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Help! I just installed vokul™ and it isn't hearing my voice.

A few users have reported that vokul™ isn't hearing their voice after upgrading to iOS 6. If you don't see the dots during the introductory tutorial, or vokul™ doesn't hear you, please be sure to download and install the latest vokul update (v1.2.6) from the App Store.

Why isn't vokul™ responding to my commands?

  • If you just installed vokul™ and are running iOS 6, please see the installation issues FAQ above.
  • Is Touch-to-Talk mode active? If it is, you'll need to touch the vokul™ logo before saying your command. Otherwise, you can switch to Always Listening mode by pressing the ear button.
  • If Always Listening mode is active, make sure that vokul™ is actively listening by checking the main screen. If vokul™ is not listening (main screen shows [not listening]), say "vokul start listening."
  • You can change the "Recognition Confidence" in the settings menu. Lower confidence values will make vokul™ more tolerant to mispronunciations, but you may experience false triggers.

Why does vokul™ play an SMS alert tone when the screen auto-locks (goes to sleep)?

Due to iOS restrictions, vokul™ cannot differentiate between screen auto-locking and receipt of a text message. To suppress the extraneous auto-lock alert, set "Auto Dim Display" to off in the settings menu. (Note: Setting "Auto Dim Display" to off will consume more battery power in Always Listening mode).

How do I interact with vokul™?

vokul™ supports two modes — "Always Listening" mode and "Touch-to-Talk" mode.

  • ALWAYS LISTENING MODE: In this mode, vokul™ actively listens for commands. Use this mode while driving, exercising, or multitasking. To initiate a call, text message, or email, or to search for a media item, say "hey vokul" and wait for two dings. Then issue your command. To control the media player, preface your command with "vokul". See the instruction sheet for the list of supported commands.
  • TOUCH-TO-TALK MODE (Battery Saver): Activate Touch-to-Talk mode by pressing the ear button. In Touch-to-Talk mode, vokul™ does not listen for commands until you press the touch-to-talk button. Since pressing the touch-to-talk button gets vokul's™ attention, you don't need to say "hey vokul" or "vokul". Use Touch-to-Talk mode if you're in an environment where lots of people are talking. (To switch back to Always Listening Mode, press the ear button again.)

When do I need to say "hey vokul"?

You only need to say "hey vokul" when issuing a query command. Use a query command to look up a contact name for dialing, texting, or emailing, or to search for a song, podcast, or audiobook. For media player commands, preface your command with the word "vokul" (you don't need to wait for the dings). Examples:

    • "hey vokul … (dings) … play 80s"
    • "hey vokul … (dings) … call Mom on her cell"
    • "hey vokul … (dings) … text Bill"
    • "hey vokul … (dings) … email Andrew"
    • "vokul play music"
    • "vokul pause"
    • "vokul resume"
    • "vokul forward 20"

Can I change the wakeup command from "hey vokul" to something else?

Absolutely! Go to the settings menu, scroll to the top, and you'll see the option to select your desired wakeup command (e.g., "howdy vokul" or "hola vokul").

How do I make vokul™ ignore me?

  • If you want vokul™ to stop listening temporarily for commands in Always Listening mode, say "vokul stop listening". vokul™ will ignore you until you say "vokul start listening".
  • If you want vokul to stop listening for a long period of time, press the ear button to switch to Touch-to-Talk mode. (This will also save batteries, since vokul is not actively listening.)

How do I use vokul™ in my car?

Your iPhone should be positioned so that the microphone is as close as possible to your mouth. Speak slowly and clearly. If you are using vokul™ to play audio through external speakers (e.g., car stereo system), try to place your iPhone/iPod touch/iPad away from the speakers. Check out the hook it up section for additional help on using vokul™ in your car.

Will vokul™ drain my iOS device's battery?

Always Listening mode consumes a fair amount of power, since it is continually listening for speech. If possible, connect your iPhone to a power source when using Always Listening mode.

vokul™ also provides several features to conserve your battery.

  • AUTO TOUCH-TO-TALK TIMER: You can set a timer in the settings menu to limit the amount of time spent in Always Listening mode. When the timer expires, vokul™ will automatically switch to Touch-to-Talk mode to save your battery.
  • POWER UNPLUG: If enabled in the settings menu, vokul™ will automatically switch to Touch-to-Talk mode when your iOS device is unplugged from a power source (e.g., your car's charging dock).

How do I select an item when multiple items are found?

If your search returns multiple items, vokul™ will announce the matching items by number. You can interrupt vokul™ at any time by saying an item number. vokul™ should hear your selection clearly, even while announcing the items. You can also say "try again" to reissue your query, or "cancel" to cancel your query.

Why won't vokul play certain audio tracks (and why is a lock icon shown?)

