How to Fix iPhone Dictation Not Working?

Is your iOS Dictation Not Working or Voice-to-Speech Conversion is Not Loading. Here are the Best Methods to Fix Speech to Text Not Working on iPhone.

In this guide, I will explain to you how to troubleshoot the issue of speech-to-text not working on iPhone. Smartphone technology has advanced to a whole new level in recent years. To create a piece of text on a smartphone no more you have to sit and draft something word by word through typing.

Using the Speech to text feature on iPhone you can simply dictate the words, sentences, or phrases and it will be automatically appearing as words on the text field. This feature on iOS is called dictation. If this feature is not enabled then you won’t be able to create drafts using voice.

Also, for some users being on a beta version of iOS causes them to come across such bugs where the speech-to-text feature is not working. Although the language on your iPhone is set as per your region, if for any technical problem, the language for dictation changes, you won’t be able to see the words you speak convert to text.

If content restrictions have been set on the iOS for dictation, then it won’t work until the restriction is turned off or whitelisted for the concerned feature.

Best Ways to Fix Dictation Not Working on iPhone

We now know why Speech-to-text or dictation is not working on iPhone. Let’s go through the troubleshooting steps mentioned below to resolve the issue.

1. Ensure that Dictation Feature on iPhone is Enabled

Start by checking whether dictation has been enabled on your iPhone. If not, enable it using the steps below.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Navigate to the option Keyboard and tap on it.
    iPhone keyboard settings iOS
  4. Here, scroll to Enable Dictation and tap on the toggle beside it.
    enable dictation feature on iOS

Let me show you how to use the dictation feature for those who are new to iOS. Let’s say you are using the Notes app to draft something. You wish to do it using the speech-to-text feature.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Create a new note.
  3. On the virtual keyboard, press and hold on to the microphone button.
    create speech to text on iPhone
  4. You will see the spectrum for recorded voice shows up.
    speech to text feature iPhone
  5. Speak up and dictate the sentence. You will see that the spoken words will appear on the screen in the text form.

2. Restart the iPhone

Always remember to give your iPhone a restart if you come across any technical snag. Most of the time a reboot usually resolves the issues that show up out of nowhere.

  1. Press the side button of the iPhone.
  2. The Slide to power off option will show up. Tap and move the slider. The iPhone will switch off.
    poweroff iPhone
  3. After a few seconds, press the side button to restart the iPhone.
  4. Check if the dictation feature of iOS is now working or not. If not, use the other troubleshooting methods.

3. Update iOS Version

iOS users often complain about bugs on the iPhone or its apps. The issue of speech-to-text not working may be related to an unstable version of iOS installed on your iPhone. So, upgrade the iOS build to a newer version. To do that,

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Next, tap on the Software Update option.
  4. The device will start searching for available iOS updates.
  5. You will be prompted to download and install the same. Follow the on-screen instruction to grab the new update.
    how to update iOS on iPhone

After updating the iOS, you should be able to use the speech-to-text feature on the iPhone and Fix Speech to Text Not Working on iPhone.

4. Do Not Use Headphones

If you are planning to use the speech-to-text feature on iPhone, then make sure not to connect any kind of headphones, earphone, or in-ears. Otherwise, whatever you speak, won’t be properly deciphered, and almost nothing will be converted to text.

If you are using the general earpads which are wired earphones from Apple, disconnect them from the iPhone. Otherwise, if you have connected any Bluetooth-supported earphones, disconnect them by following this easy step.

  1. Open the Control center on the iPhone.
  2. Check if Bluetooth is active for any earphones.
  3. Simply tap on the Bluetooth icon to disconnect any active audio devices.
    disable bluetooth device on iPhone

Now, use the speech-to-text feature on iPhone, and it will work.

5. Make Sure the Language is added in Keyboard Settings

The Dictation feature only works for a language that is added to the keyboard settings, and also the keyboard is selected. If you’re trying to dictate in Spanish but don’t have the keyboard added, the speech-to-text will not produce any text or produce gibberish.

  1. Open the Settings app and go to General.
  2. Then, tap the ‘Keyboard‘ option and go to ‘Keyboards‘.
  3. Now, tap on ‘Add New Keyboard‘.
  4. Here add the keyboard in the language you want.

6. Whitelist Dictation feature from the iOS Content & Privacy Restrictions

iOS has a feature called Content & Privacy Restrictions which, when enabled for various elements of iOS, can restrict their features. Even the dictation feature is included under privacy restrictions.

If the restrictions are enabled, you won’t be able to use the speech-to-text feature. To check that,

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Screen Time.
  3. Then navigate to Content & Privacy Restrictions. Tap on it.
    content and privacy restriction settings iOS
  4. Next, tap on Allowed Apps.
  5. Under that, navigate to Siri & Dictation. Check that the toggle beside the option has been enabled. This means dictation has been enabled on iPhone.
    enable siri and dictation on iPhone

Otherwise, directly disable the Content & Privacy Restrictions altogether on the iPhone.

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Screen Time.
  3. Then navigate to Content & Privacy Restrictions and tap on it.
    content and privacy restriction settings iOS
  4. On the next page, you will see a toggle beside Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  5. Tap on the toggle to disable the feature.
    content and privacy restrictions disabled

7. Reset Network Settings on iPhone

You may reset the network settings on the iPhone if you repeatedly face issues in using speech-to-text.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Navigate to Transfer or Reset iPhone and tap on it.
    iOS transfer or reset iPhone
  4. Then tap on Reset.
  5. From the menu select Reset Network Settings.
    reset network settings on iOS
  6. Enter the passcode to confirm and proceed with the reset process.
  7. Once the network resets, the iPhone will restart.
  8. Now, you can use the dictation feature without any issues.

8. Try to Reset the iPhone Completely

As we are discussing resetting, you may also consider entirely resetting your iPhone. Go for this troubleshooting method only if the other methods do not work for you.

Keep in mind that the reset process will erase everything from your iPhone. So, take a backup of your data to iCloud or your PC via iTunes so that you can restore your device data after the reset.

  1. Head to the Settings app.
  2. Tap on the option General.
  3. Next, tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone.
    iOS transfer or reset iPhone
  4. Tap on Reset and a menu will show up showing various reset options.
  5. Select Reset All Settings.
    reset all settings of iPhone
  6. To carry out the reset, you have to provide the passcode of the iPhone.
  7. Once the reset is done and the iPhone boots up, set it up.
  8. Use any app to create a text by using the dictation feature. As the device is entirely new due to reset, the dictation feature should work.

So, try these troubleshooting methods to fix the speech-to-text feature on iPhone if it is not working. I hope this guide was useful to you.

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Swayam Prakash
Swayam is a professional content creator with 6-years of experience in conceptualizing, creating, and managing tech-based content for notable online publishing firms. At DigitBin, he creates quality-rich and simple content related to Windows OS, Android, iOS, social media, cloud computing, and other general consumer technology. Contact Me on Linkedin

1 Response

  1. Alex says:

    On a fresh iPhone SE 2020, 16.5.1 freshly reset, with a perfectly working mic (tested in audio memos), the start of sentences are just… ignored !
    I sometimes have to repeat 5 times a word or a sentence. Sometimes screm near the mic.
    On 16.1, it was PERFECTLY working, even when speaking from a long distance (2 meters !).
    Apple : please help!

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