When I made my video a few weeks ago about the problems with dictation on the Mac and mobile devices, I was aware of some new changes coming with iOS 13 and Catalina concerning the accessibility voice control but hadn’t dug in deep enough. Since that time, I have installed some betas, and now I realize why Nuance is abandoning Apple.
The feature is called Voice Control, and it is pretty remarkable. It works very similar to Dragon on the Mac. It allows you to dictate text and control your device with your voice. It does not run on a timer so you can speak as long as you need to. It has its own custom dictionary (although as I write this, it does not seem to be working) and even uses many of the same commands that Dragon uses. Best of all, starting in September, it will be on everyone’s iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
I’m writing this very article with it.
This is more than a simple voice to text dictation tool. It does that with all of the above bells and whistles. But you can also use it to navigate the cursor around your text and make corrections, open applications, and otherwise control your device. If I were to talk to someone at Apple, I presume they would say this is primarily an accessibility feature than a dictation feature. However, in the few weeks I’ve been using it, I believe it does both pretty well. I like it so much that I have canceled my Dragon Anywhere subscription that I talked about just a few weeks ago.
You enable the new feature under the accessibility panel. You can toggle it on and off with your voice using the commands “wake up” And “go to sleep”. I’ve also added the accessibility panel to my control center so I can swipe down and tap a button.
Is this as good as Dragon on the Mac was? Probably not. But it’s close enough. And I expect once a lot of people start using and the Apple artificial intelligence fires up, it will only get better with time.
The new voice control feature is a significant upgrade to voice to text dictation on all Apple devices. It’s going to be baked into everybody’s device without any subscription or additional software, and if you want to start writing text with your voice, there is no better time to start than September. See the below demonstration video to get a better idea of how it works.