Many iOS users have been complaining about dictation not working on their iPhone/iPad. The little microphone icon is grayed out, when you try to dictate something in Messages app. There are many reasons behind this issue. We have covered almost every single reason along with their solution.

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.

Dictation Not Working on iPhone

Now you might understand, that it require lots of resources along with internet bandwidth to use dictation feature. So, make sure you have a decent internet connection before attempting to use dictation feature.

How to Fix Dictation Not Working on iPhone

#1. Close all background app

Double tap home button, and clear all the apps that are running in background. By doing so, your iPhone will clear the memory usage.

#2. Force restart your iPhone

Force restart your device by pressing and holding Sleep/Wake button along with home button, until you see the Apple logo. By force restarting, your device will clear all the temporary cache files, giving more resources to dictation feature.

#3. Check for dictation settings

Sometimes, we might try every technical process, while only a simple mistake could be bothering us. Check for dictation settings before coming to any conclusion.

Make sure you have toggled on Dictation option in Settings → General → Keyboard → Scroll down and Toggle ON Dictation.

Tap on Settings Then General on iDevicesTap on Keyboard on iPhoneEnable Dictation on iPhone

#4. Refresh your internet connection

Try toggling ON Airplane Mode and then turn it back OFF. This will reset the network connection. If there is any network problem, this might solve it.

Go to Settings toggle ON Airplane mode and turn it back OFF after few seconds.

Turn On Airplane Mode on iPhoneor

Swipe the screen up to open control center and tap on Airplane icon.

Toggle Airplane Mode from iPhone Control Center

#5. Reset all settings

Settings app has lot of options to configure, we might have made some or the other changes; which could possibly cause dictation not working issue.

Reset all settings from Settings → General → Reset → . Don’t worry, this will just reset the settings and all your data will be untouched.

Tap on Settings Then General on iDevicesReset All Settings on iPhoneConfirm to Reset All Settings in iOS 9

#6. Check for Restrictions

Make sure you have not enabled Restriction option. Go to Settings → General → Restrictions → toggle ON Siri & Dictation.

Tap on Settings Then General on iDevicesTap on Restrictions and Enter Passode on iPhoneTurn On Dictation from Restrictions on iPhone

#7. Enter recipient number in Messages app

If you are trying to access dictation feature on Messages app, then first thing you will need to do is to enter recipient number. Unless and until you don’t do it, dictation icon will stay grayed out. Give it a try by entering recipient number.

#8. Backup and restore using iTunes

Try resetting your entire device from Settings → General → Reset → Erase All Content and Settings. Then restore your device from backup using iTunes.

Did this solve your dictation not working issue? Or if you have any other fix, do share with us on our social media pages or by commenting in the box given below.

  • Lindsay Katherine

    None of these worked : (

  • RelatedToAFamily

    #1 worked!

  • Disqus

    UPDATE YOUR POST! It is TOTALLY WRONG to say “Reset All Settings won’t erase anything so don’t worry: this just resets the cache and
    network stuff”.

    Many other people have posted about getting caught by this screwup, totally irresponsible to still have your crappy advice posted which has now caused me a hell of a lot of work resetting my entire phone to work the way it should!

  • Nick fedor

    All you need Is cellular settings turned on! I’ve tried all the techniques and none worked, I turned on my cellular and it worked!!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • PittsburghSports

    Whatever you do, do NOT reset all settings, unless you want to go through everything from screen saver, passcode, notifications… and redo EVERYTHING. Do not listen to him. It erases all that stuff.

  • PittsburghSports

    RESET ALL SETTINGS!!!??? OH no this won’t erase anything? Are you kidding me? It erased all my settings. Passcode… notifications… everything. I HATE YOU!

  • davidgilmore

    I don’t understand this problem. I followed your instrux and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It goes weeks without working and then works for weeks. My Internet is extremely reliable so I can’t blame that. I have a gig of memory left so I don’t think it’s that. I turn off dictation and turn it on – it works for a few minutes and then stops.

