How to enable “Hey Cortana” with Windows Phone 8.1 Update in Australia

Currently only USA and UK Windows Phones can access Cortana Beta. Some other countries such as Australia have access to Cortana Alpha. The “Hey Cortana” feature which allows you to start Cortana listening by simply saying “Hey Cortana” is not included in the Alpha and we have to wait patiently for the Beta. There is always the option to opt in to the Developer Preview and get the latest goodies, but if you’d prefer to keep your phone on a stable build and still get access to the “Hey Cortana” feature here’s a quick way to acheive it. In a nutshell you can change your phones region to UK just long enough to enable “Hey Cortana” and then switch your region back. After doing this “Hey Cortana” says it’s disabled in the settings but seems to keep working fine.

Here’s how to do it:

Settings | System

I’ve you are in Australia you should see that Region currently says Australia, English (Australia) and Speech is set to English (United Kingdom)

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (1)

Open the Region setting (it should currently be set similar to below)

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (2)

Change the Country/Region from Australia to United Kingdom and then press the restart phone button that appears once you change the Country/Region

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (3)

When your phone restarts go to Settings | System. Hey Cortana will still show as disabled

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Open the Hey Cortana settings you should now be able to switch this feature on.

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (6)

Continue on to setup (train) Cortana. You will only be able to do this while your Country/Region is set to United Kingdom, once we switch it back to Australia you will loose the ability to retrain.

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Once you’ve completed the Cortana training you should be back at the settings screen.

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (10)

Now your region will be set to United Kingdom, English (Australia)

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (11)

Now lets change the Region | Country/Region back to Australia. Select the restart phone button when it becomes available.

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Once your phone restarts go to Settings | System. You should find that Hey Cortana is disabled.

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But if you say “Hey Cortana” either while you phone screen is on (or even if you phone is locked with screen off), Cortana will respond by turning the screen on and making a beep sound. Cortana is now listening for your command.

enable-hey-cortana-australia-windows-phone-cameron-dwyer (15)

About Cameron Dwyer

Architect and developer at OnePlace Solutions. Passionate about delivering compelling solutions on the Office 365/SharePoint platform. Addicted to coffee.

Posted on March 4, 2015, in Windows, Windows Phone and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi, I have tried all of your instructions but after going into Hey Cortana it is still shows disabled by company policy. Can u help me?!


  2. Dear Cameron,

    I have tried changing the setting back to my region but, when I tried to use HC, there was no response. But, in your explanation, we still can use HC even if we change the region – not the same with the display language. Please help. Thanks!


  3. Hi, the hey cortana option doesn’t show up in settings😦


  4. I don’t think this works with the Nokia Lumia 640. No Hey Cortana options to select – only ‘Cortana’…?


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