How to fix IPhone Dictation Not Working after iOS 17 update

By Dave Johnson - Senior Staff Writer
5 Min Read

If you are experiencing problems with Dictation after updating your iPhone to iOS 17, this article will help you fix the problem.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • To fix iPhone Dictation not working after iOS 17 update issue, ensure that Dictation is enabled in your Keyboard settings.
  • Make sure Screen Time restrictions for Siri & Dictation is turned off.
  • Remove or stop using third-party keyboards.
  • Make sure your iPhone microphone is clean.

I use Dictation a lot, as do many others. Also known as voice-to-text or speech-to-text, Dictation is a convenient feature that lets you say words and sentences instead of typing them anywhere you can write text. For example, I know that a lot of people use Dictation when they are composing notes, text or email messages.

The onscreen keyboard is open in the Mail app. The Dictation button in the bottom-right corner of the screen is selected and the Dictation button appears below the insertion point in the text field.  

But Dictation isn’t perfect.

Sometimes it translates you poorly or introduces misspellings. Other times the Dictation option vanishes from your iPhone or iPad altogether. Whatever the problem, we’re here to help — and we’ve got all the tips you need to fix it.

Why is my iPhone Dictation not working after iOS 17 update?

There could be any number of reasons your iPhone Dictation is not working after iOS 17 update. There could be a bug in the update or it could be because it reset some of your settings.

Other times, Dictation stops working because of problems with your:

  • Microphones
  • Screen Time Restrictions
  • Keyboard choice

IPhone Dictation problem can appear in many ways, but the most common is "Hey Siri" won’t respond when you want to dictate a message, or you can open dictation, but once you speak, it just never actually creates the words you spoke.

If you’re experiencing these issues, you can use the troubleshooting steps below to isolate and fix the problem.

How to fix Dictation not working on iPhone in iOS 17

Use the following nine troubleshooting steps to fix your iOS 17 Dictation problems. Be sure to test Dictation on your iPhone again after each step, and let us know the fix that worked for you in the comments at the end.

1. Make sure dictation is enabled on your iPhone

The first thing to do when Dictation isn’t working after iOS 17 update is to ensure it’s enabled in your iPhone settings. If you aren’t sure if you even have voice-to-text turned on on your iPhone, you’ll want to check it’s enabled. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Keyboard,.
  4. Turn on Enable Dictation.

2. Toggle Dictation off and on

If Dictation was already enabled, turn it off and restart your iPhone. Then turn it on again. Here’s how

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Keyboard.
  4. Turn off Enable Dictation.
  5. Restart your iPhone.
  6. Now, go to Settings.
  7. Tap General.
  8. Select Keyboard.
  9. Turn Enable Dictation on again.

3. Ensure that your iPhone has the latest version of iOS 17

The latest version of iOS 17 might include important updates to your microphone or dictation settings that need to be downloaded for them to work properly.

To make sure your iPhone is running the latest iOS 17 version, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. If there is an available update, tap Download and Install. Once downloaded, check if your dictation works.

4. Restart your iPhone

Smartphones sometimes glitch out, including iPhones. If you’ve tried all of the troubleshooting steps above, there’s a chance that rebooting (restarting) your iPhone will resolve your iOS 17 Dictation problem.

If you have a model without a home button, like the iPhone 15 Pro you can reboot using these steps:

  • Hold down the side button and one of the volume buttons.
  • When the power-off slider appears, drag it to the right.
  • Once your iPhone is completely powered down, press and hold the side button again until an Apple logo appears.

The process is virtually identical on products with a home button, such as the iPhone SE (2nd generation). The only difference is that you have to hold a single button — the side button — to make the power-off slider appear.

5. Disconnect your Bluetooth headphones or speakers

When you use Dictation with headphones connected, your iPhone tries to hear you through the microphone on your headphones. This might be the cause of your problems.

To rule out this issue, make sure any mic-equipped Bluetooth devices are powered off or disconnected if you’re not using them.

To forcibly disconnect Bluetooth devices from your iPhone:

  • Open the Settings app and select Bluetooth.
  • Tap the "i" (info) button next to a device you want to disconnect.
  • Choose Disconnect for a temporary release, or Forget This Device if you want to prevent it from reconnecting. You’ll have to re-pair if you choose to forget.

6. Turn off Screen Time restrictions for Siri & Dictation

iOS restrictions allow parents to restrict adult content on their children’s devices. It’s possible that Dictation is also disabled through these restrictions.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Screen Time.
  3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.
  4. Enter your Screen Time passcode if you have one.
  5. Tap Allowed Apps and make sure Siri & Dictation is turned on.

7. Remove or stop using third-party keyboards

Third-party keyboards, like Google’s Gboard, might not offer Dictation like the Apple keyboard does. Switch back to the standard keyboard whenever you want to use Dictation. Or remove your third-party keyboards altogether.

To switch keyboards on your iPhone, follow the steps below

  1. Tap on a text field to raise the keyboard, you can do this in Notes, Messages, or Mail.
  2. Touch and hold the Globe icon to see your other available keyboards.
  3. Select the Apple standard keyboard, which is named after your chosen language.

To turn off third-party keyboards on your iPhone, follow the steps below:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Keyboard.
  4. Tap the Keyboards button.
  5. In the top right, tap Edit and use the red circle to remove any third-party keyboards.
  6. If Edit is grayed out, tap Add New Keyboard…and add a standard Apple keyboard in your first language, then try removing your third-party keyboards again.

8. Change the phone and Dictation language

When Dictation stopped working on my iPhone after iOS 17 update, i was able to fix the problem by changing the language. This might fix your problem as well. In this step, we will change the language to a very similar language. For example, we will change the language from English US to English UK or Spanish (Latin America) to Spanish (Mexico).

Follow these steps. Please note that in this example, we will be changing the language from English (United States) to English (United Kingdom). You can change the language based on your own circumstances:

  • Go to Settings > General > Language & Region, then tap Add language and add English (UK). Tap on Use English (UK). Your iPhone may need to restart. Now test to see if the problem has resolved itself. If not, you can try the next step.
  • Go to Settings > General>Keyboards > Dictation languages. Now again, select English (United Kingdom).

Now test Dictation. Is it working? If this fixes your problem, but you may not like the idea of changing the language, you can continue to use these settings until a new iOS update is released. You may want to revert these settings back as soon as Apple releases an update for this issue. Simply update your device, then test Dictation.

9. Check if your microphone is working

Test to see if your microphone is working. If your microphone isn’t working, your iPhone may not be able to hear what you say, and that may affect Dictation. You can easily test this:

  • Start the Voice Memos app on your iPhone.
  • Hit the Red record button to record a new memo. Speak for about a minute. Speak into the microphone at the bottom of your iPhone.
  • After stopping the recording, listen to your recording. Are you hearing everything correctly? If not, you can try to clean your iPhone’s microphones with a microfiber cloth, a toothbrush, or painter’s tape (which doesn’t leave residue). If cleaning does not work, this could be a hardware problem. You may want to contact Apple support or get a Genius Bar appointment.
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By Dave Johnson Senior Staff Writer
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Dave Johnson is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in New Jersey. He covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
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