Learn How to Use iPhone Voice Dial and Make Nearly Handsfree Calls on the iPhone 3GS/4

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What Are Voice Commands?

On the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, you can access certain functions directly via voice. Simply hold down the “square in circle” Home Button for about 3 seconds and the iPhone Voice Control screen will pop up. The screen randomly scrolls through various commands you might want, but below we have listed all of the known commands.

Voice Commands are particularly helpful when you’re driving and need to quickly make a call, when you’re exercising and just want your playlist to start, or maybe you’re just tired of punching in selections by hand.

Phone Specific Commands

Call [contact] [line]

The most common command is the “Call” command. Simply say “Call” or “Dial” and follow with the name of the person you wish to contact. If you only have one “Jimmy” in your list, then it will just dial that one. If there are two or more, it will ask you to clarify. You can alleviate this by using their full name (which can sometimes be problematic with the voice recognition). Also, if there is more than one number associated with that contact it will prompt you for “home,” “work,” or “mobile” (unless, again, you specifically indicate which line to use in your initial command).

Call [number]

Here you issue the “Call” or “Dial” command and follow with the number you wish to contact. I have had mixed success with longer numbers, especially with the common 10-digit numbers in the US.


If there is an error, you can say any number of negative words to undo the command. These include: “no, nope, wrong, not that, not that one.”

Music Specific Commands

Play [music]

The “Play” command is the most versatile one on the phone. You can follow “Play” with nothing to start playing (this will either continue your “now playing” music or just start at the beginning of your library). You can also name a specific artist, whose work will begin playing immediately. This last option also works with the “Play songs by” command.

Play album [album]

If you would like a specific album, say “Play album,” followed by the name of the album.

Play playlist [playlist]

If you would like a specific playlist, say “Play playlist,” followed by the name of the playlist.

Pause or Pause Music

This command simply pauses the current song.

Next or Next Song

This command skips to the next song on the list.

Previous Song

This command goes back to the previous song.


Shuffles the current playlist or shuffles from the beginning of your music library.

Genius or Play more songs like this or Play more like this

Turns on the Genius feature.

What’s playing

This command informs you what song is playing.

What song is this

This command informs you of the song title.

Who sings this song or Who is this song by

This command informs you of the song artist.

Note: Be aware, if you are a podcast listener, these commands can be pretty hit or miss. Music is generally picked over podcast files when the computer is unsure what you want to listen to.

Extra Comands

What time is it? or What is the time?

This command informs you of the current time.

Cance****l or Stop

Stops the voice command feature.


Starts a help audio file.


We hope this list of iPhone voice commands is helpful and you find the voice control feature useful. It’s primarily good for quickly calling contacts and controlling a playlist while your hands are full. The voice recognition seems to learn over time, so difficult names may become easier with repeated use.