Here is how to get Cortana if you live outside the US

If you live outside the US and are now running the dev preview of Windows Phone 8.1, you may well be weeping at the absence of one of its most important features: Cortana. But weep no longer, because you can get Cortana outside of the US, and it's incredibly easy to set up. 

If you go into the settings of your device and change the region to US and then change the interface language to English (United States), you can get access to Cortana right now. Note that you may have to reboot your phone a couple of times but that’s a small inconvenience for getting access to the digital assistant. 

As of right now, Cortana is locked to the US but it will be expanding it to the UK and China later this year, with further regions gaining support in 2015.

We highly recommend you check out the digital assistant as the more you use the service, the more it integrates into your daily routine and can make your life a bit easier by predicting what bits of info you will need next.

If you are curious about what's new with Cortana - and the rest of Windows Phone 8.1 - you can check out our review here and also our video comparison of Google Now, Siri and Cortana, here.

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41 Comments

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I've got Cortana, but she not answering by voice to me, just plain text. Or just if you ask about weather or something similar, but not when you say something like, "What can I say?" it goes just for bing search..

It's a bit strange that they would not allow a roll out to at least the English speaking countries (regardless of accents). Also since the OS does better abroad than home you'd think they would prioritize getting it up in areas where they have a somewhat decent penetration. If there's one thing MS needs to get over it's the constant focusing on the US market (to the exclusion of important foreign ones).

So I've had no luck getting Cortana to appear. I'm running HTC 8x. I've set my Region and Language to English (US) and I've had no luck at all after many reboots. anyone have ideas? Is it an HTC problem?

daborg said,
?

I had the issue initally on Lumia1020 in Canada.

When I did a second reboot the region display language was "match region" which I explicitly changed to English (United States) and rebooted again.
After going into Settings and swiping right Cortana was sitting right at the top.

I wish I could say that this fixed my issue but I've played with those settings now at least a dozen times, rebooting each time. Alas.....I am still Cortana-less :(

daborg said,
I wish I could say that this fixed my issue but I've played with those settings now at least a dozen times, rebooting each time. Alas.....I am still Cortana-less :(

Have you checked to ensure that the keyboard is also English US? I missed that the first time around. So
- under Settings, Region, there's Country/Region (United States
- under Settings, there's Region Format (I picked match phone language")
- under Language, there's English (United States)
- under Keyboard, there's English (United States)

Is there a list on things you can say?

I never got to grips with Google's version as when I tried a few things, it just searched on Google for it instead of doing the command.

Sir Topham Hatt said,
.....

You can start with "What can I say?"
just like the previous iteration.

As apps developers update the number of things you say and type of grammars your device will respond to will become as unique as each user.

So far I've tried:
Wake me up at ...
Turn off my alarm
Book a meeting at
Play <artist>
and that's just since I got Cortana enabled.

I cant Change my Interface Language to English (US)
changing it to ENlgish (UK) works, but it doesnt give me acces to cortana....

anybody else facing this Problem?...

Same here, found in a forum that it could be a problem with the ROM on european (or non-US) HTC phones, which don't have English US available

I can't do this. English (United States) is for some reason not available to be set as my actual phone language. All other languages work. Is this Microsoft attempting to limit Cortana usage I wonder or am I doing something wrong?

Seems to be a thing with European HTC phones, which have no English US language available... at least thats what I found searching for a solution

dissapointing, again a very us centric version of windows phone. The swipe style keyboard doesn't even work with my language, cortana doesn't work, bing still sucks big time, ... Sigh, the notification centre is nice I guess :(

Steven P. said,
Ah just wish the weather tips displayed in C rather than F any ideas on how to change it?

They use stuff like farenheit and imperial measurements in the US, so as long as you're stuck with US region, I doubt that can be changed.

Cosmocronos said,
How to access it? I have everything set to US English but I do not see it...

Found it: you must keep "Location" setting on in order to use it....

Anyone who's done this do you know if you still lose access to the store and so on? Trying Cortana would be nice but then not being able to get into the store and get new apps is also a disadvantage. I'd hate to have to switch back and forth between regions often.

-adrian- said,
shame cortana doesn't understand the English language just the US one

Hmm, really? It understood Peter Bright at ars... but I think he has that "cup of tea oxford english" dialect. Do you?

I really want to switch to WP8.1 but it is too US-centric as of now. Bing Maps work best in the US. I can't imagine the navigation being better than Google Maps Navigation.

If I could Get Chrome's sync and Google Maps, I'd make the switch. And, QuizUp!

Ishanx said,
I really want to switch to WP8.1 but it is too US-centric as of now. Bing Maps work best in the US. I can't imagine the navigation being better than Google Maps Navigation.

If I could Get Chrome's sync and Google Maps, I'd make the switch. And, QuizUp!

What's wrong with nokia maps??

WP has Nokia's HERE services like HERE Maps or HERE Drive+, and they are better than Google or Bing services. I only found that Bing Maps existed on my phone when a webpage opened it for me, wasn't aware of it until then. :p

Nokia's HERE maps is really good in the UK.
Better than when I last used Android, but Google may have improved it.

Shame MS don't re-brand Bing things as HERE.... sounds a lot better IMO.

Ishanx said,
I really want to switch to WP8.1 but it is too US-centric as of now. Bing Maps work best in the US. I can't imagine the navigation being better than Google Maps Navigation.

If I could Get Chrome's sync and Google Maps, I'd make the switch. And, QuizUp!

well my is syncs now, good luck waiting for chrome though, google really hate Microsoft lately! Nokias Here maps absolutely crap on google maps though, faster, clearer and Here Drive is basically like having TomTom built into your phone.

Ishanx said,
I really want to switch to WP8.1 but it is too US-centric as of now. Bing Maps work best in the US. I can't imagine the navigation being better than Google Maps Navigation.

If I could Get Chrome's sync and Google Maps, I'd make the switch. And, QuizUp!

Nokia fixed all that on their devices because they are finnish and manage to see the world outside the US (that the bing team obviously doesn't). They replaced bing maps with their own. Their Nokia Drive app is fantastic and works just like any other gps-device (tomtom, etc.). PS: the phone should be charging while using drive ;).

ps 2: If anyone on the bing team sees this, please, for f**** sake, make bing international ! :)

I'm hoping given we were one of the first countries with Kinect voice, Australia will get it with the UK. Then again, we have pretty gimped Bing here.

It's a bad thing that you need to change the interface language too. Then I think I'll never get cortana... (I don't even got voice command for Windows on PC on my language)