Talk to text (dictation) not working on Apple Watch?

Talk to text, also known as dictation, is a handy feature available on all iOS devices.

If you don’t have the time to type out a message, you can just speak what you want to say directly to your device. And your device types it out for you.

When Apple introduced the latest iOS update, talk to text (dictation) got some design changes on the Apple Watch. This update left many Apple Watch users confused and unable to find the feature.

So what did Apple change? Keep reading to learn more.

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How to access talk to text on Apple Watch

Before the latest iOS update, Apple Watch users could hit the talk to text button on their watch when in their Messages app. The button looks like a microphone.

Now, the microphone button is gone. So, if users want to reply to a message using the dictation feature, they now have to take extra steps to access it.

  1. To access talk to text, open the Messages app on your Apple Watch.
    1. You can also use talk to text in the Mail app.
  2. Select the message you want to reply to or create a new message. Create or reply to a message on Apple Watch Messages app
  3. When the message opens, tap on the message box next to the App icon. Apple Watch messages app reply or create new text message
  4. When you do this, you get the full-screen option with the microphone button appearing in the bottom right corner. Use talk to text dictation on Apple Watch Messages app
  5. Speak your message and tap Send.

No microphone button? How to fix talk to text 

If you don’t see the dictation button (microphone icon), there may be an issue with your device’s settings. Follow these next tips to fix the problem.

Make sure you turned on dictation for all devices

If dictation isn’t turned on, that’s probably why you can’t get it to work! 

Turn on Dictation on your iPhone

  1. On your paired iPhone, open the Settings app. Scroll down to General, and select it.
  2. Then scroll down to Keyboard and tap it.
  3. Scroll down to Dictation and make sure Enable Dictation is turned on. This turns on the talk to text feature in your iPhone’s iMessage app.

Turn on Dictation on your Apple Watch

  1. To turn on Dictation for your Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Click on General.
  3. When the tab opens, scroll down until you see Enable Dictation. Make sure this setting is turned on.enable dictation apple watch

Turn on dictation directly on your Apple Watch

  1. To do so, open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to General and tap it.
  3. When that tab opens, scroll down until you see Dictation.
  4. Select Dictation, and when that tab opens, make sure Dictation is turned on.

If all these settings are correct, let’s check some of the other necessary settings.

Check that you have Hey Siri on

Siri, Apple’s famous voice assistant, is a bis component of their dictation features. So for talk to text to properly work, the ‘Hey Siri’ feature needs to be turned on.

The ‘Hey Siri’ feature activates the voice assistant with just your voice, and no need to press a button to access it. 

If ‘Hey Siri’ is off, then that could be why you can’t use the talk to text feature.

Turn on Hey Siri on your iPhone

  • To turn on ‘Hey Siri’ on your iPhone, go to the Settings app.
  • Scroll down to the Siri & Search tab and select it. iPhone hey siri settings
  • Make sure ‘Listen for Hey Siri‘ is on. The button should be green if it is on. 

Turn on Hey Siri on your Apple Watch

  1. To turn on ‘Hey Siri’ on your Apple Watch, go to the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Siri. Use Siri for Apple Watch workouts
  3. Make sure ‘Listen for Hey Siri‘ is on. The button should be green if it is on.

Check to see if you have any Screen Time restrictions for Siri or Dictation 

If you use Apple’s Screen Time settings (parental controls), you should check to see any restrictions for Siri or Dictation. 

  • To check this, open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down to Screen Time and tap it.
  • When that opens, go down to Content & Privacy Restrictions. screen time settings iPhone
  • Select Allowed Apps, and make sure Siri & Dictation are on.

allowed apps parental control

If all these settings are correct, you may want to turn Screen Time off completely to see if another Screen Time setting is causing the problem. 

Or try some of these additional troubleshooting tips below.

Clean your Apple Watch microphone openings

Try cleaning the microphone openings on your Apple Watch. They may be clogged with lint, grease, or other debris.

Find your model’s microphone location in this Apple Support diagram. It’s usually small and round and located on one of the sides of your watch. Apple Watch Series 7 microphone

Use a soft brush, like a soft toothbrush or interdental brush or microfiber cloth, and clean those microphone openings. Do not insert anything sharp into the microphone port–just gently clean it to remove any trapped grime.

Update your devices

Sometimes our devices malfunction when they are not up to date. So check and see if your devices installed the latest software update. 

Apple watch software update

  • To check on your Apple Watch, tap on the Settings app.
  • Then scroll down to General and tap it.
  • Select Software Update. If an update is available, go ahead and do that.

You can also update your Apple Watch from your iPhone. Open your Watch app and click on General, then select Software Update. If an update is available, go ahead and proceed.

To update your iPhone, go to the Settings App. Sometimes, a banner appears at the top that says Software Update Available. You can click on that, and it automatically takes you to update your phone.

If it does not appear, you can still check by scrolling down to General and tapping on Software Update. 

If there’s an available update, click on Download and Install, then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the update.

Restart your devices

Sometimes turning your devices off and on can do the trick.

Hold down the Siri and volume buttons and swipe on the slide to power off the slider to restart your iPhone. slide to power off your iPhone

To restart your Apple Watch hold down the side button and slide the power off button. how to restart the apple watch (not forced restart)

When restarting your Apple Watch or iPhone, you should turn your device off for a minute or two and then turn it back on. After restarting your devices, try updating again.

Turn Siri off and on

iPhone hey siri settings

Turning Siri off and back on can sometimes resolve the issue. 

  • To turn Siri off, go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down to Siri & Search, and select it.
  • Toggle all the switches, so they are off.

Keep them off for a minute or two. Then toggle the switches to turn them back on again.

Make sure your devices are set to the same language

If your devices are somehow set to different languages, this could be why the talk to text feature is not working.

  • To check this, open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down to General, and select it.
  • Then tap on Language & Region, then select the language you want. iPhone language region

After checking your iPhone, verify that your Apple Watch mirrors your iPhone’s language.

  • To check on your Apple Watch, go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Make sure the My Watch tab is open and select General.
  • Tap on Language & Region, and make sure Mirror my iPhone is selected. Apple Watch language and region sections

Remove any obstructions

While screen protectors and cases are very important to use, sometimes they may obstruct your device’s microphone. 

Take anything that blocks your device’s microphone off and see if dictation works. If so, it’s likely your screen protector or case is blocking your watch’s microphone. Use it without these or purchase a different set for your Apple Watch model.

Unpair and re-pair Apple Watch

unpair apple watch from iPhone, whether you have the iPhone or not!

If you’re still having issues, you should try unpairing your Apple Watch from your iPhone and then pair it again.

  • To unpair your Apple Watch, go to the Watch app and select All Watches.
  • Tap on the “i” information icon next to your watch.
  • Then you click on Unpair Apple Watch. 

After that, you’re going to want to pair it with your iPhone again.

Contact Apple Support 

If your device still is not working correctly, then it’s time to reach out to Apple to see if they can see what the issue is. 

You can contact Apple Support by phone, email, and even text. 

If you want to bring your device to the Apple Store, make an appointment with the Genius bar before you go. 

Final thoughts

Talk to text/dictation is one of my favorite features to use on the Apple Watch, so I can’t imagine not being able to access it!

We hope these tips helped! Let us know if you have any other additional suggestions or tips!


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