  • sue

    Airplane mode fixed it immediately, thanks!

  • Maureen Barney

    Thx. Problem solved with the closing of apps and hard reset.

  • John

    THANK YOU!!!

  • Bethany Gray

    Thank you! Problem solved.

  • rhetorich

    It’s all true. Kill the all the running apps, shut down & cold restart the iPad. Voila :)

  • rhetorich

    It’s all true. Kill the all the running apps, shut down & cold restart the iPad. Voila :)

  • Leah

    Thanks for article Jignesh. I’m freaking out because since I did the update to my iPhone 4S, dictation circle just spins & spins! I went to where you said settings>keyboard>dictation, and dictation’s NOT even listed anymore! What should I do? Plz help. I start summer semester soon & need dictation!! Don’t want to upgrade to iPhone 5 (if that’s the issue). I have been using dictation on this phone for almost 2 yrs without a hitch. Btw, Siri opens normal but again circle spins although earlier today it replied something like sorry can’t help you right now or something like that. These problems have been going on for ~a week.
    Please help Someone! Thanks, leah

    • iGeeksBlog

      Did you try the other steps like reset all settings and the airplane
      mode fix? If nothing works, the last resort is to restore your iPhone
      (you can use the backup after you restore) and try to use dictation

      • Leah

        Hi. Ever since updating to iOS 7.1.1 on my iPhone 4S neither Siri nor dictation work. Little circle just turns and turns! Siri says “I’m really sorry about this but I can’t take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while.” This has been happening for about 2 weeks. I was using Siri & dictation for the past year without any problems.I tried everything short of hard reset, but I’ve read other people online saying that didn’t work for them anyway. I have always only used my phone with wifi (without problems). I read online that maybe I have to have stronger wifi for the new OS? I don’t think this should be the case b/c I had no probs w/ iOS 6. My Reuter’s pretty old. Could it maybe that I should get a new one even though my internet’s working fine? My son’s Siri and dictation are not working either.I’ve wasted days on this : (. Weird thing is voice memos app works perfectly fine, so I know it’s not a hardware issue.

        • iGeeksBlog

          Appreciate that you have made sure it’s not your microphone/hardware
          that could be the issue. I’d suggest you run a memory check: does your
          iPhone have enough free-space? Check if the “Other” data is using up too
          many gigs of space. And a hard reset doesn’t harm so try that too. As a
          last resort, I suggest you restore and setup your iPhone as new and use
          Siri. If it works fine, then restore from backup.

          • Leah

            I do not currently use cellular service, only wifi. I read an article that says the new iOS 7 needs a stronger wifi signal than the iOS 6 needed to be able to operate Siri & dictation. The Mbps that I am getting from my ISP is not enough. Normal people get approx 6 Mbps But I have been told that b/c of where I live (outside of town so not urban) the max my line can receive is 1.7, so nothing is wrong w/ my iphone or my router, so I guess I have no dictation to use for summer semester now : ( until I hopefully move out if this house someday soon. Darn I had to type this paragraph. I wish I could go back to iOS 6!! And I think apple should be responding to people’s queries on their own forum, but they don’t. Very disappointed. Any suggestions are appreciated. Btw, I went to a fast food restaurant and my Siri & dictation worked perfectly on both mine and my son’s phones. Kindly

          • iGeeksBlog

            Thanks for the input, Leah. The Apple forums is actually a community of
            Apple users only. Apple doesn’t officially respond there at all. Apple
            just wanted to setup a system where users can discuss amongst
            themselves. As regards the dictation issue, would it be possible for you
            to try a SIM card with 3g/lte data and then use dictation from there
            on? Thanks.

          • Leah

            Ok, thanks for that. Yes, I might have to set up a pay as you go plan or something and then I guess I’d have to pay every time I want to dictate? Thanks for the suggestion, I might end up doing it : ). Cheers. Thanks again.