iPhone Dictation

You have probably seen an icon of a microphone on your on-screen keyboard, but have you ever wondered what it was there for? This little microphone allows you to use the dictation feature on your iPhone. The iPhone dictation feature is incredibly handy, yet it seems to be one of those underrated tools that many people do not take advantage of. iPhone dictation has come a long way and you can have faith that the feature actually does a pretty good job. If you have a complex idea or you want to quickly note a few lines of text before you forget you can simply speak it with your voice thanks to Apple’s built-in dictation feature.  Once you start using it, you might be surprised how good it is and it may establish itself as a normal everyday function you will routinely use.

How to enable and disable dictation on iPhone and iPad

You can access iPhone dictation almost anytime your keyboard is on screen. If you lack the microphone icon on your keyboard (bottom left), either the app you are currently using does not support dictation for the field you are typing into, or you’ve completely disabled it in your iOS settings.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Keyboard.
  4. Tap on the On/Off switch next to Enable Dictation. Green means on, and gray means off.

How to use dictation on iPhone and iPad

  1. Launch any app that uses the keyboard. I will use Messages for this example.
  2. Tap on the text field to bring up the keyboard.
  3. Tap on the Dictation button. It’s the microphone between the Emoji button and Space Bar.
  4. Start speaking. You should notice the words come up as you go.
  5. Tap Done when you are done speaking. Alternatively, if your microphone isn’t picking up any sound for a short amount of time it will shut off itself.

How to Improve iPhone dictation results

Dictation will never be perfect, so make sure you are speaking loud and clear in order to get the most accurate results. Dictation works best when connected to a fast WiFi network or cellular data as Apple needs to process your voice input to make sense of the audio data and convert it into text. Try to keep the voice recording under half a minute for the best reliability.

If you care about proper sentence structure at all, you’ll need to speak any punctuation. You can say “period”, “dot” or “comma” and “hyphen” for punctuation. Your iPhone will also “insert new line” and begin a “new paragraph” if you tell it to. Experiment with speed and volume to find the limits of your iPhone Voice Dictation, usually, you can go pretty fast. Autocorrection can be used by tapping underlined words after you are done talking, tap word suggestions for a quick correction.

There is no doubt that you will make a mistake and will want to delete the last word or maybe even the entire last sentence. Unfortunately, Apple still does not offer an easy way to delete a wrong word simply by voice command. if you are on the go you can use the Shake to Undo feature, where you just have to shake your iPhone and it will mark the last sentence and delete it.

Here’s a list of voice commands we’ve found useful with both Siri and Dictation:

New lineMove to the next line
New paragraphStart a new paragraph
CapCapitalise the next word
Caps on … caps offCapitalise a section of text
All capsMake the next word all uppercase
All caps on … all caps offMake part of what you say uppercase
No capsMake the next word lowercase
No caps on … no caps offMake sure part of what you say is all lowercase
Space barPrevent a hyphen from appearing in a normally hyphenated word
No spacePrevent a space between words
No space on … no space offPrevent a section of text from having spaces between words
“Period” or “full stop”Place a “.” at the end of a sentence
“Ellipsis” or “dot dot dot”
Double comma,,
“Quote” or “quotation mark”
“Quote … end quote” or “quote … close quote”Place quotes around a section of text
Exclamation point!
Inverted exclamation point¡
Question mark?
Inverted question mark¿
Open parenthesis(
Close parenthesis)
Open bracket[
Close bracket]
Open brace{
Close brace}
Em dash
Percent sign%
Copyright sign©
Registered sign®
Section sign
Dollar sign$
Cent sign¢
Euro sign
Yen sign¥
Degree sign
At sign@
Pound sterling sign£
Pound sign#
Greater than sign>
Less than sign<
Forward slash/
Back slash\
Vertical bar|
“Smiley” or “smiley face” or “smile face”:-)
“Frowny” or “frowny face” or “frown face”:-(
“Winky” or “winky face” or “wink face”?
E.g. (pronounced as “e g”)e.g.
i.e. (pronounced as “i e”)i.e.

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