UPDATE 2014: If you're running iOS 5 or higher, Voice Control has been replaced by Siri. Siri generally offers better voice-activated controls, but if you prefer to use Voice Control, you must disable Siri. To do that, go to Settings -> General -> Siri -> move the Siri slider to Off/White.
Voice Control is the name of Apple's voice dialing technology. It allows you to speak into your iPhone and tell it to call one of your contacts (Voice Control also works with the iPod app).
Related: Tips for Using iPhone Voice Control
Voice Control Accuracy (or Lack Thereof)
I've found that while Voice Control is very good at understanding the names of the people from my address book that I want to call, it's pretty poor at understanding artist, album, or song names.
For instance, when I asked it to play "It Was a Good Day," by Ice Cube (you know, the one where he didn't have to use his AK? I love that one), it instead began playing "Repeater," an album by Fugazi. When I asked it to play "All Hail West Texas," the great concept album by the Mountain Goats, it played my iPhone playlist instead.
Other users have reported the same behavior (a request for Bob Dylan led to hearing U2; Jill Scott resulted in Company Flow; "Eye in the Sky" resulted in M.I.A.), all of which leads me to believe that Voice Control needs some tweaking when it comes to music.
At least when it comes to speaking the name of the song playing (which you can make it do by asking "what song is playing"), the answers are correct.
Can You Disable Voice Control?
Not everyone finds Voice Control very useful. If you're one of those people, you may be interested in learning how to disable voice control on iPhone.
Unfortunately, I've got some bad news for: it can't be done. At least not easily.
No Way to Fully Disable Voice Control
Voice Control is built into the iOS and isn't controlled by preferences, so you can't control whether it's turned on or off. It's always turned on.
You can, however, restrict the voice dialing aspect of Voice Control when your iPhone is locked, though this only prevents voice dialing when the phone is locked and a passcode is enabled. This isn't much of a tweak, but it does enhance your phone's security. To disable voice dialing:
- Tap on the Settings app
- Tap on General
- Tap on Passcode Lock
- Turn Passcode lock on
- Slide the Voice Dial slider to Off.
Though, as the note under that slider makes clear, Voice Control is always enabled, so this doesn't fully disable the feature.
Disable Voice Control Via Jailbreak
The one way in which Voice Control can be totally disabled is if your iPhone is jailbroken. In that case, there are programs you can install that allow you to make all kinds of customizations to your phone, including disabling Voice Control. Keep in mind, though, that jailbreaking is only for technically savvy users and can cause major problems for your phone.