How do I turn voice text back on?

Why Would You Want to Re-Enable Voice Texting?

Voice texting refers to the ability to dictate speech which is then converted to text on your mobile device. It’s a convenient way to send text messages and emails hands-free. You may have disabled voice texting at some point if it was acting glitchy, draining your battery, or you simply didn’t need the feature anymore.

However, there are good reasons to re-enable voice texting if you’ve turned it off previously. Voice texting allows you to communicate while driving, walking, or doing other activities safely without needing to look at your phone. It’s helpful for accessibility if you have limited mobility. Some people can also text faster by dictating rather than typing. If any of those use cases apply to you, it’s worth turning voice texting back on to enjoy the benefits again.

Check Your Phone’s Settings

One of the first troubleshooting steps when voice input has been turned off is to check your phone’s settings. Most Android and iOS devices have the voice input controls under the keyboard or language settings:

To find these settings on Android:

  • Open your phone’s Settings app (usually the gear icon)
  • Go to Keyboard or Language & Input
  • Look for options related to voice input, voice typing, or Google Voice Typing. On Android, try enabling Gboard and ensuring the Voice Typing option is switched on (Verizon, 2022).

To find these settings on iOS:

  • Open Settings and go to General > Keyboard
  • Toggle on Dictation to reactivate voice input on your iPhone

If you still don’t see an option to use your voice to input text, move on to the next troubleshooting area in Enabling Voice Dictation Services.

Enable Google Voice Typing

Google Voice Typing enables you to dictate speech to text using Google’s language models. To enable the feature on your Android phone or tablet:

  1. Open the Gboard app on your device. Gboard is the default keyboard for most Android devices, but if you use a 3rd party keyboard you will need to install Gboard from the app store.
  2. In the Gboard app, tap Settings.
  3. Under Voice typing, toggle the switch on to Enable voice typing to turn it on.

Once enabled, you can tap the microphone icon (or say “Ok Google”) from within many apps to speak your text rather than typing it. For information on how to use the feature, see Google Support.

Enable Dictation in iOS

To enable dictation on an iPhone running iOS, the process is straightforward:

  1. Go to the Settings app
  2. Tap on General
  3. Tap on Keyboard
  4. Toggle on “Enable Dictation”

If a prompt appears asking you to enable dictation, make sure to tap “Enable Dictation” to proceed. Once dictation is enabled on your iPhone, you will be able to use your voice to dictate text into any text field (

Train Voice Model Accuracy

Using voice input regularly allows your phone to learn your voice patterns and speech mannerisms over time. As you continue to dictate texts, search queries, and other voice commands, your phone builds a more accurate voice model tailored specifically to your unique voice (source). This helps improve speech recognition and transcription accuracy when using services like Google Voice typing or Siri dictation.

However, even personalized voice models can degrade over time as your voice changes. If you notice your phone struggling with words and phrases it used to understand clearly, it may be time to retrain the voice model. On Android devices, open the Voice Typing settings and select “Improve voice model.” Then read aloud the on-screen phrases so your device can update its recognition database. iOS allows retraining voice models for Siri dictation in a similar manner through Settings > Siri & Search.

Retraining the voice model regularly, especially if you get a new phone or notice declines in accuracy, helps ensure optimal performance and comprehension when using speech-to-text services.

Check App Permissions

If voice typing and dictation are not working properly on your phone, you may need to check your keyboard app’s permissions and make sure it has access to the microphone. The most common keyboard apps like Gboard, iOS keyboard, and Samsung keyboard need microphone access to enable voice typing features.

To enable microphone access permissions for a keyboard app like Gboard:

  • Open your phone’s Settings
  • Go to Apps or Application manager
  • Select your keyboard app (e.g., Gboard)
  • Tap “Permissions”
  • Enable “Microphone”

Some keyboards may not show the microphone permission setting in their app info. Instead, you will need to go to your phone’s main Permissions or App permissions manager and enable microphone access for the keyboard app from there.

Enabling the microphone permission should allow features like voice typing and dictation to start working again for your keyboard app. If you continue having issues, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the keyboard app to get voice input working again.

Update Your Phone Software

Updating your phone software to the most recent operating system update available for your device can often improve voice recognition and text dictation performance. Software updates frequently include enhancements to speech recognition engines, voice models, and other components critical for accurate voice-to-text capabilities.

For example, Google notes that Android and iOS software updates have continuously improved voice typing over time by training speech models on more data and refining algorithms. Installing the latest OS updates helps your phone take advantage of these advancements.

To update your phone’s software on Android, go to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update. On iOS, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Keep your device charged and connected to WiFi during the update process. Once completed, test voice typing again to see if accuracy has improved.

Use Bluetooth Headset

Using a Bluetooth headset with a high quality microphone can greatly improve the accuracy of voice text transcription. As the article Text To Speech Bluetooth Headset explains, Bluetooth headsets are wireless, allowing you to freely move and speak while the microphone transmits your voice clearly to your phone for transcription.

When selecting a headset, look for one marketed specifically for dictation that promises clear voice pickup. Then, position the microphone as close to your mouth as comfortable, generally 1-2 inches away. Speaking directly into the microphone allows it to best pick up the nuances of your voice.

With a quality headset optimally positioned, the accuracy of voice-to-text should dramatically improve over using an internal phone microphone at a distance. Give your phone’s software the best possible input signal for reliable text transcription hands-free.

Improve Surrounding Environment

The accuracy of speech recognition depends heavily on the surrounding environment. Here are some tips to improve voice text accuracy by optimizing your environment:

  • Reduce background noise. Speech recognition performs best in quiet environments. Turn off TVs, radios, fans, etc. when using voice text. According to research, speech accuracy decreases substantially as background noise increases (Li, 2023).
  • Avoid echoey rooms. Environments with a lot of reverberation make it difficult for voice assistants to recognize speech accurately. According to CxToday, bathrooms and hallways are especially problematic due to echoes.
  • Get in close range of your phone. The closer you are to your phone’s microphone, the more clearly it will pick up your voice. For best accuracy, hold your phone 6-12 inches away when speaking.

By reducing background noise, avoiding echoey environments, and getting close to the microphone, you’ll enable your phone to achieve maximum speech recognition accuracy.

Alternative Voice Input Methods

If your phone’s built-in voice typing is not working, there are several alternative options to try:

  • Try a different keyboard app – Many third party keyboard apps like Gboard or SwiftKey have voice typing functionality built-in.
  • Use your phone’s built-in assistant – Most phones now come with AI assistants like Siri or Google Assistant which have voice capabilities.
  • Consider third party dictation apps – Apps like provide advanced dictation features that can serve as an alternative to your phone’s default voice typing.

Testing some of these alternative voice input methods can help troubleshoot and determine if the issues lie with your phone’s settings or keyboard, or if there is a system-wide problem recognizing and translating speech.

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