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Top 5 tips and tricks for using Samsung S Voice

Samsung went to the trouble to make its own voice-recognition app — here's how to use it.

S Voice is the bundled voice command application that comes with the Galaxy S5 and other Samsung devices which allows you to take all sorts of actions without having to fiddle with your phone. These five tips will get you up and running with S Voice in no time.

Setting up S Voice on the Samsung Galaxy S5

S Voice

Before diving in, let's just make sure S Voice is working properly for you. S Voice should be ready to go right out of the box. Just press the home button twice at the bottom of the device in the center and a screen should pop up with a little microphone at the bottom. If not, you may need to enable the shortcut.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the home screen, and tap the gear in the top-right to go into settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap S Voice.
  3. Tap "Open via the home key" if the box is not already checked.

Set a custom wake-up command

S Voice wake-up command on the Samsung Galaxy S5

Setting up a custom voice command can wake up S Voice without even needing to touch your device. All you have to do is say the wake-up command while S Voice is open. By default, the command to do this is "Hi Galaxy," but you can change it to something a little more your style. It's worth noting that this does not work like "OK Google" does from every screen.

  1. Start S Voice by pressing the home button twice. The home button is at the bottom of the device, in the center.
  2. Tap the three dots in the top-right to bring up the menu, and tap Settings.
  3. Tap Voice wake-up, then tap Set wake-up command. If you can't tap Set wake-up command, you may need to tap the switch in the top-right first.
  4. The next screen will prompt you to say your wake-up command four times after tapping the microphone button. Make sure you're in a relatively quiet area before trying to do this, or else it won't recognize what you're saying.

Know the S-Voice commands

S Voice can be a little stiff when recognizing commands, so be sure you know which commands you're likely to use most often and how to say them so S Voice can be its most useful. Some of these you might not have even realized were options. Here is a list of S Voice commands and examples of how to use them.

  • Voice dial - "Call Charlie mobile"
  • Message - "Text Katie message Are you free tonight for dinner?"
  • Seach contacts - "Look up James"
  • Memo - "Memo Send mom a card"
  • Schedule - "New event Lunch with James July 21st at 1 PM"
  • Task - "Create task Concert review due May 18th"
  • Music - "Play artist The Beatles"
  • Social update - "Twitter update Why do humans live so far north?"
  • Search - "Google Population of Portugal"
  • Open app - "Open Calculator"
  • Record voice - "Record voice"
  • Set alarm - "Set alarm for 6:00 AM"
  • Set timer - "Set timer for 2 minutes"
  • Control simple settings - "Turn Wi-Fi off"
  • Navigate - "Navigate to Cambridge, MA"
  • Hear news - "Read the news"
  • Weather - "What is the weather for today?"
  • Get an answer - "What is the highest mountain?"

Go totally hands-free

Car Mode on the Samsung Galaxy S5

If you're behind the wheel, S Voice can read out your incoming messages and accept hands-free commands at the same time. This is called Car Mode, and can be activated easily. S Voice and Car Mode are separate features though, so you won't have full access to every S Voice command when activated. Ironically enough, you can't turn on Car Mode from S Voice. Here's how to get started with Car Mode.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the three tiles icon in the top-right to view more settings toggles.
  2. Find and tap Car Mode.
  3. If launching for the first time, you'll need to agree to the terms of service and pair up with your car's Bluetooth audio system, if it has one.
  4. Once launched, Car Mode will listen for Hi Galaxy, just like S Voice and allow you to launch phone calls, dictate messages, start navigation, and control media playback. You can also reject calls with a voice command and set an automated SMS reply.

Working with Bluetooth

For those times when you know you won't be able to access your phone for awhile, you may already by using a Bluetooth headset. S Voice can be set as the default voice dialling application associated with Bluetooth. How you start voice dialling will vary by Bluetooth device, but generally you just need to hold down the primary button for a moment. After pairing your headset and activating voice dialling, your Samsung Galaxy S5 will pop up with a prompt asking for which app to use by default. If something else opens, here's how you clear the default app to make way for S Voice.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the gear icon in the top-right to go into settings.
  2. Tap the magnifying glass icon and type in "default". A settings search result for Default Applications should appear below. Tap it.
  3. Find S Voice on the list and tap the Clear button.
  4. Once finished, try launching voice dialling again from the device, and you should get the option to select S Voice.

That's S Voice!

That's S Voice on the Samsung Galaxy S5 in a nutshell. It should help beginners get started, as well as provide a foundation for those that had never given it an earnest try. We're always happy to help out, so be sure to leave a comment here if you're having any issues with S Voice.

