How To Get Something Like Siri On Your Older iPhone Right Now, No Jailbreak Required

Voice Actions for iOS

Say hello to Voice Actions. She’ll say hello right back.

Voice Actions is a basic Siri alternative, available right now in the iOS App Store.

For those of you with iPhone 4S envy, it lets you control your older iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad with spoken commands (although you need iOS 3.0 to make it work).

I confess I was skeptical when I first heard about it. My expectations were low. But the app surpassed them, and even made me laugh out loud.

It’s not perfect, but hey, not many things are. Unlike Siri, there’s no scrollable view of recent actions and requests. In fact there’s very little visual polish at all. Not all the functions seem to work that well – I couldn’t get image searching to show me any pictures of kittens. The app understood what I’d asked for, but got stuck when trying to find it for me.

But the speech recognition was better than I expected. Voice Actions understood almost everything I said, and behaved pretty much as I expected it to.

It was able to open new SMS messages and emails to the right contacts, but wasn’t able to transcribe the message contents.

It could tell me the time in foreign cities, forecast the weather, define and spell words, and source simple facts from the internet.

And guess what – Voice Actions has a sense of humor too; just like Siri. Ask her “Do you love me?” and she replies: “I love everyone, especially you.”

Ask her: “What are you wearing?” and she replies: “A white robe.”

Ask her to open the pod bay doors, and of course, she replies with “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that.”

Voice Actions is $4.99 right now (£2.99 in the UK) and I think it’s worth a try. Don’t expect miracles. Don’t expect Siri. But if all you want is to set reminders and do other basic tasks with your voice, shelling out for this app is a whole lot cheaper than buying a brand new iPhone 4S.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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  • Ruchir Raju-Deepti

    Totally sucks…
    constantly crashes on my phone..

  • TannerBott

    wow the developer wants 4.99 for something like siri?
    give me a break

    ill just wait tell iPhone 5 thank you

  • Matthew T Hawley

    4 stars?  I wonder how much the developer paid to get a good review.  Another wasted 5 bucks.  I have to learn to stop trusting these reviews.

  • Soulrecycler

    I looked it up on the apple store and the reviews were terrible,
    steer clear of this one kids

  • David Eye

    Check out Vlingo.  It is free and seems to work decent so far for me.

  • gilest

    The developer paid nothing. The review, like all reviews, is a personal opinion based on my own experience. If you have differing opinions, based on your own experience, you’re welcome to post them here.

  • Allan Robertson

    I ran into a few bugs, it’s not Siri and it’s not worth £2.99 don’t waste your money.

  • Timothy Williamson

    I find it difficult to believe this got a 4 star rating without being a sponsored article.

  • Rowanova

    Did you pay attention to the user reviews before writing your article that seems contrary to what most other users experience? Maybe you should have used it for a longer period of time to actually have enough experience with it to write a legitimate review?

  • Juan david Benincore

    it´s a PERSONAL OPINION! he can write anything!

  • Timothy Williamson

    If he doesn’t mind losing credibility then yeah, go ahead, he can write anything he wants.

  • Juan david Benincore

    He says DONT EXPECT SIRI… they only want to give you choices without a jailbreak!  so i don’t lose credibility just for a review like this!

  • gilest

    Yes, I always read the user reviews and take them into account. I don’t take them as gospel, however, and prefer to do my own tests and reach my own conclusion.

    In addition, I like to credit readers with enough intelligence to read those reviews themselves, make comparisons with my comments, and make up their own minds. 

    I don’t believe that an app deserves condemnation simply because it has some bad user reviews on the App Store. 

  • Tony96

    Does it support different languages?

  • Ronald Stepp

    Um, No.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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