Microsoft this week quietly started signing up testers interested in trying Cortana for iOS. We say “quietly” because although this is the first public beta release, there was no official announcement — just a post on the Microsoft Answers site.
In May, Microsoft revealed that its digital assistant Cortana would be coming to Android and iOS. Cortana for Android and iOS is the companion to your Windows 10 PC. That means the app extends Cortana’s functionality across to your mobile device, allowing you to use the digital assistant on the go.
This beta is not available to all iOS users, though. Microsoft is only making it available to select testers:
In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we’re looking for a limited number of people to get their hands on an early version of the app. It’s important to keep in mind that this is the first public release of the Cortana for iOS beta. And that for now, Cortana for iOS is only available in the U.S. and China. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to deliver frequent updates to the app to expand the features and functionality.
iOS users in the U.S. can take this short survey to try getting access to the beta. Microsoft says it will begin sending out download links over email “in the coming weeks” but that it will be starting with a limited number of testers.
A public beta of Cortana for Android arrived in August. Microsoft has yet to share when it plans to release the Android and iOS versions out of beta.
Cortana for Android and iOS won’t have as many features as Cortana for Windows 10 or Windows 10 Mobile. Microsoft can integrate the assistant tightly with its own operating system, but has only so much access on Apple’s and Google’s platforms. Still, the company wants Cortana to be a cross-platform affair in the hopes that users will end up spending a lot of time with her.