How to Enable Cortana Digital Personal Assistant on Non-US WP 8.1

Users of the Windows Phone OS may have noticed something new in the recent Windows Phone 8.1 release. Microsoft released their answer to Siri and Google Now, named Cortana. Cortana is a digital personal assistant meant to help you remember those appointments, check the weather, or maybe find that score for your favourite team. Unfortunately, for the time being, it is only available inside the US. Luckily, there’s a fix, and we have it for you.

The fix involves tricking your phone into believing you are in the US. Unfortunately, the changes we make will need to be permanent to be able to keep using Cortana. (At least until Microsoft releases an international version of the digital personal assistant.)

Step 1 – Set Default Language

Change the language of your phone to US English. It is done from the main Windows Phone Settings app. “Language” should be the third option down. From the list, select “(English) United States”. (If you have never used it before, it may be necessary for the phone to download the language.) When you enable the new language, your phone will automatically reboot.

Step 2 – Set Default Speech

Though it is often unnecessary, we need to confirm this step anyway. The sixth option down should be “Speech”, and this option should have changed itself to the same “English (United States)” when you changed your default language. If it did not change, you would need to take the same steps as in Step 1 to make the change here, as well.

Step 3 – Set Default Region

Here we are switching your region to the US. The fourth option down in the same settings app should be “Region”. You will need to select “United States” from the list of available countries here. Additionally, you will need to check the option box that instructs the region format to “match phone settings”. This step will also require a reboot of your phone.

Voila! Just like that, upon your final reboot for the region setting change, Cortana is now available as an app in the standard Windows Phone app launcher. You can also launch your new digital personal assistant through the standard Windows Phone search function. If, for some reason, you do not see the new app listed, check your settings one more time to confirm they have been set to exactly the options given above and go ahead and give the phone one more full reboot.

The first time you run Cortana, you will be taken through a setup process. This should be pretty quick and straightforward. From there you are ready to go!

The one down side, as mentioned above, is that to continue using Microsoft’s answer to the digital personal assistant is that all the changes made to your phone will need to remain in place until Microsoft releases an international version.

And there it is! Enjoy and let us know what you think of the new Cortana app.

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