How to Fix iPhone® Dictation Not Working 


The “speech to text” feature in iOS® for iPhone® devices has taken accessibility to a whole new level, making it much easier than ever before to search and access your phone instantaneously. The only problem is: what do you do when your iPhone dictation isn’t working?  

If you were trying to send a safe text via speech, but accidentally told your loved ones you’re bringing home tarantulas for dinner instead of Thai— don’t fret. 

You won’t have to terrify your family for long! Here’s how to get your iPhone diction working again.

Check Your Mic and Apps 

The simplest reason your speech to text isn’t working is that your phone is off or not working properly at all. To check your microphone, open the Voice Note application on your iPhone and record a brief message. Play it back to yourself so you can see whether your voice was picked up in the recording.  

If you can’t hear yourself, make sure to check you don’t have any Bluetooth® devices connected that may be picking up the microphone instead. You should also check for any other apps that utilize dictation and may be interfering with the application you are trying to use, and close those.

If that doesn’t fix your mic issues, it may be best to stop into your local iPhone repair shop to ensure that your microphone hasn’t been damaged.


Reset Your Cellular Connection 

Your iPhone’s speech-to-text functionality requires having a stable Internet connection.

If the microphone icon is greyed out, your phone may be disconnected from the internet, or your connection could be unstable. 

In order to make sure your connection is working properly, navigate to your settings and look for your cellular connection option.

Turn it off and then proceed to restart your iPhone.

This will soft boot your phone.

If your phone’s internet stability was the issue, your microphone dictation will start to work properly after your phone restarts.

Reset Network Settings 

If you followed the previous step but your microphone was still greyed out, it’s time to reset your network. 

Go to your Settings on your phone and navigate to General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Tap “Reset Network Settings” to confirm and your network will reset.

Check Your Dictation Settings 

Restricted dictation settings can also be a culprit of your speech to text not working correctly.

In this case, you won’t even see the microphone button. This is from the iPhone being put into a simplified version, sometimes on accident.  

To check and change your Diction settings, first open up Settings.  

Go to Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions Allowed Apps 

Tap on “Enable Dictation” if the bar is not already green to enable your dictation. 


Refresh Siri & Dictation 

If your microphone icon wasn’t greyed out, but you have a stable internet connection, refreshing your Siri settings could help. 

Go to your Settings and navigate to Siri & Search.

Turn off “Press Home & Side Button for Siri” as well as “Listen to Siri.”

Disable Dictation, then force restart your iPhone. 


Update Your iOS 

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your iOS, there may be important updates to your microphone or dictation settings that need to be downloaded to work properly.

To make sure your device is on the most up-to-date version of iOS, go to your Settings > General > Software Update.

Look for any available updates, and if you see any, download and install those. Restart your phone and check to see if your dictation has started to work properly. 


Performing a Factory Restore 

While a software update should resolve your issue, in extreme situations certain software issues with your phone may require you to do a full factory reset.

This will wipe your iPhone, so if there are any important pictures or saved notes you have on your phone, this would be the time to save those on another device or through iCloud®. 

To start, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. 

Tap on Erase All Content and Settings, and your iPhone will perform the reset and restart. You should be presented with an iPhone welcome screen and a freshly reset phone. 


Dictation Still Not Working? 

We hope that the previous steps have solved any issues you may have! However, in the very rare case that none of the previous methods have resolved your dictation woes, you may have a more serious problem with your phone. We recommend hardware issues be left to the tech savvy; like your local neighborhood uBreakiFix service tech.   


This content is written by the uBreakiFix marketing team and is not endorsed, sponsored, or otherwise authorized by Apple Inc. IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. MacBook®, iCloud®, iPhone®, iPod®, iPad® and Mac® are the trademarks of Apple Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 

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