At times, the dictation key on the keypad is greyed out. At other times, you tap on it, dictate something, the pink dots show up and that’s it. Nothing happens after that.

If this is a scenario you’ve faced, don’t worry. You’re not alone. This thing keeps happening a lot many times for a lot many people.

The Problem
If the dictation key is grayed out, it’s mostly because there is not enough memory in your iPhone to run that service. Dictation – simple though it seems -is actually a Siri-like service which accesses the Apple servers to transcode what you speak. Since Apple is intent on making it a very smart and accurate system, there’s a lot of resources used up when you use Dictation.

How to Fix Dictation Problem on iPhone

The Solution
So, when you run a lot of apps in the background, there isn’t enough memory for dictation to work. In most cases, dictation is active again after a few seconds but then, you can try this to get rid of the grayed out dictation key:

  • Double-tap the home button to open multitask switcher.
  • Close all the apps (if you’re running a jailbroken device, use some tweak like KillBackground)
  • If possible, respring the device or do a hard reset (press the power and home button till the screen goes black. Then press the power button again to boot the iPhone)

In almost all the cases, this fixes the issue. While clearing the apps frees up the memory by a large extent, the respring/hard reset clears the RAM enough to free up the space for dictation to fire up again normally.

Alternatively, Resetting Stuff
In the rare case that this doesn’t work  or when dictation isn’t grayed-out but it just won’t work, you need to try a soft reset while also making sure to restart the dictation service.

First, try to reboot dictation:

  • Go to Settings → General → Keyboard
  • Where it says Dictation swipe to turn off the service.
  • After a few seconds, swipe it to turn ON again.

Check if dictation works.

If it doesn’t, let’s try turning off the network and restarting it:

  • You can either just turn ON the Airplane Mode (from Settings) and then turn it OFF again.
  • Or you can turn off Wifi/Cellular and then turn it on again after a few moments.

Check dictation again.

You can also reset through Settings → General → Reset → Reset All Settings.

This won’t erase anything so don’t worry: this just resets the cache and network stuff so you’re going to make things clearer for the iPhone. Dictation should work perfectly after this.

  • steve

    None of these “solutions” worked including reset all settings which has to be the worst solution i ever heard of. I just spent forever re-inputting all my passwords and fingerprints and now i have to hunt down my favorite photos for my backgrounds and find exaclty the right settings for my fonts.

    • GM Familygifts

      it erased all of my stuff as well! now I had to set up a password, and not only it makes me put in a new one, but not 4 digit but 6!!! Anyway, were you able to find a solution? because even after resetting everything, my dictation still won’t work :( Please help!

  • SP

    Listen people: App restart does wipe all of your settings-so yes, you could get mad about that if you feel the need. But what’s the point of being mad? It fixed my problem instantly. Dictation/Siri works perfectly now and I haven’t had a problem since. Thanks to Jignesh for the help. Appreciate it!

  • Rob Ruffin

    DO NOT RESET ALL SETTINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!! It erased all my stored wifi passwords, background picture, text tone, and more and it didn’t even fix the problem with the apple watch dictation! I’m blocking this website because I’ve spent half the day trying to fix problems I didn’t originally have before I read this post.