Dictation Not Working on iPhone? Here’s How to Fix It

Whenever I don’t feel comfortable to type, I take advantage of the ever-reliable “speech to text” feature on my iPhone to easily compose a text. In most cases, it does a pretty good job.

But then again, nothing is perfect in the world. And there have been quite a few times where I found dictation not working at all on my iPhone.

Considering how user-friendly this feature is, I thought it makes sense to share some workable tricks to troubleshoot the voice-to-text issues on the iOS device. Give them a chance if you have run into this hurdle and want to troubleshoot it right away!

Tips to Fix Voice Dictation Not Working Issue on iPhone and iPad

Is The Microphone Icon Greyed Out?

Solution #1: Turn OFF/ON Cellular or Wi-Fi

The “speech to text” feature requires a stable Internet connection to work perfectly. When your device is not connected to the Internet, the microphone icon turns grey.

So, make sure you have a proper Internet connection.

Open Settings app → Cellular/Wi-Fi. Then, turn off the switch. Next, restart your iPhone. Once your device has rebooted, turn on cellular or Wi-Fi.

Turn ON Cellular on iPhone

 

 

Turn OFF or ON WiFi on iPhone

After that, open any app like Messages or Notes and try to use dictation as usual. It should work now.

Solution #2: Reset Network Settings

What if the microphone icon is still grayed out, even after you have refreshed the Internet connection? There could be network issues on your device. But do not worry, as there is a reliable way of fixing it by resetting the network.

Open Settings app on your iOS device → General → Reset → hit Reset Network Settings and confirm.

Reset Network Settings on iPhone or iPad

 

Now, try to use the voice to text feature as usual. The problem should be gone now!

Is Microphone Button Hidden?

Solution #3: Make Sure Siri & Dictation Is Not Restricted

Does the keyboard not show up the microphone button? If it’s the case, I know the exact reason behind it because I have gone through this path a few times.

Maybe you had restricted Siri & Dictation earlier and forgot to remove the limitation or maybe your kid had unknowingly put a break on this speech to text feature. Whatever could be the case, go to Settings → Screen Time → Content & Privacy Restrictions → Allowed Apps → now, make sure the toggle for Siri & Dictation is ON.

Turn On Siri and Dictation on iPhone

Microphone Icon Is Not Grayed Out But Still Can’t Use Voice to Text Feature?

Solution #4: Give A Fresh Start to Siri and Dictation

In another scenario, the voice dictation doesn’t seem to work even when there is no problem with the Internet, and the microphone icon isn’t grayed out either.

In such a case, giving a fresh start to both iPhone and Siri Dictation could do the trick. Well, the reason why I feel a bit optimistic about it is that it has worked for many users. Anyway, let’s try it out!

Open Settings app on your iOS device → Siri & Search → 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 after, disable Dictation. To do so, head over to SettingsGeneralKeyboardDictation.

Turn Off Dictation on iPhone

Next, you need to force restart your device. As the process slightly varies based on different models, check out this guide if you need help.

After your device has restarted, go back to the Settings and turn on Listen for Hey Siri and Press Home/Side Button for Siri. Also, enable Dictation. Now, check out if you have finally eliminated the problem.

Turn ON Hey Siri and Press Home for Siri on iPhone

Turn ON Dictation on iPhone

Solution #5: Update iOS On Your Device

No respite as yet? I suspect the problem could well be due to an adamant bug. To get rid of the bug, update your device. Go to Settings app → General → Software Update. After that, download and install the available update.

Tap on Settings then General then Software Update on iPhone

Solution #6: Restore Your Device As New

In most cases, the software update could troubleshoot the problem but if it also fails to offer the needed outcome, restore your device as new.

Yes, it’s the most unwanted solution as no one ever wishes to do it. But then again, we shouldn’t leave any stone unturned in the search of a fix. So, try it out as well. To get it done, head over to this hands-on guide.

Wrapping Up…

Got the answer to the problem? I guess you’ve finally sorted out the issue for good and started using dictation as usual. If you ever come across the same hurdle in the future, do keep the tricks in mind to troubleshoot it right away.

You might want to read the following articles:

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Jignesh Padhiyarhttps://www.igeeksblog.com
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of iGeeksBlog.com who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.

24 COMMENTS

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    • 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    • 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
      afterwards.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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

          • 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.

          • 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.

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