Cortana for Android might kill your microphone

Mark Coppock

If you’ve been running Cortana on your Android device and your microphone stops working, it might be just be Microsoft’s personal assistant getting in your way. My Nexus 5 is suffering from this problem, and I was just about to perform a complete reset until I came across some other Cortana users who’ve been seeing the same issue.
Update: As Winbeta readers jetworks and darkfulldante mention in the comments, there’s an easier fix than a full uninstall. Just go into Cortana’s settings on your Android device (hamburger menu > Settings) and uncheck “Hey Cortana.” Theoretically, that functionality was interfering with Google’s own similar capability (“Ok Google”), causing the bug.
Here’s the message, “Can’t open microphone,” which pops up pretty much whenever you access the microphone.

Android Screenshot - Cortana Running - Can't Open Microphone
This is the error that pops up with Cortana running.

I’m not using my Nexus 5 as a phone (and I misplaced my SIM adapter so can’t give it a try), and so I can’t confirm if this bug stops the microphone from working with phone calls. But, it definitely stopped mine from working with any other app.
To confirm, I went into the Cortana app settings in Android settings and stopped the app from running.
Stop Cortana for Android in settings
To test if Cortana is your problem, go into Android settings and quit the app.

Once I did so, lo and behold, the microphone started working again. Starting Cortana back up killed the microphone again.
Android Screenshot - Cortana Stopped - Microphone Working
As you can see, once Cortana is stopped, the microphone starts working again.

So, there you have it. If you’ve been pulling your hair out because the microphone stopped working on your Android device, then uninstall Cortana turn off “Hey Cortana” and see if that fixes things up. If so, then it’s likely best to wait for a build that fixes what is in reality a show-stopper bug.
The latest version of Cortana on Android ( has the bug, but I’m not sure which version introduced it. Regardless, we’ll be sure to report back as soon as we’re aware of a fix.