How to dictate text on your iPhone

Dictation has been improved in iOS 16. Here’s how you can use it to dictate text on your iPhone.

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Users have long been able to dictate text on their iPhones to create an email, text message, note, document, or other content. But iOS 16 improves dictation. Users can now more easily switch between dictation mode and typing mode, as well as dictate emojis. Also, the feature tries to automatically add periods, commas, question marks, and other punctuation marks based on the context of words and sentences.

Here’s a quick guide to dictating specific types of punctuation and formatting:

  • Quote: Add an opening quote
  • Closing quote: Add a closing quote
  • New line: Start a new line
  • New Paragraph: Start a new paragraph
  • Capital letters: Capitalize the next word
  • Capital letters: Capitalize the first character of each word
  • Caps off: Stop capitalizing the first character of every word
  • All caps. Capitalize all letters of the next word.
  • Smiley: insert ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Frowny: insert ๐Ÿ™
  • Winky: insert ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Happy Emoji: Insert a smiling emoji
  • Sad Emoji: Insert a sad emoji
  • Angry Emoji: Insert an angry emoji

SEE: iOS 16 Cheat Sheet: Complete Guide for 2022 (TechRepublic)

How to use the new dictation features with iOS 16

To dive in, update your iPhone to iOS 16 or later if you haven’t already. Go to Settings, select General and then tap on the Software update option. You will be informed that iOS is up to date or prompted to download and install the latest update.

Next, make sure that dictation is turned on. Go to Settings and then General. Select keyboards. In the section for your language, turn on the switch for dictation if it’s not already on. Also, turn on the Automatic punctuation switch to have the feature insert the correct punctuation itself (Figure A).

Figure A

Enabling dictation and automatic punctuation through iPhone settings
Figure A: Turn on “Enable dictation and auto-punctuation” to use iPhone’s dictation feature.

Now open an app in which you want to dictate text, e.g. B. Mail, Messages, Notes or Reminders. When you’re ready to start dictating, place the text cursor where you want to start. Tap the microphone icon in the bottom right below the keyboard.

When dictating, try to use specific punctuation marks and special formatting, including phrases for inserting emojis. But also allow Dictation to automatically insert periods, question marks, and other symbols based on your voice pitch and the context of your words and sentences (Figure B).

Figure B

Use dictation to write a message
Figure B: Test dictation in Mail, Messages, Notes, or Reminders.

Note that the keyboard stays on screen while dictating. This means you can type a character or word at any time without leaving dictation mode. You can also use your finger to select a word that may need changing, and then change it by either typing the correct letters or saying the correct word (Figure C).

Figure C

Using the keyboard to adjust part of the dictated text
Figure C: Use the keyboard to make changes to the dictated text.

Dictation mode turns off automatically if you stop speaking for 30 seconds. But you can just turn it off manually. Tap the microphone icon, either at the bottom right of the keyboard or now right next to the text cursor (Figure D).

Figure D

a message that was dictated in the Messages app
Figure D: Turn off dictation by tapping the microphone icon.

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