Not for nothing is dictation one of the most used functions on iPhones or iPads. It is a utility that allows you to multitask by taking over the input method to give you a hands-free experience. To further refine the edges, Apple has made improvements to the dictation feature, which you’ll enjoy in iOS 16.
Here’s everything you need to know about dictating on iOS 16.
Dictation on iOS 16: what’s new?
With a new emphasis on the smooth transition between touch and voice input, iOS 16 allows dictation and touch input functions to coexist, so you can switch between the two when needed without disabling the other.
To put it in perspective, when you use touch input, dictation doesn’t stop automatically, instead you can freely use touch to move the cursor to perform editing actions like adding a QuickText suggestion into the text or performing actions with the help to perform dictation such as replacing a selected text by voice input.
Another notable aspect of the improved dictation is smart typing. It automatically adds punctuation marks (commas, periods, and punctuation marks) when you dictate text, with almost uncanny precision in tone and pause detection. Dictation even supports emoji input with the iOS 16 update. It’s a cheap feature that lets you add text without interrupting the flow of speech.
Related: 5 Ways to Copy Subject on iPhone on iOS 16
How to switch between keyboard and dictation input
With the iOS 16 update, the keyboard always stays on screen when any text field is selected. This allows you to use touch and voice input methods simultaneously without having to compromise.
To start dictating, tap in any text field to bring up the keyboard and tap the dictation icon at the bottom of the keyboard.
If you want to use touch input, move the cursor freely in the text field and use the keyboard to make the necessary changes or additions.
Using keyboard input does not automatically turn off dictation like in the past. When you want to start typing again, just start dictating without having to do anything else.
If you want to stop dictating, there are two ways – one way is to tap the dictation icon in the overflow menu above the cursor.
The second method is to tap the dictation icon on the bottom right of the keyboard.
You can always turn it back on by tapping the dictation icon in the bottom-right corner of the keyboard. After you enable dictation, the feature remains active in a text field unless you:
- Manually close Dictation
- Leave a page or tap outside of the text box
- there is a long pause or period of silence.
Dictation tips and tricks for iPhone running iOS 16
Here are a few ways to get the most out of dictation
1. Take notes
Taking notes in Notes app (or similar apps) is now easier than ever since dictation can work simultaneously with keyboard input method. For example, you can use touch to select or copy text, or insert a QuickType suggestion without interrupting dictation. This eliminates the need to restart dictation every time you want to voice input (after using the touch input method).
2. Draft Messages
Text fields of messaging apps and input fields, notes or email apps enjoy the same privilege of harmonious integration of dictation and touch input functions. In addition, Apple has given the Messages app a special privilege by adding a dictation icon right in the app’s text field, making it even more convenient for you to use the updated features.
3. Replace selected words with voice input
If you want to change a word that you typed incorrectly in the text field while dictating, use the cursor (touch input) to select the word or text segment directly speak the new text to replace it; this saves manual corrections by typing.
It’s worth reiterating that you don’t need to restart Dictation every time you switch from touch to voice input and vice versa.
4. Enter punctuation, symbols, and characters
In iOS 16, improvements in Dictation help distinguish basic input requests without using command words like “
Tip: To get the most out of this feature, you may need to spend some time figuring out which keywords return which output.
5. Enter emojis
To make matters worse, you can now type emojis in the text field using Dication. Just speak the title of the emoji without prompts and Dictation will recognize and intelligently type in the text field. (eg: writing hand emoji; gorgeous emoji).
The catch is that you have to be very specific about the title of the emoji for it to work. But if you’re familiar with the names of all the emojis you use on a daily basis, this shouldn’t be a problem.
6. Use with Siri
The easiest way to get the best hands-free dictation experience is to use it in combination with Siri. Simply “Hey Siri” to wake up your assistant and prompt it to launch a Siri-supported app. For example, you can ask Siri to “start a note” and continue typing in the text field after you turn on dictation.
Now it’s time to mention that while Dictation doesn’t have any support restrictions, the fluid switching between voice and touch input in address bars and search bars can’t be achieved. As you can see in the screenshot below, the keyboard stays on screen but goes into a blank (disabled) state when using the dictation feature in the Safari browser’s address bar.
This might be a hasty conclusion as our experience is based on testing the feature in iOS 16 beta. We’ll have to wait for the official iOS 16 release to explore the true potential of smooth transitions from voice touch inputs.
That’s it! Let us know your feedback in the comments!