No Voice Control for iPhone 3G, iPod Touch and first gen iPhone



image One of the main features of iPhone 3G S is called Voice Control, which allows you to place a call or play music just by using voice commands. It’s not part of the iPhone OS 3.0 as everyone presumed. The reason behind this can be attributed to the faster processor and larger amount of RAM in iPhone 3G S, which makes it more suitable for an intensive task such as Voice Control. Even the current generation iPod Touch, which has a support for a mic which you can Skype with, doesn’t support this feature. The iPod Touch is a bit faster in performance than the iPhone 3G, so Voice Command could be touted as a main selling point to give users a reason to upgrade to the iPhone 3G S.


So, if after upgrading your current iPhone to OS 3.0, you find this feature to be missing, now you know why it’s not there in the first place at all.

Technology enthusiast, Internet addict, photography fan, movie buff, music aficionado.
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  • JD

    I had a “free” motorola phone three years ago that had voice command feature. Remember the Razr? Both of these phones had this feature and neither of them where in anywhere near as powerful as the first generation iPhone. Your blog implies the older iPhones do not have the raw processing power to support this feature. Where are you getting your info?

    • Even my old Sony Ericsson has voice command and dialing support.
      But apart from either of these 2 possible reasons that I stated above (read it again please), one being 3G S faster than the 3G and other being wanting people to upgrade to 3G S, what do you think could be the reason?

      • SL

        This can’t be right. Try the google app for the iPhone 3G, it works just fine for running a voice-activated google search – i’m pretty positive that processing power / RAM is not the issue here. apple probably wants to differentiate the 3GS as much as possible to entice current 3G owners to upgrade, and is intentionally withholding this feature from 3G owners. Which is a pretty typical Apple move, wouldn’t you say so?

      • billy bob

        I hate to disappoint you Imran Hussain – but out of everything that has been developed for the iPhone 3G – probably most of it completely under-utilized the hardware capabilities of the device.
        _
        Unless the processor is a different technology that handles implementation differently (ie RISC vs x86) a speed bump from 400 to 600Mhz is not enough to make a difference. 1Ghz to 2Ghz maybe.
        _
        RAM from 128 to 256 MB – again no.
        _
        Back in 1998 I was running First Gen Bondi iMacs with Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on 256MBs RAM and 233Mhz processors without any problems. Additionally – this was all done at 1024×768 full color. Voice Control is not a fraction as complex as those 2 Apps.
        _
        Maybe they did a hardware correction and tweaked the software specifically for it. Which they have done on their Desktop Apps in the past. Current versions of Final Cut Pro are a good example. They have a minimum hardware tollerence and refuse (under normal conditions) to install on machines under the required specs.
        _
        However – this does not mean that the software will not indeed run on the lesser hardware. What usually is the case is that building video projects is no problem. Rendering the video for output will however take an exuberant amount of time. And in most cases this is a good thing for Apple to not put their customers thru this.
        _
        But bypass the hardware check – and the software installs. Runs just fine – rendering ends up a little slow but I don’t work in Hollywood on 2-hour feature length films either.
        _
        Apple wanting to push the new Phone is viable. But subtle speed and capacity increases on the hardware is not.
        _
        All these Blogs are echoeing every one else – why doesn’t someone try and dig up some hard facts and quit being parrots?

        • I guess you don’t know how voice recognition works in the new iPhone. It’s works differently than other cell phones out there, and your comparison with video is really out of context.
          And I haven’t echoed anyone’s opinion but cleared Apple’s stance of why there’s no voice control for the older hardware.

  • JulieD

    But remember, the Razr and old Ericssons required you to prerecord your voice dialing commands. Therefore only allowing a certain number of recordings to be entered before the memory was full. On the iPhone 3GS, there is no prerecord required, which is a significantly more complex program, thus perhaps justifying the need for a larger processor. I’m not saying I like it, but just imagine the complaints that would ensue if the iPhone 2g kept crashing every time the voice control was used??

    • Jack D

      No, the KRZR for example has a processor that’s too weak for Java, yet it needs no prerecorded voice commands.
      It even works over Bluetooth with any hands free kit, just press one button for 2 seconds on the hands free and simply say, p.ex., “dial Jack Bauer mobile” – it will then look up Jack Bauer in the phonebook, if there is someone with a similar name it will ask in a polite voice “did you say: dial Jack Bauer mobile?” If you answer with a simple yes, the call is on its way.
      Great when you’re driving, and lightyears ahead of any solution iPhone 2G and 3G users have to deal with (like the crappy iphone-ready handsfree kits from Parrot which are included in Kenwood car stereos and only pick the contact out of the contact list, but cannot differentiate if you have more than one phone number assigned to one contact Oh, and they don’t dial the number, you have to make the call by pressing a button, too).

      But if a KRZR can make this work, any iPhone should be more than capable of voice commands.

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  • Charlie

    Yeah, i am wondering because i am going to be buying an iPod Touch and i will wait for the new one coming out in September 2009 and i would like it to come with Voice Control!
    Will it?
    Does anyone know?

