The column that focuses on providing help, top advice and news about your Apple devices, namely Macs, iPhones and iPads. Please send any questions to Steve via the contact details at the end of this article.
A: Yes it’s definitely true, and it’s been available on your iPhone, iPad and even your Mac for quite some time. You can activate it in the following way:
On an iPad or iPhone, go to Settings > General > Keyboard and make sure Enable Dictation is turned on. When you next see your device’s keyboard, a microphone key will appear to the left of the spacebar. Tap on it and start talking.
On a Mac, go to the Menu Bar at the top of the screen, then click on Apple > System Preferences. Select “Dictation & Speech” and make sure Dictation is on. To activate it, press the Fn key twice (located lower left of your keyboard). The Mac being the Mac, you can customise how to activate dictation from the Shortcut pull down menu.
Whichever device you have, when you use this feature, your voice is securely sent via the internet to Apple’s servers where it’s transcribed and sent back to you (later versions of Mac OS allow you to download the feature instead, so you can dictate whether you’re online or not).
I find that speaking to your device slowly and clearly, as if you were dictating something to a young child, works best. The dictation tool also understands commands like “new paragraph”, “quote”, “end quote”, “full stop”, etc.
Despite the occasional glitches (which are fixable with just a tap or a click), you might well find this feature more convenient or quicker than using the keyboard.
Steve Paris is an internationally published writer, an Apple Certified Trainer, and provides consultancy, training and troubleshooting services to the Swansea area. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him on 077-8866-0407.