Mac Dictation Not Working: Resolve Speech To Text App Issues With Technical Fixes

Mac users have the privilege to explore Apple’s Dictation feature, which allows them to convert their spoken words into a text format and send it to others. However, many of them are recently reporting an error regarding dictation that doesn’t allow the users to use this app properly. When you experience any such issue with the dictation app, it may fail to recognize what the speaker is saying. This error can occur if the dictator is speaking too quietly or loudly. You can also get this problem on the Regular Dictation program if your internet connection has disconnected somehow. It may also stop working if there is too much additional noise in the background while speaking on this speech-to-text app. As this is a recent addition to Apple’s features on Mac-based devices, many of you may not be aware of this built-in software. So, if you are interested in knowing how to troubleshoot the problem of Mac Dictation not working, go through this article. Here, you will learn a few quick fixes that will resolve the dictation error on Mac-based devices.

How To Fix Mac Dictation Not Working Error

Before checking out the solutions to resolve this error, you must know why Mac Dictation not working on your Apple device. The issue with this app can be observed both in the Regular as well as the Enhanced version of the Dictation software. When you face this problem on Mac, you will discover that the option of dictation can turn gray all of a sudden. Many users have also reported that as soon as they have updated their Mac Operating System, this valuable feature is either showing some technical issues or not working at all. Sometimes, other built-in or installed audio and graphics drivers can also cause interference with the dictation app. Also, there can be critical hardware or software issues in your Mac device that can lead to not working on this voice-to-text feature. To troubleshoot this dictation error on Apple’s Mac OS, you can apply a few quick tricks.

Try These Steps Before Applying Technical Fixes

You can apply the following steps to resolve Mac OS X Dictation not working problem.

First, try to turn off the dictation feature on your Mac device and wait for some time (say 2-3 minutes). Then switch it back on and check if the speech to text app on your device is working or not.

In case it doesn’t work, disable dictation and restart your system. Once, your device reboots, enable this app and repeat the off and on processes for some time.

Another way to resolve this error is to click on ‘Finder’ and then select ‘Menu’. Then choose the tab of ‘Edit’ and click on ‘Select Start Dictation’. Also, hit the shortcut key for dictation or you can simply double-tap on the ‘Function Key (Fn)’.

You must also see whether any other program or Apple app is causing issues with the dictation feature or not. In case you have come across any application that is interfering with this app, close it immediately. After stopping the conflicting programs, you can try to run the ‘Dictation’ app on your Mac device.

Note: Sometimes, if the other app creates a problem with Dictation and makes it stop, check for its latest updates. Once you update the problematic software, the issue with the speech-to-text program can start working perfectly.

Some Tips To Troubleshoot Dictation Issue On Regular Version

As you already know that the issue of an unresponsive app can occur both on the Regular and Enhanced versions of Dication. So, if you want to try some techniques to make the dictation feature work again on the Regular version, check the following points.

Tip 1: Select Internal Microphone

You have to locate the System Preferences on your Mac device. So, first click on the Apple Menu and go to ‘System Preferences’ below the option of ‘About This Mac’. You can also find this option from the Apple Launchpad and then locate the feature of ‘Dictation & Speech’.

Next, click on the tab for ‘Dictation’ and make sure that its toggle switch is turned ‘On’ for your system. Also, go to the left pane of the window and find the icon for the microphone on your device. Just below the ‘Microphone’ tab, you will find the options of Automatic as well as Internal Microphone.

Make sure to click on the option of ‘Internal Microphone’ and return to the ‘Dictation’ feature on your Mac. Try to speak something on this app and see if it is converting the speech into meaningful texts or not.

Note: Open the Control Panel of ‘Sound’ and choose a higher level for the input volume of your ‘Internal Microphone’. Make sure to turn on the settings for ambient noise reduction.

Tip 2: Remove Preferences File In Apple Assistant

Sometimes, there can be corrupted files on apple.assistant.plist that can lead to not working of Mac Dictation program. So, if this is the case, you can go to the ‘Finder’ menu on your Mac OS and select ‘Go’.