    • who would you call with that? (sarcasm)

      • Charlie

        no, just to like play a song or somfin no to dial or call!

  • Paul

    Microsoft Windows Mobile has had full system voice control (contacts, battery/signal status, date/calender, media player, contacts, etc) that is completely phonetic (ie no pre-recording) for years. Keep in mind they did this with phone with 32 megs of ram and 200 mhz processors. Didn’t stop me from buying the 3Gs, but still kinda lame.

  • Landi

    Even my girlfriend has a voice control feature (albeit not perfectly implemented) and I doubt she can process faster than old Motorola model. Although on the other hand she can’t multitask either and better models are far more expensive, so I think it makes sense :)

  • mikeymike
  • Phillip

    Jeesh. Had voice dailing on my Palm Treo. WTF Apple.

  • Bill

    Yeah…. I fully expected to get this feature on my 3g after upgrading to 3.0. I really don’t think the hardware is a factor, rather it’s being held back as another motivation to upgrade to 3g s.

    Perhaps they’ll find a ‘magic’ work-a-round to get it working in a few months.

  • Otoso

    I love my original iPhone and don’t see a reason to upgrade to 3G or 3GS. The only feature I always missed was the Voice Control. I had a Motorola Razr 5 years ago that had very decent voice dailing (limited command) and this DID NOT require any pre-recording. It was genuine voice recognition. I could care less about controlling the iPod library and functionality with the voice control but it would be great to be able to make quick phone calls rather than fumbling around the contact list.

    I just don’t believe that the original iPhone on which you can play ridiculously processing intensive games could not handle a task that Razr did effortlessly 5 years ago. I am really convinced that Apple did this intentionally to push people into buying the 3GS (the iPhone and iPhone 3G were already so good that they are running out of reasons to have people buy new HW). So… Apple. I am very disappointed with this!

  • Yoyo

    The voice command isn’t available to older generations of iphone for the same reason that video recording isn’t available. This is Apple’s way of getting you to buy a new phone. I think it sucks. Especially since older and supposedly less advanced phones have had these features all along.

    I bought a $500 iPhone, but can’t get the latest features because Apple thinks I should buy a new one. This gives me even greater motivation to keep my old phone.

    Four disappointments that make me not want to spend another dime on this phone are – No voice control, no video recording, no tethering (in the US), and no MMS (in the US). *I know the last two are issues with ATT… but they are two issues with a provider that Apple has exclusively selected to provide service to their iPhone customers. 4 Fails.

  • jlvr

    i have a first gen iphone jailbreaked to 3.0 whith redsnow and i download a video recording app from cydia called cyrcorder it is a very handy camera that uses ur camerra as a video camera and never crashes and also it can handle the vicecomand downloaded from appstore its called vlingo(free) the problem is that is an app which means it does not uses the home button as in the iphone 3GS you have to go open the app an then say your command inside the app
    it means you have to keep the app running so it is not as handy as the 3GS but the point is that it can handle it whit no problems

  • Gtank

    The google mobile app. Is implementing voice search within the app and it does not have any problems processing or analysing for your search. The whole reason is to give the 3GS more features than any onther iPhone or iphod so people have to upgrade if they want the newer features. Same with a video camera could be included with low res video, but still works. In the end it’s all about Making money! (just saying)

    • VegasK

      Could be included with high-res video, too.

  • andyjunk

    Yeah, I have an OG Iphone and I know it can support the voice control features. The Google app and the Vlingo app are both FREE and you can do make calls, search maps, do Google searches, and update Twitter with your voice. Wish I could text with them though.

  • Nanujoe

    We all keep complaining put still go to the trough to drink in the apple.

  • pete11of16

    Okay, I admit that I should have researched the voice dial thing before I bought my iPhone 3G. I waited for the 3G because I wanted to let apple get the bugs worked out of the system, so I resisted getting a first gen iPhone. When the 3Gs came out I went for it. Technically that IS my fault, but COME ON! I was so excited to go get the coolest, most advance phone on the planet, that I did not even THINK of asking about the voice dial feature. WHy? Because I assumed that it would be there. My stupid free LG phone that came with my Verizon contract three years ago had a voice dial feature that work almost flawlessly and never needed any training or pre-recording. So I am stupid to have assumed that the most advanced, userfriendly smartphone on the planet would have that feature. I think not. Shame on you, apple. This was a huge mistake. Voice dialing, without having to touch my phone (just a simple touch on my bluetooth earpiece) was the the most useful feature I have ever used on any phone. And my iPhone 3G can’t do it. And you know the worst thing? I still love my iPhone almost as much as myself. Frakkin apple… I hate you… I love you… NO!!! I Hate You!