Simon has been covering mobile since before the first iPhone came out. After producing news articles, podcasts, review videos, and everything in between, he's now helping industry partners get the word about their latest products. Get in touch with him at simon@futurenet.com.
58 Comments
  • I shut it off. Posted via Android Central App
  • Why? Too complicated for you? And don't say it doesn't work, it does - if you can't get it going, you're doing it wrong.
  • This is assuming people use S Voice Psst...nobody does except Richard Yarrell Posted via Android Central App
  • Who the hell uses s voice? Posted via Android Central App
  • Tip should be to not use that crap over google. Samsung stop making software you suck compared to Apple, google and Microsoft.
  • Apple is on par with Samsung man
  • Before the comments get too negative there is one major plus for S voice over google now and thats the ability to set a custom wake command. It doesnt work all the time but its a feature missing from Google now.. I personally hate the "ok google" phrase and hope they give us options in the future if not the full capability to make our own.
  • It doesn't matter if you can set your own command, S-Voice probably won't recognize it anyway. Maybe it's a little better on the S5, but on my S3 it's almost completely unusable.
    Me: "Call Kim"
    S-Voice: "Would you like to call 'Kimberly Ann' or 'Kim R'?"
    Me: "Kimberly Ann"
    S-Voice: "Calling, 'Ron's Cell'"
    Me: "F#CK you, I said Kimberly Ann! End Call !"
    Google Now just does what I tell it to, like a good little assistant. But I don't mess with voice activation, it's not that distracting to press one button while driving.
  • Do you remember any of the Star Trek movies?
    Whenever a crew member wanted information from the ship's computer, the would say "Computer, how far to planet X." The computer is always listening, but only response when it is called.
  • You can also say Ok computer :)
  • I actually use a voice on my s5 to call people and that's it Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 running Android L or Samsung galaxy S5
  • How to use S-Voice:
    1) Turn it off. Posted via Android Central App
  • Agreed. Posted via Android Central App
  • Replaced mine with Google Now Posted via Android Central App
  • I've use it from time to time on my note 3 I had it off until I found myself have to search and enter quite a few things at the dam he time, it's quite convenient in my opinion Posted via Android Central App
  • Forget S voice, try using Google hotword, it's far better.
  • Tips: 1- don't use s voice
    2- disable s voice
    3- enable Google now and " OK Google" everywhere
    4- program your info (sports teams, etc) in Google now
    5- enjoy a faster phone and home button, and a better voice experience. Seriously, I love my s5 but what was Samsung thinking with some of there bundled apps? Most of them are half baked or ads or bloat.... I have disabled almost everything Samsung I can with out root. Some Samsung features are good, even some great, but allot are garbage.
  • +1 S-Voice needs to go away compared to Google Now. It isn't even that it was good to start with, it always sucked. This should be the next thing that Samsung "retires"
  • This is exactly why Samsung is out of their minds if they think people will buy a smartphone with their own OS on it. If they switch over to Tizen, like I keep hearing, they will fail miserably if it's anything like their apps.
  • They are not going to SWITCH. They are going to use Tizen for low end, developing countries. Samsung is not dropping Android...
  • At first, when I saw this article, I thought it was April 1st.
  • I just disable it.
  • I have no use for an App with which I still need to watch the screen and be ready to press a "Cancel" button on because it doesn't recognize what I said and calls someone else or can't send a text message with words even close to what I clearly spoke. And no, my last name is not Kripke.
  • Simon - Thank you for the article, it was informative, but I do not use S Voice. I have it disabled and just use the Googe Now voice commands on my S3 :)
  • S Voice: The smart phone world's worst "Me Too" app. I turn it off so I can use the desirable system, Google Voice Typing. S Voice (or SSiri is more like it) is a good example of Samsung's lousy and completely unnecessary copy cat software cruft. Basically it is bloatware that makes it harder to use Google's superior solution. Posted via Android Central App
  • I need a trick to remap the Home button double click from S-Voice to Google Now.
  • That would be handy.
  • I be leave you can with xsposed framework. Swype used the same PoS voice recognition (vlingo/dragon/nuance being bought by samsung), and since nuance owns Swype, they hard codded it into the keyboard and won't let you use Google's. If you have xsposed framework, there is a module to replace dragon with Google.
  • There is a module to replace S-Voice with Google Now, but for voice activation. So you can say "Hi Galaxy" and it'll bring up Google Now instead of S-Crap. However, I want home button double click, not voice activation. The module on Swype is only on the soft keyboard, not the hard-wired home button key. Wanam Xposed module USED to be able to do this on 4.3, but NOT on 4.4.x. I haven't seen any other Xposed module that can do this.
  • Wow, it appears that Android users are as pretentious and full of BS as Apple users. Nice comments. I don't know what everyone is bitching about (even though I'm certain that if one person bitches, others chime it just to get their attention and happiness for the day), S Voice works great for me.
  • Good 4 U. Obviously you are a Master of the Universe.
  • In the galaxy S4 I had the option to use voice control in Samsung music player, like "next", "stop", "pause" etc. it was located in the voice control settings, and its work without internet connection.
    And in the galaxy S5 I have now I can't find this option for some reason , went through all the settings, always have to press s voice to start. Why it's gone?? Samsung please fix it.
