How to setup and use Touchless Control on the Moto X


The Moto X is probably going to be the most controversial phone of  2013. Many will argue about the specs vs the price, but one thing we can all agree on is that it has some cool features, namely touchless control. Touchless control allows you to get directions, set a reminder, set an alarm, call someone, find out who won the big game last night, and so much more, all without touching your phone. Sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? By just saying “OK Google Now” anytime anywhere, your Moto X will awake and await your next command. This feature is not on by default, but setting it up and using it is pretty easy, so hit the break to get started.

[Scroll down if you want to skip the written part and watch the tutorial video]

If you just bought your Moto X and you already went through the initial setup process for the phone, you might notice a message in your notification area telling you to set up Touchless Control. If so, go ahead and tap that and it will guide you through a short tutorial and set you up. If you don’t have the notification message or you have already set it up and want to fine tune things, then head over to Settings / Touchless Control.

Make sure “Touchless Control” is on by checking the little square box. You also want to turn on “Launch when display is off.” This way you will be able to speak to your Moto X even if the display is turned off. The next thing you need to decide on is if you want to be able place calls without unlocking your device. This is on by default, and I recommend keeping it that way.

Now tap on “Confirm before calling.” There are three choices. The first one is, “Always place call without confirming”. When you ask your Moto X to place call, it won’t ask you for confirmation. This is much quicker, but you will still have the opportunity to cancel it. This is the default selection, and again, I highly recommend going with it. The second option is “Confirm based on calling history” and the third is “Always ask before placing a call.” Feel free to play with all three to see which you prefer.

The next step is to train your Moto X with your voice and how you will say, “OK Google Now”. Just tap on “Train launch phrase”. You will be given the opportunity to say “OK Google Now” three times for training purposes. Even if you already “trained” your Moto X, you can still go through this quick process again if you find that your Moto X isn’t responding to you so well. The only thing you need to make sure on is to be in a quite room. Don’t try doing this at a concert. Once you have recorded all three versions, you are good to go. In theory, your Moto X will only respond to your voice, but it’s not a 100%. If there is ambient noise or someone  else’s voice is similar, then your Moto X might cheat on you. The other thing I need to mention is that often times, you will be able to wake your Moto X with just “OK Google”. It’s not a 100%, but it’s a little shorter.

There are a number of commands that you can say, including “Navigate to______”, “What is the weather like today”, “Remind me at 5;00pm to pick up milk”, “Call______”, and so on. You can also say, “Help me” for a list of commands that you can use. If you have set things up the way I have described, your Moto X will respond from any app and even if the display is turned off.

If you happen to use a security lock screen such as a pin or pattern (which I always recommend), then you will be limited to calls and voicemails, assuming you checked that in the settings. However, Motorola lets you select trusted Bluetooth devices that will keep your phone unlocked. So for example, you can set your car’s Bluetooth as a trusted device so when you are in your car and connected to it, your lock screen will not be active. It works for headsets too. The assumption is that if you’re connected to one of your trusted Bluetooth devices, then your phone is safe and with you. All you need to do is go to Settings / Security. Tap on “Trusted Devices”, type in your PIN or pattern, and select whichever paired devices you want. You can also pair a device from this screen as well.

To make things really easy for you, I put together a tutorial video showing you each and every step along with some of the commands that you can ask your Moto X. Check it out below and be sure to check out all our Moto X guides here.

About the Author: Robert Nazarian

Robert lives in upstate New York where he was born and raised. Technology was always his passion. His first computer was a Radio Shack TRS80 Color that used a cassette tape to save programs, and his first laptop was a Toshiba T1200FB that sported a CGA greyscale screen and two 720kb floppy drives (no hardrive). From the early 90’s through late 2011, he only owned Motorola phones starting with the MircroTAC all the way through to the Droid X. He broke that streak when he bought the Galaxy Nexus. Now he's sporting a Galaxy Note 4, and absolutely loves it. He has a wonderful wife and a 6 year old son. In his free time he enjoys sports, movies, TV, working out, and trying to keep up with the rapid fast world of technology.

  • Jeremy Pippin

    A couple of questions:

    1. When training the touchless control, have you tried saying something other than “Ok, Google Now?” Can you train it to accept a different activation phrase?

    2. How do the touchless controls work with a headset. If I’m wearing the headset and my phone is in my bag can I trigger it simply by saying the activation phrase?

    • Adam Collins

      I just tried using other phrases and it gives me the red X in training, won’t let me proceed unless it can tell I’m trying to say “okay Google now”. Bummer, would love to change it to something shorter like “hey moto” or something

  • Drew

    ‘Ok Google’ seems to work because the screen is on and the phone is unlocked. I’m thinking you need the full phrase if the phone is locked.

  • Ice Pony Girl

    How do I get my name to show up when I use Ok, Google Now? Thanks!

    • trowans


      • G-Man

        I believe Touchless Control pulls your name from your Google + profile, once it syncs with your gmail account.

        My Moto X used to do it correctly.

        Now for some reason it provides part of the name associated with a second Gmail account assigned to a separate Youtube Account.

        Moto 2nd tier support is supposed to get back to me with a fix.

        In any event make sure your Google profile available on Google + has your correct name, or the name you wish to see in the display.

        • rayray3acr .

          Did you get a fix? my phone is showing a name from some one in my contacts list.

  • krista

    Does the driving assist only work with a Bluetooth? I set all my settings right (I think) but its not announcing calls or reading texts when I’m driving…

  • srinivas

    Getting error like “Sorry, there seems to be data issues” when i try to use touch less control in moto x. Do i need to insert sim before i use touch less control?

    • despofoknow

      please someone answer this, same problem!

    • Amit

      I m facing the same problem. Does one need to insert the SIM before doing this?

      • Girish

        Yes, internet is required so you you have to insert the sim.

        • Markee Marquis

          My sim is inserted, i’m on wifi and having same problem. Anyone figured it out?

    • ryryrondo

      Touchless Control works along Google Now and requires data, Wi-Fi.

  • boothbaybruce

    Is it possible to use a contact name rather than an address in ‘navigate to…’? When I ‘navigate to mom’ it does a web search for mom and finds a few porn sites…

  • bhavin

    useing touchless control open any app like facebook music player tiwwter please give me ans….

  • Linda Ferguson

    I can’t connect my moto x to the touchless control as it keeps telling me my phone is playing music what can I do

  • A. Diez Joven

    I’m having the same problem as Linda Ferguson, does anyone know how to fix this? My phone is not playing music as far as I can tell.