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How to use Voice Dictation to transcribe text on iPad

1st March 2020

Jacob Woolcock


Discover the convenience of iPadOS’s Voice Dictation in this tutorial, where I guide you through the simple steps to activate and use this powerful feature. Learn how to effortlessly transcribe your spoken words into text, a handy tool especially useful for those who find typing challenging. Note that while this function is highly reliable, it requires an online connection on older iPads, though iPad Pros offer offline capabilities.

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Did you know that iPadOS has a really powerful Voice Dictation tool built right in? To enable Voice Dictation, you need to go into the Settings app, then go to ‘General’ and ‘Keyboard’. At the bottom of the Keyboard page, there’s a little toggle to enable Dictation. If you’ve not used Dictation before, you will need to go through a couple of steps to enable it, and you have the choice of sharing your recordings with Apple if you wish to. I’ve chosen not to do that on my iPad.

Then, go back into the app you were using, for example, Pages, and bring up the keyboard again. From here, all you need to do is press on the Microphone button that’s now appeared next to the Spacebar, and then you can begin talking into your iPad! Siri Dictation will then take your words and transcribe them as text on your screen for you. This doesn’t have a 100% accuracy rate, but I found it to be pretty reliable when I’ve used it myself. And you can always go back afterwards and correct changes using the keyboard.

Please note that this does need to be online to work, particularly on older iPads; however, iPad Pros can do this offline. When you’re done, simply press the keyboard button at the bottom of your screen, and that will turn off Voice Dictation. Then, you can use the normal keyboard to make changes as you need to. It’s a really powerful tool to let children express themselves through their voice if they find typing on the keyboard difficult.

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