iPhone Dictation: How to use Hands-Free Texting for Notes, Mail, & More

The iPhone talk-to-text feature is incredibly handy. Learn iPhone dictation commands to get the most out of your voice typing.

These days, hands-free iPhone operations are easier than ever. Siri commands can take care of almost all your iPhone dictation needs. But if you want to mostly dictate text instead of using a keyboard, you can also enable Dictation on your iOS device. We'll show you how to send texts and emails via Siri, how to enable Dictation, and more.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Related: How to Search Message Conversations on iPhone: iMessage, Facebook & Whatsapp

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How to Send a Text Through Siri

Talk to text on your iPhone is incredibly helpful when sending an iMessage. To send a text through Siri: 

  1. Say, "Hey, Siri, send a text to" and then say your contact's full name as written in your Contacts list.


     
  2. Start dictating right away, or wait for Siri to respond with, "What do you want to say?"
  3. Stop when finished.


     
  4. Siri will then read the text back to you and ask if you're ready to send it.


     
  5. If you're happy with the text, say, "Yes." and Siri will send the text to your contact.


     
  6. If the text is incorrect you can say "edit" to begin the text over again.

You can also try using Siri to add events to the Calendar app, create reminders in the Reminders app, and even dictate a brief email. 

How to Enable Dictation on Your iPhone

If you want to use your voice to do more than send a quick text or add an item to a list, you'll want to enable Dictation. This will allow you to more easily use voice typing to compose longer messages, create create entire lists in Notes or Reminders, edit events in the Calendar app, and more. You can use Dictation in most apps that have a keyboard. For more great iPhone talk-to-text tricks, check out our free Tip of the Day!

Here's how to enable Dictation, also known as voice to text, on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings.


     
  2. Tap General.


     
  3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard.


     
  4. Tap the Enable Dictation toggle to toggle it on.


     
  5. Whenever you open an app that allows for dictation, there will be a microphone icon. Tap the microphone to dictate your message, like this text for example.


     
  6. When you want to go back to typing, tap the keyboard icon.

Common Voice-to-Text Commands for Dictation

Now you're ready to dictate your response by using the voice-to-text commands for dictation. Frustratingly, there is no voice command to delete mistakes. If you want to delete something you'll either have to start a whole new note or text or tap the screen to select the text you want to replace and then tap the microphone to dictate the corrections.

Here's a short list of voice commands we've found useful with both Siri and Dictation:

  • quote … end quote: to put quotations around a phrase say, "Quote," then say the phrase, and then say, "End Quote" to close the quotation.
  • new paragraph: begins a new paragraph.
  • new line: begins a new line of text.
  • smiley: inserts :-)
  • frowny: inserts :-(
  • winky: inserts ;-)

These commands will help you go hands-free with your texts, notes, and more. Give these tips a shot and with practice, you'll have Siri or Dictation doing the work for you in no time!

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.