  • Mike

    Before the new iPhone 3gs (I still have the 3g) I bought an app called ‘Vocalia’. It isn’t internet based, it resides on your phone. No ‘voice tags’ needed, it just pulls from your contacts with no training necessary. It does it really well, they have constantly been upgrading it. If there are multiple choices for a contact you can speak to choose which one you want too.
    After the 3.0 software upgrade, Vocalia can now also control the iPod functions as well, and does Safari bookmarks. It too scrolls available commands across the screen if you want it to. So it’s functionality seems to be the same as the iPhone3gs, and since I keep it on my 1st home page, sliding to unlock and clicking on Vocalia is not too much slower than holding the home button for 2 seconds in my eyes.
    Also, from another article I read (https://www.maccast.com/2009/06/19/how-to-use-your-iphone-3g-s-voice-contol/) , you ALWAYS have to hold the home button for 2 seconds to re-activate the Voice Command for different functions, it doesn’t constantly run in the background – “About my only complaints are that you have to constantly go in and out of Voice Command mode using the hold button technique described above”. So that’s just like an app that always closes and has to be re-opened, like Vocalia.
    So this leaves me really confused on how the new Voice Command on the iPhone 3gs couldn’t be duplicated on the 3g. Other than, of course, to market one more difference between the two models.

    • G’day from Australia. Thought I’d chip in my 10c. I’ve recently upgraded from 3g to S. Voice control has been 99% accurate. But it still doesn’t satisfy my need. I’m a plumber by trade and quite often getting down and dirty under some old house. Can’t always touch my phone (dirty hands, hands full etc). Few years back I had a S.E. p800 touchscreen ( read: PRESSscreen! ) PDA gadget with the stylus and all. It was marvelous tech at the time. Built to compete with Nokia 6600 and earlier ( and first ever nokia cam phone ) 7650. The S.E. was a complete failture in terms of user friendly, battery, etc. However, it handled voice commands in a way that I think is the future of this technology. It had a feature called “magic word”. You recorded a unique phrase in your own voice and the phone was constantly “listening”. When detected, you could say, “answer, reject, call, dial, etc etc”. This meant you could make AND take a call without touching your phone. Reason for failture? Battery life was halved when “magic word” feature was on.
      Until you can operate a gadget without touching it, voice control & command is just a fancy feature. Why would I hold a button for 2 seconds, say “next track”, and wait for the bloody thing to change tracks when I can double tap home and do it in a second? I admit it’s good for dialling. But the 2-second-button-bashing kills it. Just pressing power + one of the volume keys together would have made more sense (hold the iphone in your right hand, thumb on power, index finger on volume, or even easier in left hand).
      Anyways, great device, God I hate Apple. Da’s my 10c worth.

  • Has anyone noticed that using voice control for contacts that are just business names (i.e. they have no first and last name) doesn’t work? It’s a pain in the a$$. Am I doing something wrong? Seems like the only workaround is to go into the contact and add a first and/or last name. Then it works fine.

  • Scott

    what is voice control for? Everytime Im playing my music from my iphone, voice control takes over and interferes? What do i need to do so this stops happening.. Its annoying and once it starts it keeps beenping.. HELP me..

  • Scott

    what is voice control for? Everytime Im playing my music from my iphone, voice control takes over and interferes? What do i need to do so this stops happening.. Its annoying and once it starts it keeps beenping.. HELP me..

  • Name

    I try to get my voice control up by holding the home button, but it doesn't come up!

  • Name

    I try to get my voice control up by holding the home button, but it doesn't come up!

  • hnb

    Back in the early 90s I had a Windows 3.1 PC 486/33mhz with 4MB ram and a Soundblaster 16 that came with speech recognition program. It worked FLAULESSLY and let me run commands, make shortcuts, even dial numbers with netspeaks legendary webphone. that was almost 20 years ago!!! So please Apple, do not insult our intelligence that you could use a software update. I had all the iphones so far, the original 2.0, the 3G (jailbroken) and now the GS. I see very (if any) differencies in the 2 latest. the only thing that found convenient was the camera / picture integration and the editing video functionality although its crippled. The compass SUCKS! totally useless. Battery life is the same junk. For those of you who are seriously thinking of buying the GS, stick to the 3G and jailbreak the crap out of it. I speak from experience.

  • Luckie_Steve

    The basic fact is that the iphone 3G is quite capable of instituting the SOFTWARE controlled voice command available in the 3GS, as well as the video recording abilities.. However apple wishes you to upgrade to a shiny new EXPENSIVE 3GS!! and if they backpedal now and allow it in a newer firmware update then they are just going to cop more flack for lying in the first place lol. My old Nokia N90 had voice dialing and even minor application support (calculator, clock etc) at the press of a button on the side, don’t tell me the iphone 3G can’t process it how dumb do you really think we are steveo ;)

    On another point all together, I do not understand why there has now technically been 4 generations of iphones and they still haven’t put a low resolution camera in the front side of the phone to allow video calls!! I mean come on apple as if that wasn’t something you SHOULD have done with the release of the 3GS…

  • Beth

    ive got the iphone and i saw about the voice control, i though it looked good so i thought i might give it a go they say '' hold the home button'' but after almost a miniute it didnt work ? i dont understand it worked when my brother had one but mine doesn't can somebody please tell me why or help ?