Workflow Tips – Apple’s Speech to Text function

For maiconny people, typing into a document is a daily occurrence and if your fingers don’t always hit the keys so easily, this Apple function might make life much easier and speed up your workflow significantly. As a teacher, I found this function especially helpful when providing student feedback, writing emails, session plans and reports.

The technology is an extension of Siri and is dedicated solely to text input. Speech to Text allows the user to talk into their device which is then processed into text within most applications on a Mac computer, iPhone and iPad. I’ve so far successfully tested it on a range of platforms such Photoshop, Apple Notes, Gmail amongst many others.

How it works

Once the device has been set up for speech to text, the user simply needs to do the following:

  1. Hit the microphone icon on their keyboard or (for Apple Macs), tap twice on their chosen shortcut key.
  2. Speak clearly into the device
  3. Hit the microphone icon once (or shortcut key) to end the recording.
  4. Check the text output for any mistakes and make changes where necessary.

Good but not perfect

It can take a while to train yourself to talk in a way that Siri understands which comes with practice.

With mobile devices, you need access to wi-fi for the function to work. This is different on a Macbook or Apple Mac desktop computer where you have the option to download additional software that allows the user to use speech to text offline.

Older devices might not have this functionality installed (pre-Siri) so please check ahead of setting it up.

Try to make sure you are in a relatively quiet place when using this function, background noise can confuse the speech input.

Give it a go!

Try it out for yourself on your own devices, see the set-up instructions below:

iPhone – Home > Settings > General > Siri > Turn Siri on > Choose applicable language

Macbook – Home > System Preferences > Dictation and Speech > Switch Dictation ‘on’ > Choose a shortcut key

iPad – Home > Settings > General > Keyboard > Turn Dictation ON.

The following link has a list of verbal punctuation and commands which are recognised by Siri when composing text.


– Steve Fox