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My Brother in law has an IPhone 4 (not 4s) with a special kind of durable cover. however this means that the home button gets pressed a lot in his pocket and switches on voice control which does all sorts of weird things.

Can you switch off the long press home button voice control?

Is there any other solution other than get a new iphone cover?

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In Settings > General > Passcode Lock (Yeah, a weird place, but hey ho) you can limit the voice control to music options only, and turn off voice dialling. This doesn't disable the long press option, but it does mean that at worst it can annoy you rather than embarrass you...

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Note that for Jailbroken devices, there seem to be a number of tweaks and hacks that will disable the function entirely. The following links are from a brief google, and I haven't tested them as I do not jailbreak but they look promising:

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