Microsoft Will Shut Down Cortana for iOS, Android in Early 2020

Microsoft will shut down the Android and iOS apps for Cortana on January 31, 2020, as the digital assistant will instead be integrated into Microsoft 365.

In a support article, Microsoft said that content created on Cortana, such as reminders and lists, will no longer be available on the mobile app and on the Microsoft Launcher for Android, which will receive an update to remove Cortana.

The Cortana-created content will still be accessible through the Windows version of the digital assistant. Reminders, lists, and tasks on Cortana are also automatically added to the Microsoft To Do app, which is available as a free download for smartphones. The Cortana app is used for settings configuration and firmware updates for devices such as the Surface Headphones though, and it is unclear how these features will be accessed after the app’s shutdown.

Earlier this year, Microsoft started working on a standalone Cortana app for Windows 10 PCs, freeing it from the operating system so that updates for the digital assistant would be quicker. This was done to give it room to grow and become more competitive, as it was lagging behind its rivals — Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Cortana was then reported to be undergoing a major overhaul for the Windows 10 20H1 update in early 2020, adding a new chat-based user interface among other key changes.

Cortana was not mentioned at all at Microsoft’s Surface event in October, despite the opportunity for its integration in the Surface Earbuds. The digital assistant, however, was present at the recent Ignite 2019 conference, where it was announced that Cortana will be integrated into Microsoft 365 starting with Outlook mobile. The Cortana-powered Play My Emails has rolled out to Outlook for iOS, with the feature to arrive on the Android version of the app in spring 2020.

Fortunately for fans of Cortana in the United States, there is a glimmer of hope that the mobile app will remain functional. The support article announcing the planned shutdown has only been found for the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, not for the United States. Microsoft has not yet confirmed the reason for the missing support article, and if the Cortana app will be removed only in select markets or globally.

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