Turn Dictation OFF or ON for iPad or iPhone

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. It works quite well, you just press the microphone button on the iOS keyboard and it listens to what you say, and then converts your speech into text on the iPhone or iPad.

For a variety of reasons you may want to either turn Dictation 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. This tutorial details how to disable or enable Dictation in iOS for iPhone and iPad, so you can toggle this featureoff and on as needed.

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. Here is how you turn on or off Dictation and hide the microphone button on the keyboard in iOS:

  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

Note that if you disable Dictation, the microphone button on the keyboard will also be disabled.

Disable microphone on Keyboard iPhone

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 an earlier release of iOS software, but keep in mind regardless of iOS system software versions you can still disable or enable Dictation:

iPad Dictation

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


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