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How to Enable Offline Dictation on Your iPhone

We’re pretty much used to the “Siri not available” message, which reminds us that dictation features and the virtual assistant are only available when connected to the internet. But voice-to-text is so handy!

Apple is aware of this limitation and decided to allow owners of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to use the handy dictation feature offline. It is not enabled by default, however. Here’s how to use offline dictation on iPhone 6s and later.

How to enable offline dictation on iPhone 6s

A tiny foray into your “Settings” app will be necessary to enable voice dictation without the use of an internet connection. Android users have been able to use this kind of functionality for a while now, it is unclear as to why Apple has only now caught up with the competition. Especially when you are moving afoot, voice entry just beats having to type with one or two hands while keeping your eyes on the screen.

There’s also the prerequisite of owning the iPhone 6s or its bigger brother, the iPhone 6s Plus. Older models do not support offline dictation, unfortunately. And, for starters, only English language keyboards work with the offline dictation feature.

Settings > General > Keyboard

Go into your Settings, tap the “General” section header and finally enter the “Keyboard” submenu. Scroll down a bit until you see the “Dictation” section. If you own a supported device that is set to the right language, you should be able to download the offline dictation files from here.

This will take a couple of minutes and take up some space on your device, which is why we recommend enabling it only if needed – or if the available device storage space allows for it.

Similarities to Mac OS X

Offline dictation has to be enabled in very similar ways on the Mac. The option is called “Use Enhanced Dictation” and can be reached through the “Dictation & Speech” panel in your “System Preferences”. English dictation files require around 422 MB on Mac OS X El Capitan. Dictation is enabled by double-pressing the Fn key (or function key) at the bottom left of your keyboard.

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