What exactly is needed to activate Cortana?



Now that Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers is available, I was looking forward to testing out Cortana. However, it's initially available only in the US. For those outside the US, it doesn't seem to show up anywhere and the search button still launches the standard Bing app. The settings page can be reached by searching for "Cortana", but the option to enable the feature is greyed out and says "Not available in this region".

My question is, what exactly is checked to determine whether or not Cortana is available on a particular phone? Tom Warren says on Twitter that setting the phone's country/region to the US should suffice, but in my experience that's not the case, Cortana is still disabled (see screenshot below). Is something else checked for, like other region/language settings? Or the currently active mobile network? Or the region of the Microsoft account that the phone is connected to?


Posted 2014-04-14T16:24:10.760

Reputation: 8 960

What region is your Microsoft account tied to?Rowland Shaw 2014-04-14T16:29:43.057

@RowlandShaw UK.Indrek 2014-04-14T18:05:13.190



To activate Cortana the only thing you need to do is change the region and language of your phone to English (United States).

Krzysztof Kraszewski

Posted 2014-04-14T16:24:10.760

Reputation: 543

For the record this does not work for me. I'm not sure why. It could be because, even though I have region and language set to US I have an NZ billing address credit card attached to payment methods (not sure though). I do have an MSDN account but pretty sure it's set to the US region. Also I'm currently in the US and bought my phone here. No Cortana though.utunga 2014-10-30T21:30:35.050

The phone that I bought (in the US) was listed as 'international unlocked edition' when I bought it, that might have something to do with the fact that I don't get any Cortana even though Region set to US Regionutunga 2014-10-30T21:31:03.127

@utunga Hey, it may sound a little weird, but i heard that some people had to change Text to Speech voie to female. You can find it under Settings->speech.Krzysztof Kraszewski 2014-11-07T15:48:04.140


On several HTC phones sold outside the US, HTC decided not to install the 'US English' phone language. This currently makes it impossible to use Cortana.

You can switch the region, keyboard and speech language with such a setup but not the 'phone language'.. And the phone language must be EN-US to get Cortana today.

You can switch these phones to the 'English (Canada)' phone language, which is not enough to enable Cortana today, but I hope this allows enabling Cortana soon.

Bert Huijben

Posted 2014-04-14T16:24:10.760

Reputation: 121

1With WP 8.1 update 1 Cortana is available in more languages like EN-GB.Mikael Dúi Bolinder 2014-08-07T15:55:23.563


With the last Windows Phone Preview for Developers (2014-09-24) now even the HTC 8S and 8X support Cortana via EN-UK.

Bert Huijben 2014-09-25T10:56:50.187