  • Ya, @Raktim Sarhma , i liked that too on my note 2, but i got my s5 and i cant find it anywhere and its pissing me off because i actually used it quite a bit, im actually considering downgrading my phone to a note 2 so i can use that feature, instead of all the bs that comes with the gs5 now. if you find something please write back.
  • I love the voice app. It helps me multi task.
  • i need it to read my texts out loud when i am driving. Every time i say read text, she says, you have 1 new message... then I say read message, then she says. you have no new messages....How do I get her to read the message to me!!!!
  • In the example c ommands it says you can say "Take a picture" but whenever I use this command I get the response "I'm sorry, I couldn't find t"ake a picture" on your device. please check to see if this application is installed, then try again." I don't get it - am I doing something wrong? Also, does anyone know how to use s voice to launch your flashlight widget?
  • I just used the s voice for the first time. I had a galaxy s captivate for 2 years, upgraded to s2 for 2 years, upgraded to note 3 for a year, and now have note 4 since last month. I must say it is way better than Google. Less frustrations, and much more accurate. Love love love this feature.
  • Mine works great on a rooted S5, running Optimal15-5 rom. I also have it overclock to 2400......fast.
  • Hi. S3 using 4.4.2 AT&T. I have 2 problems that I'm wondering if you can help with. Number 1 is that whenever I start s voice with the wake up command it Is muted so after I speak I don't hear anything back. I know I can hit the little button and it will start talking however the point of me getting this is to be able to not look at the phone or have to push buttons as I am slightly disabled and anytime glancing off the road is dangerous for me.The second thing is there are a few things that I say that it just does not get... one of them is when I say open the application WAZE it thinks I am saying either wave or ways. is there any way to teach this thing? THANKS!!
  • There is 2 problems in my s Voice please help :
    1. at the begining There was gray on Enable S Voice feedback & Can't enable voice Feedback
    2.It looks like another application is using the mic. Please close it, then try again.This problem make S. Voice not work .
  • Unfortunately you have to be smarter than your phone. I'm guessing for most of you its user error. I use s-voice all the time with no problem. Do you need Google to wipe your noses too?
  • i dont need S voice to wipe my nose, but i need it to read my texts out loud when i am driving. Every time i say read text, she says, you have 1 new message... then I say read message, then she says. you have no new messages....How do I get her to read the message to me!!!!
  • Wkwkkwkw
  • S Voice crashes when executing published command " Set Timer to 2 minutes." Any fix for this?
  • I use it it is how I found this web site.so no need to be horrible
  • Lol u r all so? Sonline said do u need google to wipe your nose
  • S voice is great , i use it all the time especially if your driving its works great on my samsung S5 but on my S3 it doesnt work so well
  • I'm hesitant to even bother to try and teach myself the S voice function or app or whatever it is - it is impossible to get a straight answer on whether or not it is a valuable tool or a POS. I also came to find out very quickly that my new Galaxy s5 that I just got a couple of months ago is itself a POS by my standards in that no one can hear me when I use the speaker function. this in itselfnegates the reason for my having purchased such a smart phone. life does go on, however and I'm not going to sweat it but I am going to get my money back - & I could probably use some help accomplishing this as probably some of you out there as well. I think maybe we could work together... If anybody would like to put forth a little bit of effort I will be the public relations guy. I'm Kelly and I'm not scared. or shy.
  • Kelly man sounds like a bit of a rabble rouseras well as one possessing at least a modicum of intelligence. and if that's really his picture - whoa what a handsome guy!
  • My S voice was working fine then suddenly it can't hear me, rendering it useless. So what do I do to fix that? It's not like I can do a reinstall. Other apps hear me fine, btw.
  • I was wondering if you can make s voice save notes into google keep or if you can make reminders get saved into google, or if you can make saying "play music" play from google play music. I am asking this because I was thinking about going from android wear to galaxy gear s2 and I need to be able to do this. Thanks
  • Ok Google works really good for me but for some reason S voice gives me better searches when I use it to find restaurants near me or near my location for example.
  • Hello, is there a way I can voice command to stop listening for my voice command ? for example my Svoice turns on by itself and says " I can not catch that could you please speak it again " I did not speak anything and i dont want to, so i need a voice command to stop listening my voice command. Thanks
  • I had to disable this program because every time I have a meditation playing, the S Voice will stop the music and say something really annoying like; "I don't understand..." or "Let me find that..." It never works when you say; "Hi Galaxy... " It continously interupts a meditation session so I have to come out of my session and stop the S Voice and restart the meditation session. There should be a way to not allow it to continually interrupt your daily activities. A good name for this program would be; "NOSY MOTHER-IN-LAW"
  • When do S Voice get Finnish language?
  • I am still trying to get S Voice to speak to me in ENGLISH instead of Spanish.
  • So far I don't know. I want to learn how to use the S voice and android central. I have read what the reviews were but I feel I need to try it for myself. Then I can give an honest opinion.
    Thank you all!
  • When I ask S Voice to play a song, I sometimes get a list of same song and S Voice says, "Multiple found. Which do you want to play?" I tap on the one on the list I want to play and nothing happens. What am I doing wrong? Should I tap on the microphone and say "First one" or "Second one"?