How to Use Dictation on an iPad mini

The iPad mini can handle dictation, so you can speak to your iPad mini and have the words you say translated into text. It’s easy and usually works pretty well. Even if you’re a pretty good virtual-keyboard typist or use a Bluetooth keyboard, dictation is often the fastest way to get your words into your iPad.

Dictation is part of Siri. You must have Siri turned on in order to use dictation.

When it’s enabled, you see the microphone key on the virtual keyboard when it appears onscreen. Just tap the microphone key on the keyboard and begin speaking. As you do, you see waveforms.

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Tap Done to end the dictation. Your iPad mini cogitates for a moment, displaying a spinning circle where your words will be in a few more seconds. Then your words magically appear.

Dictation only works if you’re connected to the Internet. If you’re not connected, the microphone key will be grayed out.

Most apps display the microphone key on the keyboard, but some don’t. If you don’t see a microphone key, the app doesn’t accept dictated input, or you’ve disabled Siri or Dictation in Settings.

Here are a couple of ways you can improve your Dictation experience:

  • You can speak punctuation by saying it. So remember to say, “period,” “question mark,” or whatever at the end of your sentences. You can also insert commas, semicolons, dashes, and other punctuation by saying their names.

  • The better your iPad mini hears you, the better your results will be:

    • A wired headset with a microphone is great when you have a lot of ambient noise nearby.

    • A Bluetooth headset may be better than the built-in microphone.

    • If you use the iPad mini’s built-in mic, make sure the case or your fingers aren’t covering it.