The current version of vokul (1.1) is unable to play encrypted audio tracks and audio tracks that reside on iCloud (via iTunes Match). We've fixed this issue in the next version, but you will still see a lock icon when playing one of these tracks. The lock icon is an indication that vokul is playing a protected audio track, and is using the device's audio player to do so. In this case, vokul will not be able to hear your commands unless you use a headset. This is a limitation imposed by Apple and iOS.

Does vokul support playing audio tracks from iCloud (iTunes Match)?

The current version of vokul (1.1) does not support iTunes Match. For best results, your audio tracks should be physically present on your device. You can force your device to download all of your tracks from iCloud by creating a playlist with all of your tracks. Then, click the "download all" button at the bottom of the playlist to start the download.

Why didn't vokul™ find the song, artist, album, etc. that I requested?

  • vokul™ uses information stored in your audio files (ID3 tags) to build its recognition grammar. vokul™ will look for artist names embedded within song titles, but for best results your ID3 tags within iTunes should be correct and fully populated.
  • When issuing a play query, vokul™ will search all of your media items for matching results, including partial matches. To narrow your search, you can provide a keyword with your play query. Keywords include: "song", "podcast", "audiobook", "artist", "album", "genre", and "playlist". For example, "hey vokul … (dings) … play artist Lady Gaga".

Why didn't vokul™ return all of the media items matching my play query?

vokul™ is unable to return multiple results that have the same pronunciation (homophones). For example, if you have both "Madonna" and "Madanna" in your media library, vokul™ will return results that match only one of these spellings. For best results, make sure that your ID3 tags within iTunes are correct.

Why doesn't vokul™ hear me when it's playing certain media items?

vokul™ employs sophisticated acoustic echo cancellation (AEC), so that it doesn't "hear" the audio that it is playing. If a media item is encrypted (DRM protected), vokul™ is unable to use its AEC.

vokul™ will announce when it is playing an encrypted media item and will display a small lock icon on the "Now Playing" screen. When the lock is displayed, you may need to turn down the volume to get vokul's™ attention when issuing a command in Always Listening mode.

How do I compose a text message or email using vokul™?

vokul™ supports both freeform dictation and phrase book-based message composition. Freeform dictation is provided through a partnership with Nuance Communications, Inc. and requires a network connection. Phrase book-based message composition does not require a network connection, since speech recognition is performed on your device.

To compose a message in freeform dictation mode, wait for vokul's™ cue, and then speak your message slowly and clearly. Then, wait for vokul™ to confirm what you said. In noisy environments, it may be helpful to use several short dictations, rather than one long dictation.

In phrase book mode, vokul™ uses a phrase book of common texting phrases, including several short customizable phrases. For example, you can say "I'll meet you <time>", where <time> could be "in 5 minutes", "in an hour", "at 7:00", etc. You can also add your own phrases to your custom phrase book.

To compose a message in phrase book mode, wait for vokul's™ cue, and then say a phrase. If vokul™ didn't understand your phrase, the phrase may not be in vokul's™ phrase book. You can try saying the phrase differently, or you can add the phrase to your custom custom phrase book. Access your custom phrase book by clicking on the book button.

When composing your message, you can say "delete" to remove the last dictation result, phrase, or recipient added. You can also say "try again" to try your dictation/phrase again – vokul™ will automatically perform a delete first. Other messaging commands include "add more", "read message", "send message", "add recipient", "use phrase book", "use freeform", and "cancel message".

How do I add phrases to my custom phrase book?

You can access your custom phrase book by navigating to the settings menu and scrolling down to "Edit Phrases". Please do not do this while driving!

You can also access the phrase book while you are composing a message by clicking the quotes button. If enabled in settings, any phrase that you type while composing a message will be stored in your custom phrase book.

Once your phrases have been entered into your custom phrase book, you will be able to speak them when composing a message.

Why can't vokul™ read text messages that other people send me?

Apple® doesn't allow us access to that data. We're testing out a few workarounds and will try to provide a solution in a future version.

Why do I have to press a button to resume vokul™ after I end my call?

Apple® does not allow apps to auto-resume after initiating a phone call. Unfortunately, you will need to press the button to resume vokul™ after hanging up.

What is Fitness Mode?

In Fitness Mode, you don't have to preface media player commands with "vokul". For example, you can say "next" or "previous" to navigate between tracks. You can also adjust the playback tempo to match your workout pace by saying things like "faster", "a little slower", and "normal tempo".


  • To properly position your device with vokul™, consider purchasing a visor clip, hands-free phone-holder, or a dashboard grip pad. Car cup holders also work well.
  • For best results with vokul™, make sure the microphone on your device is pointed toward your mouth, as close to you as possible.
  • If you're planning to use vokul™ for an extended period of time in Always Listening mode, plug in your device to maintain battery power.
  • Get the instruction sheet for vokul™.