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The App Is Not Responding to Me, What Can I Do?

Some users are experiencing a problem with Marco Polo detecting their voice. This may be caused by several issues:

    The app/microphone is turned off.

  1. Open the Marco Polo app.
  2. On the home screen, ensure the ON/OFF switch near the top right is set to the ON position.

    The app may be in limbo.

  1. Force the app to close: Double–click the Home button. Then swipe up on the app's preview window to close it.
  2. Relaunch Marco Polo. Make sure it is ON as described above.

    The volume is low or completely off.

  1. Open the Marco Polo app.
  2. In the app's settings increase the volume to maximum or enable Volume Boost.

    The app does not have permission to access your microphone.

  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Then tap Microphone.
  4. Ensure Marco Polo is turned on.

    The app is having a difficult time recognizing your voice.

  1. Remove any large case on the phone that may be blocking the microphone.
  2. Place the phone on a surface facing you.
  3. Try different variations of MARCO: talk slower, leave breaks between shouts, or just say MARCO (do not shout it). Be clear in your pronunciation.
  4. Try different tones of voice or making your voice deeper.

  5. Following these steps should ensure that the app responds to you. If you have a non North American accent it may be less responsive.

The App Responds to Random Sounds.

A loud environment can sometimes accidentally trigger the app to response. Changing the input phrase to something more complex can help prevent this.

    How can I change the input phrase?

  1. Open the Marco Polo app.
  2. Ensure the app/microphone is ON, as described above.
  3. On the home screen tap on the white text near the bottom. By default this text reads "MARCO".
  4. Change the text to any 1-12 character word or phrase (for example: "OK MARCO").
  5. Tap Done on the keyboard for the phrase to take effect.


Can I Hide the Red Bar?

Unfortunately developers currently have no control over the red status bar that you see appear at the top of the screen. This is a visual/security indicator that Apple forces on your device when it is using the microphone - as is the case when Marco Polo is on. We cannot change the color, size, nor can we hide it. All other apps on iOS behave the same way.

We understand that this is frustrating for some users and we hope that Apple changes their policy in the future and grants us more control over this. We are not big fans of the bar either and will work hard to affect this policy.

At this time you must turn OFF Marco Polo to hide the bar. This will stop the app from responding to your voice.

Can I Leave Marco Polo Running in the Background Without the Red Bar?

This is only possible if the app is set to OFF as described above. When Marco Polo is off it will not respond to your voice. However the Nearby Extension will continue to work.


How Do I Find Nearby Devices?

The Nearby feature is available as an iOS 8 widget in your Notification Center.

To get started, swipe down to reveal Notification Center. Under the Today tab, tap the Edit button at the bottom of the list. Then tap the plus button next to Marco Polo to add the widget.

Once the widget is added it will automatically scan for nearby devices. Tapping on a device will make it respond.

I Cannot See Any Other Devices.

The Nearby widget scans for devices automatically. If other devices do not appear, ensure that they are running Marco Polo and have the Nearby feature turned on.

Can I Use the Nearby Feature Without the Microphone?

Absolutely. Just toggle Discoverable ON in the app's settings. This feature will work independent from the microphone—even if the microphone is OFF.


Is Marco Polo Draining My Battery?

All applications that run services in the background will consume some battery (that is GPS, accelerometer, or the microphone).

During testing we left the app running on a phone throughout the day, and over nights to perform tests on battery drain and did not see any significant impact. This may vary for users, however full day battery should be very achievable when running Marco Polo on your phone.

Further, the new Nearby Extension uses Bluetooth Low Energy—this is very battery efficient and may be used alone, without the microphone.


Why Doesn't the App Run in the Background?

Please ensure you launch Marco Polo and that it is ON. Keep the app running (do not remove it from the multitasking view). This should ensure that it responds to you even if you are using another app or your device is in sleep mode.

Why Do Some Sounds Get Silenced?

When the app is ON, some notifications and sounds will get silenced. Your device does this automatically when using the microphone. Phone calls, calendar alerts, and clock alarms will continue to make sounds.