Voice recognition on iPhone or iPad

Oct 24, 2016

The voice recognition on iPhone or iPad is really very good. If you have not yet had a good look at this feature, then now is the time. Have some fun.

I upgraded earlier this year from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 6S Plus, and probably the biggest unexpected benefit has been how good the voice recognition is. Txt me and my reply to you will most likely have been dictated. It’s quicker, easier, and feels better than having to type. I just say what I want to say and it appears as text. I push Send.

What to use voice recognition for…

I also use it for “writing up” meeting notes, drafting emails, making notes about all sorts of things and capturing ideas. It’s much easier to dictate a shopping list into an email to myself than it is to type it, or hunt for paper. I’ve used it with Microsoft Word, Outlook, Evernote and the native iPhone email and Txt applications.

It’s also good when I’m out and about – because I can dump ideas or notes to it straight after a meeting, or in the car (as its hands free) or while waiting somewhere in otherwise wasted time. It doesn’t send me a sound file I need to listen to and probably won’t, it sends me actual text.

What NOT to use voice recognition for…

The voice recognition on iPhone or iPad is not perfect of course. You may not feel like dictating a Txt message or email if you are in a public place because people may hear you.

It also gets words wrong – especially colloquial, technical, kiwi words and names (unless they are names in your address book). So you couldn’t often dictate and just send an important email to a client for instance. Especially if you mentioned Paekakariki. Unless it was very short you’d probably need to dictate, save as a draft and tidy it up for sending later. But it still may be quicker to get the bulk of your message down by voice recognition.

How to use voice recognition on an iPhone or iPad…

When you are in an app that is waiting for a keyboard input from you, you will see (if you have the feature) a microphone symbol in the keyboard next to the Space bar

Dictation Keyboard Icon

Just push that button and talk. Whatever you say will be turned into text in the app you are in. Speak normally, but also speak clearly.

I’d suggest you think about the next paragraph and what you want to communicate, then push the microphone button, say it, and then push the microphone button a second time to pause recording. Then think of the next paragraph, etc.

Using punctuation make s big difference. Punctuation is accessed using Voice Commands. For example while dictating say “comma” and a comma will appear. Say “full-stop” then “New Paragraph” and you will finish one paragraph with a full-stop and start another leaving a line between them. Here’s a link to a list of commands – (Thanks Matt.)


Voice recognition on mobile devices could be really useful for you. Compared to my past experiences, the voice recognition on iPhone or iPad devices is really quite surprisingly good – to the point that it is now a productive tool for me. I know others have had a similar experience, and I know of people for whom it still seems to problematic. But if you’re prepared to give it a try and speak clearly, thinking about what you say before you say it, and putting up with it not getting some words correct, then it’s definitely worth a try.

PS – I have my Siri set to ‘English’. I have lived in England, so I have a slight accent in that way, but I think for many kiwis we are closer to Siri ‘English’ than we are to Siri ‘Australian’. Have a play.



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