5 tips for smartphone voice tools
It has been a decade since Siri built into Apple right in his iPhone software and has integrated voice-activated assistant. But the Assistant is just one of the voice tools in your smartphone’s ever-growing audio toolkit. Your device can also be a digital recorder, dictation machine, podcast production studio, and more. Here’s how to get things done with more talking and less typing.
1. Get more from your assistant
You’ve probably introduced yourself to Apple before Siri, the Google Assistant for Android (and iOS) or Samsung Bixby during the process of setting up your phone. You may have already tried it by asking for the weather report or setting a timer. But the biggest challenge with using a voice assistant is knowing the different tasks the software can handle and the devices it runs on – which now include tablets, speakers, smart home hubs, automotive systems and streaming TV boxes.
2. Create a voice memo
Notes applications are great for jotting down quick ideas, but recording an audio clip can be even faster; your assistant can even open the app for you. You can also record interviews with relatives for family history records or school projects.
The phone recording app works like a physical recorder – press the Record button to start and Pause or Stop to end the session. You end up with an audio file that you can play, transfer to a computer, and save online. Third-party apps abound, but your phone probably has its own free recording program.
Apples iPhone includes a Voice memos app and google Recorder application for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. Samsung includes its Voice recorder on many of its Galaxy phones, but also makes it available in the Galaxy and Google app stores.
3. Type while speaking
Need a personal secretary to take dictation – or struggling to type? Your phone can convert your speech to text. Just look for a microphone icon on the keyboard or search bar, tap it and start speaking to see your words appear on the screen.
When dictating long passages of text like an email or sections of your current novel into a word processing application, you will need to call the punctuation by name. For example, say “period” at the end of the sentence or “new paragraph” to start a new paragraph.
The text-to-speech feature can be turned on (or off) by default, so check your settings. Apple website has a guide to use the dictation function on its devices, just like Google for its Android system (and the Gboard app for ios). Bixby has a Dictate function on its own, with instructions on the Samsung site.
4. Send an audio message
An audio clip shares the sound of your world. Sending audio can also be useful if you can’t type at the moment, although your assistant can also take and send a text message.
AT send audio clip in messages from apple app, press and hold the sound wave icon in the message box and record your clip. You can preview it before sending it. (To save space, audio clips are automatically deleted two minutes after you listen to them, unless you select the Keep option.)
Google Message app for Android send audio messages similarly: just tap the microphone icon in your conversation to record a clip to send. Note that if you message someone on a different phone platform, you may need to save the clip in another app and send the file as an attachment.
5. Record a podcast or song
Podcasts have replaced blogging as a means of self-expression for many people. If you are planning to start your own show, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment. Free or inexpensive apps like Spotify Anchor, Podbean’s Audio recorder and Spreaker Studio for Android and ios provide recording and editing tools right on your phone, as well as publishing and distribution platforms for your podcast.