OnStar Connections

August 16, 2012 by

OnStar Hands-Free Calling Tips and Commands

Freeway underpass with words "Hands-Free Calling Tips and Commands" superimposed on photoOnStar Hands-Free Calling(1) is easy, convenient and, when you have remaining prepaid minutes, it’s always ready when you need it. Plus it helps keep you connected responsibly. Here are a few commands and troubleshooting tips to make using your OnStar Hands-Free Calling effortless.

Use of minutes: Hands-Free Calling minutes are used only when you place or receive calls via the Voice Command button, or access the Virtual Advisor for traffic, stock or other automated updates. Your minutes are never used when you push the blue OnStar button or red emergency button, speak to an Advisor, or use Turn-by-Turn Navigation.

Purchasing minutes: You can purchase minutes by pushing your blue OnStar button or calling 1.888.4.ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827) or online (onstar.com). When you purchase a new prepaid minute package, your existing minutes will roll over and be added to your purchased minutes. Most purchased minutes are good for one full year, or until your OnStar subscription ends, whichever date comes first. You can also roll over any active unused minutes to a new OnStar-equipped vehicle.

Your OnStar Hands-Free Calling number: To hear your OnStar Hands-Free Calling number, simply push the Voice Command button in your vehicle. When you hear “OnStar ready,” say “My number.” If you don’t hear your number, push the blue button for an Advisor or call us at 1.888.4.ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827). OnStar’s policy is to provide a local number for your vehicle. If you received a number that’s not local, contact OnStar for a new local number.

Available voice commands:

• “Yes,” “No” or “OK.”

• “Dial” to dial numbers.

• “Call” to speed dial using stored name tags.

• “Store” to store numbers for speed dialing.

• “Store last number” to store the last number dialed.

• “Redial” to dial the last number called.

• “Directory” to play all stored name tags.

• “Help” or “OnStar help” to hear a list of all commands.

• “Clear” if a mistake is made when saying numbers. The command clears out the last set of numbers spoken. Or push the Voice Command button and start over.

• “Delete” to delete a name tag. The system will ask for the name tag to be deleted.

• “Delete all name tags” to delete every name stored, including Turn-by-Turn name tags.

• “Cancel” to return to the “OnStar ready” prompt or exit Hands-Free Calling.

• “Go back” to go back to the previous step.

• “Minutes” to check minute status, the number of minutes available or to add more minutes.

• “Verify or Add” to verify the number of minutes available or to add more minutes.

• “Goodbye” to exit Hands-Free Calling.

Voice dialing/recognition tips: The system is affected by noises inside and outside the vehicle. If you’re having trouble dialing, it may be necessary to emphasize certain sounds. Try these tips to improve dialing and voice recognition accuracy:

• Numbers must be said in sets of three or four. Saying a single digit or two digits will confuse the system.

• If the system does not understand “zero,” emphasize the “r” sound or saying “oh.”

• Emphasize the “n” sound at the end of the word “one.”

• Say the digit “2” softer and emphasize the “t” sound at the beginning.

• Emphasize the “l” sound in “Dial” to reduce confusion with the word call.

• Emphasize the hard “k” sound in “Call.”

• When storing a number with a name tag, use two words or two-syllable words.

• Say “pound key” for the # key.

• Say “star key” for the * key.

• Before pushing the Voice Command button, ask passengers to be quiet. Additional voices will confuse the voice recognition system.

• Be sure windows are up and fan is set on low.

• Voice recognition works best from the driver’s seat position.

Advisor Record feature: Hands-Free Calling instructions, driving directions or information given during a call with an OnStar Advisor can be recorded, and the stored information can be played back later.

• During an OnStar call, push the Voice Command button. The system will beep and start recording.

• To stop recording, push the Voice Command button again. The system will beep again (ends recording).

• To recall recorded information, push the Voice Command button. When the system responds with “OnStar ready” and the talk-tone, say “Advisor playback.” The recorded information will play.

• To pause the playback, push the Voice Command button again.

• To continue, push the Voice Command button and say “Advisor playback.” OnStar will respond, “Please say play or resume.”

• Say “Resume” to continue playback from where the recorded information was previously stopped. Say “Play” to start at the beginning.

Receiving a call: When someone calls you in your vehicle, you will hear a ring and see the Green System Status light flashing. Simply push the Voice Command button to answer. Push it again to end the call.

Unwanted calls: If you’re getting unwanted calls, you can ask an Advisor for a different Hands-Free Calling number. Have your account number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) ready.

Hands-Free Calling doesn’t respond: Your system may have shut off the Voice Feedback setting that responds to your commands. To turn it on, simply push your Voice Command button. After the system beeps, say “Voice Feedback.” You’ll hear “Voice Feedback on” and “Ready.” You will then receive verification from the system as you use it to place calls. If you still encounter difficulties with this or any other Voice Recognition issue, push the OnStar button or call 1.888.4.ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827) for further assistance.

Whom do you call the most with OnStar Hands-Free Calling?

1 OnStar Hands-Free Calling requires a Hands-Free Calling enabled vehicle, existing OnStar service contract and prepaid minutes. Not available in certain markets. Calls may be made to the U.S. and Canada only.

  • Greg Segur

    Excellent summary–very useful.

  • Joan

    Is there a way to input numbers when asked. Like when I call my voicemail at work, it asks for my extension and password. Can I say the numbers followed by saying the word pound? I’ve never tried it but this makes me think maybe I can. This was a good summary.

    • onstarconnections

      Joan – If you have a voice-command button on your steering wheel (it will have a silhouette of a face with sound waves coming from the mouth), you can press this button during your call. It will not disconnect the current call, but it will prompt you for a voice command. Speak the numbers you need to enter, including the “pound,” and the system will dial the numbers you’ve spoken as if you’d pressed them in on a keypad. I hope this helps! ~Sara

  • David

    Minutes used from Onstart calling have nothing to do with calls using bblue tooth connection correct?

    • onstarconnections

      That is correct, David. When using Bluetooth, you are using the minutes from your cell phone plan. Hope this helps! – Jen

  • Alan Stemphower

    When I say the Call Command and request HOME, it replies Help. Never happened with my last vehicle!!

    • onstarconnections

      Alan – We suggest making the nametags associated with your saved numbers more than on syllable. This makes it easier for the voice recognition system to differentiate between similar sounding words, such as “home” and “help.” Try saving the nametag as, “My home” or “home number” instead. I hope this helps! ~Sara

  • wfps1946

    When I first purchased my vehicle my OnStar minutes combined with my cell phone minutes. Is this still an option and if so how do I combine/share the minutes?

  • Powers

    I’d use this feature if I didn’t have to buy so many minutes, or if they weren’t so expensive! 40 cents a minute is a lot when you have to buy 100 minimum.