Once you click on the ‘Go’ menu, you can navigate down and select the option of ‘Go to Folder’. Otherwise, you can hit the ‘Command’, ‘Shift’ and ‘G’ buttons altogether from your keyboard.

As the dialog box for ‘Go to Folder’ appears, write the following path in the box: ~/Library/Preferences/

After typing the above text, hit the ‘Go’ button and delete the file from your system.

Then restart your Mac and click on the ‘Apple menu as the device starts again. After this, hit the option of ‘System Preferences’, choose the ‘Dictation & Speech’ tab, and click on ‘Dictation’. Make sure to restart your Mac and try to speak on the app to confirm if the error is resolved.

Tip 3: Delete Caches In Apple SpeechRecognitionCore

If the above tip doesn’t make your Dictation app work on Mac, try to delete the user library cache for the speech recognition folder on your system. To apply this method, open the ‘Go to Folder’ from the ‘Finder’ menu by following the steps discussed in the above sections.

Then in the ‘Go to Folder’ dialog box, type the following path and press the tab of ‘Go’:


Tip 4: Change Language Settings On Dictation

Sometimes, Mac users can get this error if they enabled a different language pack instead of their native preferences. So, you have to just change the option for your Dictation language in order to resolve this problem.

To apply this tip, open the Apple menu on the upper-left corner of your Mac screen. Then click on the option of ‘System Preferences’ and go to the Keyboard preference pane. Next, hit the tab for ‘Dictation’ and select ‘Add Language’ below the Language settings.

After this, choose your preferred language that you want to add to the Dictation feature on your Mac. Finally, press the ‘OK’ button and make sure the language pack is downloaded properly on your system.

Once the language preference for your Dictation app changes, speak on your Mac device and see if the software is working.

Tip 5: Enable The Enhanced Dictation Version

Some Mac users have noticed that the speech-to-text software starts working right after switching to the Enhanced mode instead of Regular Dictation. This usually happens as the normal/regular version of Dictation sends not only your spoken words but other additional data for conversion to text. However, you can try this tip only if you are using Dictation on Mac OS X Mavericks v10.9 and above versions.

Turning on the enhanced dictation feature, it will allow you to send the dictated data continuously to Apple Servers. It will also not require any stable internet connection to use this app on your Mac device. Also, there are a set of dictation commands, which allows the users to simply enter the command and give instructions to the Mac.

Steps To Turn On Enhanced Dictation

To turn on Enhanced Dictation, open the Keyboard pane and go to the tab of ‘Dictation’. Then make sure that the option of ‘Dictation’ is On and select the box beside ‘Use Enhanced Dictation’. Also, click on the Microphone icon on the left and choose the internal microphone below the ‘Automatic’ option.

If the problem still persists, then follow the steps discussed in the above section to resolve the Dictation error in the Regular version. Many users have tried these tips for the Enhanced Dictation feature and it has to troubleshoot the error. However, if you are getting Mac Dictation not working even after applying the tips on both Enhanced and Regular versions, try the following alternative methods.

Additional Method To Fix Dictation Problems On Mac

In case, none of the above tips and steps resolve the Dictation issues on your Mac, you can try the following steps.

First, you have to go to the ‘System Preferences’ by following the steps discussed in the above sections. Then navigate to the tab for ‘Users & Groups’ and try to create your new temporary admin account.

Restart your Mac-based system and sign in with the help of your newly created administrator profile. Make sure to set the permissions for your main account to ‘Standard’. You can do this by unticking the checkbox for ‘Allow the user to administer this computer’.

Also, follow a few technical instructions to turn off the feature of ‘Parental Control’ on your main account. Then reboot your Mac and log into your admin profile, while deleting the temporary administrator account. Finally, go to the tab for ‘Dictation’ and enable this feature on your Mac. Hopefully, now you will not experience any problem while working on this voice-to-text converter app anymore.

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Nathaniel Villa
Nathaniel Villa
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