9 Ways to Fix iPhone Dictation Not Working [iOS 16 Updated]

Dictation is an interesting feature that converts speech or voice to text on your iPhone. Thankfully, Apple Keyboard also supports the talk-to-text feature. However, often the dictation feature stops working on iPhone. While many users have reported that they see an X mark when they tap on the Dictation icon, for others, the microphone icon appears greyed out.


Whatever the issue with dictation, this post shall help. Let’s check various ways to fix dictation not working on iPhone and iPad including the latest version of iOS 16.

1. Restart iPhone

The first thing that you must do if voice-to-text functionality isn’t working on your iPhone is to restart it. Many times, simply restarting the iPhone is enough to fix the issue of dictation on iPhone not working.

To restart your iPhone, press and hold the Power button until you see the power slider. Drag the slider towards the right to turn off your iPhone. Then, press and hold the Power button again to turn on the iPhone.

iPhone Power Off

Pro Tip: You may also try putting your iPhone in Airplane mode, restarting your iPhone, and then turning off the Airplane mode.

2. Re-enable Dictation in Settings

To use the iPhone keyboard voice typing feature, you must enable dictation in settings. Follow these steps to enable dictation on your iPhone:

Step 1: Open Settings and go to General.

iPhone Settings General

Step 2: Tap on Keyboard.

iPhone Settings General Keyboard

Step 3: Scroll down and turn on the toggle next to Enable dictation. A pop-up will appear. Tap on Enable Dictation.

iPhone Settings Keyboard Dictation Enable

Step 4: If it’s already on, turn off the toggle and then turn it on again.

3. Enable Dictation Language

The Apple Keyboard speech-to-text functionality works for languages added under the keyboard settings. If you are trying to use the dictation feature for the language that is disabled or not added, it will not work.

Therefore, you must first add the dictation language and enable it as shown below:

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

Step 2: Tap on Keyboards followed by ‘Add New Keyboard…’.

Step 3: Select the language that you want to add.

iPhone Keyboard Add Language

Step 4: Now, go to Settings > General > Keyboards. Scroll down and tap on Dictation Languages.

iPhone Keyboard Dictation Add Language

Step 5: Select the languages in which you want to speak.

iPhone Keyboard Dictation Add Language Enable

Step 6: To change the dictation language, touch and hold the microphone icon in the Apple Keyboard. Select the language that you want to switch to.

iPhone Keyboard Dictation Change Language

4. Switch Language English (UK)

In a bizarre behavior from Apple Keyboard, many users, especially on iOS 16 have found out that changing the dictation language to English (UK) fixed the dictation not working issue for them. You can try the same and see if this trick works for you.

Step 1: Follow the first 2 steps of the above method i.e., go to Settings > General > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard.

Step 2: Select English (UK) from the list.

iPhone Keyboard Add Language UK

Step 3: Then, open the Apple Keyboard and touch and hold the microphone icon on the keyboard. Select English (UK).

iPhone Keyboard Dictation Change Language

Hopefully, you should see the waves in the bottom panel, which indicates that dictation has started working on your iPhone.

5. Check Screen Time Restrictions

If the microphone aka dictation button doesn’t appear on your iPhone’s keyboard, it’s because of app restrictions set for Siri and the dictation feature. You must turn it off in screen time settings as shown below:

Step 1: Open Settings on your phone.

Step 2: Go to Screen Time followed by Content & privacy restrictions.

Step 3: Tap on Allowed Apps.

iPhone Screen Time Allowed App

Step 4: Enable the toggle next to Siri & Dictation.

iPhone Screen Time Siri

Pro Tip: You can also try turning off all content restrictions under Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions. Turn off the toggle next to Content & Privacy Restrictions.

6. Turn Off Lower Power Mode

The speech-to-text could stop working if low power mode is enabled on your iPhone. You must turn it off to see if it fixes voice-to-text.

Step 1: Go to Settings followed by Battery on your iPhone.

Step 2: Turn off the toggle next to Low Power Mode.

7. Check Microphone

If the dictation feature doesn’t convert speech to text on your iPhone, there are chances that the microphone of your iPhone isn’t working properly.

To test and fix it, try using the microphone in a different app like Voice memo. If the audio recording also comes blank, make sure that no Bluetooth device is connected to your iPhone. An easy fix is to simply turn off Bluetooth under Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone. Check out other ways to fix the microphone not working on iPhone.

8. Update iPhone Software

Sometimes, the dictation not working issue can happen due to a bug in the current version of iOS. You must update the iOS to the latest version to fix the issue. Go to Settings > General > Software update. If an update is available, tap on Download and install to install it.

9. Reset Settings

Lastly, if nothing seems to fix the issue of speech-to-text not working on your iPhone, you must reset your iPhone settings. Doing so will revert all the settings like permissions, Wi-Fi, etc., to their default values.

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.

iPHONE Transfer Reset

Step 2: Tap on Reset followed by ‘Reset All Settings’.

Tip: If you forgot your device’s password, here’s how to reset iPhone passcode.

Try Alternative Keyboard Apps

If the dictation still doesn’t work on your iPhone, you should try alternative keyboard apps that support voice-to-text. You can use Gboard or SwiftKey keyboard. Also, check out other free keyboards for iPhone.

FAQs About Dictation Not Working on iPhone

1. How do I unmute the microphone on my iPhone?

There isn’t any global toggle to enable or disable the microphone on your iPhone. Therefore, you must mute or unmute the microphone in a specific app. However, if the microphone isn’t working in any particular app, make sure it has microphone permission. Go to Settings > Privacy & security > Microphone. Enable microphone for desired apps.

2. How do I adjust the volume for dictation?

The dictation feature only converts speech to text. It doesn’t play back the speech that you have spoken. So, there is no need to adjust the volume. But if the dictation feature can’t understand your speech, you must speak a bit loudly and near the microphone of your iPhone.

3. How to fix iPhone dictation not working in the car?

First, try the fixes mentioned above. If those don’t help, go to Settings > General > CarPlay on your iPhone. Tap on your car name and press ‘Forget This Car’. Then, set up the car again.

Play With Siri

I hope you were able to fix the dictation not working issue on your iPhone. In case Siri also doesn’t work, learn how to fix Siri not working on iPhone. Besides, you can also learn how to use Siri to hang up calls or change Siri’s search engine.

Last updated on 20 October, 2022

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