Dictation not working on iPhone or iPad? Here’s how to fix it

Dictation not working on iPhone and iPad

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like typing—which is where speech to text comes in. Usually, it works pretty well…but there have been a few times when we at iGeeksBlog noticed that dictation was not working on our iPhones.

We think this issue warrants some iOS troubleshooting tricks, so we put this list together. Give them a chance if you’ve come to this hurdle yourself with the hopes of quickly getting past it.

  1. Turn off/on Cellular Data or Wi-Fi
  2. Reset Network Settings
  3. Make sure Siri & Dictation aren’t restricted
  4. Give Siri & Dictation a fresh start
  5. Update your device to the latest iOS version
  6. Check your microphone
  7. Restore your device as new

These first two solutions apply if Dictation’s microphone icon is grayed out.

1. Turn off/on Cellular Data or Wi-Fi

Apple’s speech to text feature requires a stable internet connection to function properly. If your device isn’t connected to the Internet, the microphone icon turns gray.

So, make sure your iPhone or iPad has a proper internet connection.

  1. Open Settings → Cellular or Wi-Fi. Then, turn off the switch. 
  2. Next, restart your iPhone. 
  3. Once your device reboots, turn Cellular or Wi-Fi back on.

    turn-on-cellular-data-on-iphone

After that, open an app like Messages or Notes and try to use Dictation as usual. It should work now. If Dictation is still not working on your iPhone, move on to the next solution.

2. Reset Network Settings

What if Dictation’s microphone icon is still grayed out after you refresh your internet connection? There could be some latent network issues on your device. 

Don’t worry, there’s a reliable way of fixing them by resetting your iPhone or iPad’s network settings.

  1. Open Settings on your iOS device → General → Transfer or Reset iPhone.  
  2. Tap Reset → Reset Network Settings and enter your passcode to confirm.

    Reset Network settings on iPhone and iPad

Now, try to use Dictation as usual. If the microphone icon was grayed out, the problem should be gone now.

Note: This next solution applies if Dictation’s microphone icon is missing entirely.

3. Make sure Siri & Dictation aren’t restricted

Does your keyboard not show the microphone button? If that’s the case, we know the likely culprit after going through this ourselves a few times now.

Maybe you’d restricted Siri & Dictation for one reason or another and forgot to lift the restriction, or maybe your kid unknowingly messed with the Dictation settings. 

Whatever the case may be, 

  1. go to Settings → Screen Time → Content & Privacy Restrictions → Allowed Apps. 
  2. Now, make sure the toggle for Siri & Dictation is set to on.

    Turn On Siri and Dictation on iPhone

Note: If the microphone icon isn’t grayed out but you still can’t use Dictation on your iPhone or iPad, give the next solution a try.

4. Give Siri & Dictation a fresh start

In this scenario, Dictation doesn’t seem to work even when there’s no problems with internet connectivity, and the microphone icon isn’t grayed out either.

In such a case, a fresh start for both your iPhone and its Siri & Dictation settings could do the trick. 

  1. Open Settings on your iOS device → Siri & Search.
  2. Now, turn off Listen for “Hey Siri” and Press Home/Side Button for Siri.

    Turn Off Hey Siri and Press Home for Siri on iPhone

Then, disable Dictation. To do so, 

  1. Head over to Settings → General → Keyboard. 
  2. Toggle off Enable Dictation.

    Turn Off Dictation on iPhone

Next, force restart your device. The process is a little different depending on your iPhone model—check out this guide on force restarting if you need help.

After your device restarts, 

  1. Go back to Settings and turn on Listen for “Hey Siri” and Press Home/Side Button for Siri
  2. Also, enable Dictation

Now, check out if you have finally eliminated the problem. If your iPhone’s Dictation still isn’t working, you have a few solutions left to try.

5. Update your device to the latest iOS version

If you haven’t been able to fix the issue yet, we suspect the problem could well be due to an adamant software bug. To get rid of it, update your device to the latest version of iOS. 

Go to Settings → General → Software Update. After that, Download and Install the available update (if any).

Open-Settings-Tap-on-General-and-Then-Tap-on-Software-Update

6. Check your microphone

Record yourself in a voice memo, or give a friend a call and ask if you sound muffled. If it’s confirmed that your microphone sounds blocked, it’s the likely cause of Dictation not working on your iPhone or iPad.

You’ll want to locate your device’s microphone and gently clean it out using a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol. You can also use the process detailed in our guide on fixing your iPhone’s microphone.

After your mic is all clean, test it out again in a voice memo or call. If it works, give Dictation a try; hopefully it works.

7. Restore your device as new

In most cases, a software update is a sufficient fix to the problem, but if it fails, it’s time to restore your device as new.

Yes, it’s a tedious procedure that no one wants to get into. But then again, we shouldn’t leave any stone unturned in the search of a fix. So, give it a try as well. To get it done, head over to this hands-on guide.

Wrapping Up…

We hope you learned what to do if Dictation isn’t working on your iPhone, and if you didn’t find a fix that worked for you, let us know; we want to help! Leave more details about your situation in the comments below and we’ll do our best to find you a solution.

Have any other Apple-related questions? Leave those in the comments as well.

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