Apple has been an industry leader in releasing dictation and voice recognition tools for Mac users, such as Dictation and Siri. Dictation is one of Apple’s greatest accessibility features and now, you can ask Siri to turn it on. In recent years, Apple has also released an Enhanced Dictation version that could be used without an Internet connection.
However, the Dictation and Enhanced Dictation features have still been reported as not functioning properly or not working at all due to a number of issues. A primary cause of dysfunction has been the performance of a Mac system update.This tutorial will provide you with a few methods to solve this problem.
Prior to Applying Your Solution
Before you apply one of the solutions provided here, perform a few time-saving simple tests:
1. Check your Dictation general settings and that it is turned on.
2. Disable your Dictation function and then enable it
3. Turn off dictation and restart your device. When rebooted, enable the Dictation feature.
4. In Finder, go to Edit > Start Dictation. Press the default shortcut key Fn twice. Verify that no running applications are causing the problem
If none of these precautions have restored your dictation, then go on to these solutions.
Check the Microphone
1. Make sure that your microphone is turned on and is configured properly. To test your computer’s microphone. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Keyboard or go to Dictation & Speech > Dictation. Under the microphone icon, select the drop-down menu.
2. Choose the Internal microphone (do not choose Automatic). The Internal microphone should be listed as an audio input, and when you make a noise such as clapping your hands, the microphone indicator should light up and show the degree of change. If the indicator light does work with the noise, go to ‘Sound’ and verify your inputs.
3. In Finder, on Go to the Folder, type ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.assistant.plist. Press Go or use the Command + Shift + G shortcut keys. When the file is in view, drag it to the Trash. Restart your Mac.
4. Go to System Preferences and choose ‘Keyboard’. Select Dictation and disable the feature. Restart your Mac. Turn off Dictation and Restart again. Turn on Dictation and check to see if the problem is solved.
Note: Dictation in Mountain Lion requires connection to Apple servers. If your configuration for the connection interferes with the traffic to the Apple Servers, Dictation will not work. VPN or special DNS configurations can interfere with the connection.
Verify Fn Key Function
Apple’s built-in services can sometimes interfere with Dictation. Verify that your Fn action key is working on your keyboard. In some cases, some settings and services can inhibit the Fn bound hot key for Dictation from working when the Fn is pressed twice. Check to see that the sticky keys are not enabled in your Mac’s Accessibility System Preferences.
The sticky keys allow the Fn to be tapped to maintain the system. Enable the sticky keys in the Keyboard area of the Accessibility System Preferences. When the system is configured for it, the sticky keys may be toggled by pressing ‘Shift’ five times.
Delete Speech Recognition User Library Cache Folder
You can try deleting your Caches folder to recover the Dictation service. Make sure you will need any of the contents in the Caches. Delete the speech recognition user library cache folder located at
Go to Folder. Empty the Trash. Restart your Mac. Check to see if the problem is solved. Note: When you delete your Caches folder, it will rebuild itself. Your Mac may slow down during the process.
Change Your Dictation Language
Try changing your language in Dictation. Go to Apple > System Preferences > Keyboard. Select Dictation > Language > Add Language. Choose the different language. Choose ‘OK’.
Downloading a different language pack may reset the English diction as well during the installation.To download a different pack, go to Apple > System Preferences > Language & Region. Click ‘+’ to add the new language. Check to see if the problem is solved. You can also add a keyboard for each language in Dictation.
You can also fix Enhanced Dictation by adding a language. Turn Enhanced Dictation OFF and add another language. Turn Enhanced Dictation ON and wait for it to force a new download of language recognizer.
Check Other Apps on Your Mac
Verify that none of your apps are causing Dictation to dysfunction by closing all other apps. Then try Dictation. If Dictation now works, turn each app back on to see which app was causing the problem. If a problem app is identified, check to see if it is the most updated version. If it is the most updated version, contact the developer for more insight.
Disable Your Antivirus Software
Antivirus software can stop Dictation from functioning properly by blocking the data as it returns from the Apple servers. Check third-party security software, including the password managers, to make see if it is enabled so that you can turn it off.
Also check for third-party driver software for your keyboards and input managers to see if the installation may be the problem. Also, to address this problem, go to the Sound control panel. Verify that the Internal Microphone is selected. Raise the input volume higher than 50% Turn on ‘Use ambient noise reduction’:
If the built-in microphone isn’t being used in your Mac, find your type of microphone in the manufacturer support pages to troubleshoot.
If you can’t locate your Library folder:
Go to Home> Users > Your Username. Open Finder. Go to View > Show View Options or use the Command – j shortcut keys. Open ‘Show Library’ folder and enable it. Check to see if the problem is solved.
Check Apple Support
A few solutions have been presented to get your Dictation back up and running on your Mac. If none of this solution solved your problem, contact Apple Support for assistance with your Accessibility features.