can see Cortana settings but it's not enabled yet. The message I get is wait for a future update. . Interestingly, i got a second groove app with background music but not enabled yet.
  • Does she take less than ten seconds to pause a show now? I turned her off because it took far too long to enact simple commands like that.
  • Does Cortana only take commands via Kinect, or are they recognized with a headset attached to the controller?
  • They're recognized via headset too.