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Microsoft Cortana On iPhone Gets Major Update: What's New?

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Microsoft's Cortana iOS app just got a massive new update, adding new features and a sleek look for iPhone users.

Apple already has its own Siri digital assistant for iOS users, but Siri has a number of limitations and some iPhone users opted to get Microsoft's Cortana instead.

Cortana is among the most capable virtual assistants out there, offering some cool functionality for a number of tasks. It's easy to use and quite helpful, and it now gets a neat revamp on iOS.

What's New With Cortana For iOS?

The latest update for Cortana on iOS hit the scene on Friday, March 10 and it boasts a fresh new look as well as a slew of new features to enhance the overall experience. The redesign is the first thing you'll notice, as the app now looks more stylish. The core functionality remains unchanged, but the modern look is now more pleasing to the eye.

Microsoft also did some major tweaking under the hood, upgrading virtually every aspect to deliver a smoother and faster performance. The new Cortana for iOS will now display cards on the device's home screen, offering relevant information such as the local weather, traffic details, sports scores, order tracking information, and so on. In this respect, it's quite similar to Google Now.

In the left corner, users will now see a persistent button for a number of actions that don't require voice commands. Users can tap this icon from most places within the app to bring up the quick action buttons. Potential applications include setting up reminders and alarms and organizing meetings, among others.

Right next to this persistent button, on its right, is a microphone icon that allows users to start a conversation with Cortana and issue voice commands for various tasks.

The new Cortana for iOS defaults into listening for questions and voice commands, which makes the upgraded app load faster and run more smoothly overall. Microsoft has also tweaked reminders, calling, and texting functions for Cortana on iOS. When asking Cortana to search for something, for instance, users will get full-page answers for a more thorough response.

Cortana iOS Limitations

On the downside, Cortana is still far less accessible than Apple's own Siri, but that's because Apple has its restrictions. More specifically, Apple's limitations prevent Cortana from being triggered outside of the app, or dabbling into a number of native iOS services. Nevertheless, Cortana can still be an asset for iPhone users who also rely on a Windows 10 PC since Cortana is an integral part of Windows 10.

The updated Cortana app for iOS is now available for download from Apple's App Store and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices running iOS 9 or later.

Microsoft also upgraded Cortana for Android earlier this month, adding a new lock screen feature and a number of other improvements.

If you've already tried the new Cortana app for iOS or Android, drop by our comment section below and tell us what you think of the latest improvements. Do you prefer Cortana or your device's native virtual assistant?

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