Turn Dictation OFF or ON for iPad or iPhone

May 4, 2012 - 19 Comments

The Keyboard in iOS

Dictation on the iPad and iPhone converts your words into text, it can make typing in iOS easier but it’s also easy to accidentally activate with an inadvertent touch. For a variety of reasons you may want to either turn it on or off, and if you don’t use Dictation it’s simple to disable which also hides the little microphone button from appearing on the keyboard.

How to Enable or Disable Dictation in iOS

Typically Dictation is turned ON by default, but sometimes upgraded iOS doesn’t have the feature on. The instructions are the same either way, it’s just a matter of what the switch is set to:

  1. Open Settings app in iOS and tap on “General”
  2. Tap on “Keyboard” and look for “Dictation”, swipe to either ON to OFF
  3. For Disabling: Tap “Turn Off” to confirm disabling of the feature

When you attempt to enable or disable Dictation, you will receive a message that warns “The information Dictation uses to respond to your requests will be removed from Apple servers. If you want to use Dictation later, it will take time to re-send this information.” That’s fairly self explanatory, but basically if you turned it off and then re-enable the service it has to reupload voice data before it works again.

Similarly, if you’ve never used the feature and are turning it on for the first time, it will have a popup informing you that the Dictation data will be uploaded to Apple. The reason your voice data is uploaded to Apple is so that it can be processed and then accurately transcribed on remote servers voice recognition servers, rather than trying to squeeze that process out locally on the device.

The Dictation button is always next to the spacebar key on the iOS keyboard, regardless of being on an iPhone or iPad, it looks like a little microphone as you can see here:

The Keyboard in iOS

This is what Dictation button looks like on an iPad keyboard with a prior release of iOS software:

iPad Dictation

Dictation is a great feature and we would generally recommend having it on due to it’s wide range of uses.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Peter says:

    Turn it off and on again to reconfigure Dictation to your voice too. I noticed after a friend was messing around with mine that it became inaccurate, flipping the switch back and forth made it normal again.

  2. Herhor says:

    I don’t have this in my options! (iphone 4s)

  3. Jshell says:

    Works on my iPad but not my iPhone 4s.

  4. Dan says:

    Does it work on iPad 2 or ipad3 only?

  5. Yong says:

    My iPhone 4S doesn’t have the ‘Dictation’ option. Have the author actually tried it on an iPhone 4S?

  6. Hamranhansenhansen says:

    The dictation on/off only appears on iPhone if you upgraded to iOS 5. If the device started out with iOS 5, that switch is missing.

  7. SoonerFan says:

    I have iphone 4S and used Dictation a lot. My wife accidentally turned it off when adjusting some settings on my phone while driving. Now the setting no longer is there. How do you reactivate it? There is no… “Dication On/Off” as I’d imagine there should be (and probably used to be). Bug?

  8. […] you don’t see the dictation button you may have turned it off at some point, be sure to re-enable it within […]

  9. […] supports Dictation and has the featured turned on (here’s how to enable it in OS X and how to enable it for iOS, though it’s almost always turned on by default in the latest versions of […]

  10. gb says:

    my iPhone 5 with iOS 7.1.2 doesn’t have this feature

  11. Geo says:

    If you have a newer version of iOS, and you have any iDevice that supports it, go to Settings.. General.. Siri.. When you turn on Siri, the dictation or MIC button should appear on your keyboard.

  12. Anne Thompson says:

    Hi. I upgraded my iPhone 4s yesterday and am no longer able to dictate and I used to love it. I chose “enable dictation” during the upgrade and just followed your instructions and it is in fact enabled. But the microphone cannot be selected for use, although the button is on the screen in a lighter color. What next??
    Thank you.

  13. kate says:

    I have i Phone 5, iOS 7.1.2 and Siri turn on but still have to option to enable Dictation…it does not appear in keyboards at all

  14. Ray Jones says:

    How to turn off the loud ding when pushing the microphone icon to start or stop dictation? Thanks

  15. Iamawesome says:

    Stupid. I don’t have “dictation” button. This is so dumb.

  16. Rt says:

    “Dictation is a great feature and we would generally recommend having it on due to it’s wide range of uses.”

    No apostrophe needed for its.

  17. David says:

    If you do not have the dictation option. You need to enable Siri under Settings – General – Siri

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