How to Install Cortana on any Windows Phone 8.1 Device

If you are from the United States, this post is not for you as you already received your very own Digital Assistant. As Cortana is in beta, it is not available to all the regions and is basically US only for now. However, if you have updated to Windows Phone 8.1 already and want to spend time with Cortana, there is an easy workaround to get it outside of the US and that’s done just by changing the Phone’s regional and language settings. No matter where you are from, UK, Australia or China, here’s how to make cortana work for you.

1. Set the Phone’s Region to the US

The very first thing to do is to set the Phone’s region to the United States. That can be done by navigating to the All Apps> Settings> Region. Once here, set the Country/Region to United States and leave the Regional format box intact i.e. match phone language.

2. Set English (United States) as your Phone’s Language

The second step to do is to set English (United States) as your Phone’s display and speech language. On the Settings page, tap on language> add language and tick English (United States) from the available options.

wp language and region 8.1
Language and Region

If English (United States) appears as Option 2 on the Language settings screen, long tap on it and choose Move Up.

Finally if you have a slow connection, head to Settings> Phone Update to see the download progress of new language pack. Cortana requires the English US language pack for speech.

3. Restart your Phone

Upon changing the language, the phone will ask for restart. Just restart it and wait for a few minutes for the phone to set up Cortana and other regional options as needed. Once it is done, the phone will boot up normally, so be patient.

4. Enable Location and Use Cortana

Cortana won’t work without Data Connection (Cellular or WiFi) and Location Services enabled. So do enable them and once done, Tap on the Search key on your phone to load up the most amazing feature of Windows phone 8.

cortana hello
Cotana on WP8.1


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  • Question. I have a Nokia Lumia, 830. I updated from Windows 8.1 (where Cortana worked perfectly when set to Canada English) to Windows 10. I missed Cortana (actually very helpful feature) so I followed to steps and changed my region, language and speech to English United States. I am pleased, for everything works now, great….HOWEVER, I am worried what changing my region to the United States, when I live in Ontario, Canada will do to my phone? Will it affect billing? Apps? Payments? Other settings? GPS etc.? Just wanted to ensure this isn’t going to cause more headaches than solutions.

    Thank you!

    • The region majorly affects your store. The billing currency would now show as USD and any apps exclusively available in Canada will not be available for you. In certain cases, the store can also ask you to provide a billing address in the US.
      The GPS and the other functionality will not be affected though. While I was using Windows Phone, I used it like this and it gave me no problems other than the confusion with some settings which have a different name than what they do in India. Example – Aeroplane mode changed to Flight mode. But I believe this won’t happen for you.

  • Mr. Narender, I have just sent a mail to you. It is a general query pertaining updates and Cortana. Please do look into and reply at the earliest.

  • I am having the same problem with the same phone 535.
    I have tried everything as instructed.
    actually i have ruined a whole day trying to get Cortana, but nothing works.
    Please someone help me

      • It is simply not showing on my phone. not in the settings and not swiping left on start.
        I have changed region,language,speech,keyboard etc all to US but it is still missing on my phone.

        • Woops. Probably not at all installed on the OS for Lumia 535?
          Because once you’re running Windows 8.1, it does show up in the All Apps listing just to say that she can’t speak my language yet upon opening.

          Still, can you confirm this:
          1. Region is set to US.
          2. You have US English set as phone language (1st spot in languages)
          3. You have set US English as the speech language on your phone.
          4. There is nothing still downloading at Settings> Phone update.

          If all these are matched, I’m sorry, but you cannot get Cortana at this time. You may however, still try by setting English UK as your language and keeping the region set to India. Cortana can work with English UK + India combination.

  • Hi I have a lumia 930, i have set the region and language to USA but do not have cortana, i have removed all other languages as i had read that that can affect it but still no cortana. I am connected to wifi so have a data connection and location is on,
    Are you aware of any issues with a 930? or an scenario where these steps do not work? I am in New Zealand though i know people here using Cortana.

    • It should actually work. What does Cortana say when you open it manually via All Apps> Cortana?
      Also, are you certain that the US English speech pack is downloaded and installed?

  • Dear Sir,
    I am using lumia 535 since from a week, i tried all your procedures and updates to the latest version of windows but still i don’t see cortana in my windows phone 535 dual sim Please help me how to get it ???

  • I tried to get Cortana using your easy instructions, but there is no Cortana.
    I also read all the reviews here to get some help before contacting you, but the I get the same result.
    I changed speech, region, time zone, and language.
    My phone is Microsoft Lumia 535 dual sim.
    I am on Egypt.
    Do you have additional steps or modifications to tell me?

    • I am having the same problem with the same phone 535.
      I have tried everything as instructed.
      actually i have ruined a whole day trying to get Cortana, but nothing works.
      Please someone help me

  • I have Microsoft Lumia 535, i have changed region and language. Now when i am opening cortana, it says “i’m sorry, but i can’t speak your language yet. There is 2 option, one is close and secound is “Go to settings”. When i am clicking “Go to settings”, and trying to change speech language from English (india) to English (U.S.).
    Here i am trying to download U.S. speech, when i click to download. When i checked on prograss bar, it’s take me to phone update page. Here it shows “your phone is update”
    Please help how can i download this.

