Cortana is available on Xbox One, allowing you to use voice commands to control your TV, among other things. However, with Kinect effectively dead, you'll need to use some other type of microphone. Thankfully, you can use literally any 3.5mm microphone plugged into an Xbox One controller to get this kind of functionality, for now, but Microsoft is gearing up to remove the feature in the future. You can still use a 3.5mm mic, but your best, future-proofed alternative it an Amazon Echo Dot.

Products used in this guide

How to set up an Amazon Echo speaker for use with Xbox

To use Alexa or Cortana with Xbox One, you'll need a compatible smart speaker. Note that at present, these services are only available for U.S. and U.K. customers, with more territories planned for 2019.

  1. First, activate the skill on your speaker. Click here to activate the Alexa Xbox beta skill, and click here to find and activate Cortana for Xbox.
  2. You have to sign in with your Xbox-connected Microsoft Account to both services in order to use them.
  3. Follow the instructions in each corresponding app, and select enable to connect your speaker to your console.

How to set up Cortana with a 3.5mm mic

You can still use a 3.5mm microphone to use Cortana today, but it's going away in a future update. If you'd like to try it out, here's how.

  1. First, it's simply a case of plugging in the mini microphone (or any 3.5mm microphone) into your Xbox One controller.

  2. Once connected, the "no microphone" symbol should turn into a "headset" symbol at the top of your Xbox One dashboard.

  3. Once your mic is connected, press the Xbox button on your controller to open the Guide.
  4. Navigate right to the Settings menu.

  5. In the Settings menu, navigate to Kinect & Devices, and then Digital Assistants.

  6. In this menu, make sure the Enable digital assistants is checked on.

  7. Press B to go back to the Settings top menu.
  8. Navigate up to System and select Cortana settings, to configure your preferences.
  9. Now, saying "Hey Cortana," followed by your command, should allow you access to her features. Try saying "Hey Cortana, go home" to return to the dashboard.

Cortana should now work for any of her usual internet-based commands, as well as her Xbox-specific ones. Do note however that if you have a Harman Kardon Invoke or Amazon Echo speaker, Xbox commands will default out to those devices instead of your mic attachment by default.

Our top equipment picks

A mini mic connected to your Xbox One controller will enable Cortana remote voice commands on your Xbox without breaking the bank, but since Microsoft is removing this functionality soon, you're best off getting an Amazon Echo Dot instead.


Amazon Echo Dot

Cheap and cheerful voice commands

The latest version is a truly great, tiny speaker with solid sound, and an attractive design, all still at a great price.

Mini mic fun

Saramonic Mini Smartmic

Enable Cortana commands on the cheap

While an Amazon Echo or Harman Kardon Invoke is probably more versatile, you can get full Cortana integration on your Xbox controller with this cheap and cheerful add-on.

World's greatest controller

Xbox One controller

A pretty essential Xbox gaming accessory!

The Xbox One controller comes with every console, but if you're rocking an older model without a 3.5mm jack, you'll need one of the newer models to enable this functionality.

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