How To: Make Cortana Your Default Assistant Option on Android Devices

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

June 19, 2017

12 Slides


There has been a shift in the force - the Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile force that is.

Although Microsoft continues to issue testing updates to Windows Insiders for mobile handsets under the Feature 2 development branch they have been focused on bug fixes and not any new features.

Then last week during the Windows Insider monthly live stream one of the questions asked was about Feature 2 and if there were any plans to move mobile back into the Redstone 3 development branch. The answer was that mobile would remain in Feature 2 for the foreseeable future.

The shift in the force I opened with is that more and more Windows Mobile enthusiasts are starting to move away from the platform and you will find discussions scattered across social media on those shifts to new handsets. Unscientifically, it seems fairly split between Android and iOS among those making a move.

I made that shift last year when I moved to the LG Nexus 5X full time and then earlier this year I moved to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and I have not looked back. I continue to keep a Lumia 640 on Current Branch and a Lumia 950 on Fast Ring for test builds but that is the only purpose they serve - as test devices.

The one plus that we have today in this situation compared to just a few years ago is the fact Microsoft products and services are readily available on Android and iOS. At this year's Build in Seattle we also heard about Windows Timeline where Microsoft is going to make it even easier to create an ecosystem between your Windows 10 computer and your Android or iOS mobile devices.

Even before Timeline arrives in September with the Fall Creators Update, Cortana is able to connect your Android device to your Windows 10 desktop Action Center and provide SMS reading/sending capabilities and with a recent update to the Android app you can now make Cortana the default assistance app.

If you have the latest update to the Cortana app on Android installed just search for Device Assistance App in your Android Settings and select Cortana to make it the default.

This means you can now do a long press on the Home Button on your Android phone and it pulls up Cortana instead of Google, or in the case of a Samsung Galaxy S8, Bixby.

A previous update added the ability to have Cortana available on your Android Lock Screen.

The Cortana app on Android has access to all of your Notebook information that you have previously granted access to and will display that on your device when requested. Plus, any updated information you add when using the Android Cortana app will be synched to your other devices.

Bottom line is that the process of shifting to a new platform does not mean leaving all of the services you are familiar with behind.

This gallery will give you a tour of the Cortana app on Android.


But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.

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