  • I would like to know if having location services on would change my region settings back to the original one(South Africa in this case)

    • No location services won’t affect the region selected under settings. However, on the map you location will be where you reside i.e. South Africa. That’s why it is pretty safe to change region. Only issue is that the currency in your WP Store will change and some apps which are exclusive to South Africa won’t be available.

  • Hi Narender,

    I am trying to enable Cortana on my lumia 1320 having windows 8.1 i changed the region and language settings but i am facing problem in downloading US speech pack. It keeps on downloading in progress 0% without giving error its just a 50 mb file but taking too long to download almost a day passed but there is no progress.
    Is there any other way to download this pack manually or any other way. Pls advice

    • Hii Naveen
      Unfortunately, there is no other way to download the same, but for the sake of trying, can you just try a different WiFi connection? There are DNS issues happening with many ISPs these days and maybe changing your DNS for a while will help get over the error.
      If it still doesn’t work, something might be wrong with the phone’s update system. Try doing a soft reset, if it helps somehow ๐Ÿ™

  • Hi Narender,
    Thank You very much for putting this Info up for me to find and use…. I have been looking for hours and hours.

    All I could find until now was for… “after it was installed”

    One question please…. I live in Sydney Australia… when I ask for the Weather… it is in Fahrenheit 96ยบ
    Here we use Celcius 36ยบ

    Can I change anything in my Setup to correct this and still have Cortana ??

    Thanks Again… Ron

    • Same happens with me because Fahrenheit is what they use in the US primarily. What you can do is to ask her something like “Show in Celsius, please” and she’ll do the conversion for you. Sadly there is no way to ask her to always show in Celsius as of now.

      • Thanks Narender…

        Previously I did ask for weather in Celsius,…in the 1 sentence… but No Luck … I just tried after receiving it in Fยบ…Like you suggested and She converted it to Cยบ .

        Now I just tried …..”What is Sydney weather in Celsius ? ” …( taking my time and speaking Clearly ) and it worked โ˜บโ˜บโ˜บ

        Thank You for Your help…. Ron

    • I”m also in Oz, having trouble getting cortana, I followed all the above instructions but to no avail, can you help?

      • Hi Michelle,
        I just followed Narender’s instructions…. and it all worked…….on my Nokia Lumina 520

        That;s about all I can add .

        Sorry… Ron

        • thanx Ron, I changed to the us in language but I did not change it in speech, once I did both it loaded fine, thanx for the response I was getting really frustrated lol, after i.5 days of trying to work it out and down load it, by the way have you had any success in asking cortana to call a number you give it, seems she only calls from contact list? thats a bit disappointing if it is correctl

          regards michelle

          • Hi Michelle,
            Re —- “I was getting really frustrated lol, after i.5 days of trying to work it out and down load it,”…

            I know how you feel โ˜บ

            I have never used Cortana to make a call……… But have asked for weather…

            I get sick of repeating myself… so she can understand me….
            ( Maybe next time I’ll use a “Texan Drawl” )

            Ask her who her father is ??


            I live at Leonay ( near Penrith )…..and the neighbour’s Son in law was visiting from Sydney,

            Late in the afternoon he asked his Watch… “when is the next train to Sydney” ??…

            His phone or watch replied…..” 5:10pm from Emu Plains ”

            It is amazing what phones can do now.

            Good Luck with it ,

            Cheers… Ron

            • Hi Michelle,…. I just tried to call my Sister ( Kerrie ) I said to “Cortana” …

              “Please Call Kerrie Mobile”….. and she dialed Kerrie’s Mobile and all was sweet.

              I think you have to be definite in your speech…… and exact in the Name

              Cheers… Ron

              • This works and is time saving and hassle free, but her query was about dialing a number which is not saved to contacts, which does not work yet. If you ask her to Dial 9041xxx797, she won’t dial it unless it is saved under some contact’s name.
                Considering she is still in Beta, we’ll probably see her a lot more mature when the unified Windows 10 is launched early next year ๐Ÿ™‚

                • Hi Narender,

                  Yes , Michelle did say….. “Call a number ” ,….

                  I didn’t think that she meant “Call 9,0,4,1,….etc.

                  Cheers… Ron

      • What is shown when you open Cortana via all apps? If she says that she cannot speak your language, make sure your language and speech settings have been set to US English.

    • Not really. The only app that is effected by the region change is the Windows Phone Store. You will not have access to the apps which are exclusive to India and your currency will change to USD. You can however easily change back your region to India when you want to make a purchase in the store.

    • Your region will be changed to US and you will have Cortana. She is a personal assistant and can help you do many things like set reminders, do a quick search; etc. You just need to speak, she’ll understand and do what you have instructed her to do.

        • Firstly, this article was published when the Cortana’s availability in different regions was very much limited. Hence it cannot be called current.
          Secondly, you’re entirely wrong. Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 is only available in – Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States. People who are outside of these regions need to change their device’s region to one of these along with a corresponding language pack that cortana supports for that region. For example, with region set to India, Cortana used to (IDK if it changed recently) only work when language was selected as English UK and not English India.

          You shouldn’t me making a point if you were not needed to change the region. The article has worldwide audience.

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