10 Best Fixes for Dictation Not Working on Mac

Dictation is a valuable feature on Mac that allows users to convert spoken words into written text. It is incredibly useful for those who prefer dictating their thoughts rather than typing them out. However, at times, you may encounter issues where dictation stops working on your Mac. This can be frustrating, especially if you heavily rely on this feature. In this article, we will explore ten effective fixes for dictation not working on Mac, helping you regain full functionality and enhance your productivity.

1. Check Dictation Settings

The first step in troubleshooting dictation issues is to verify that the feature is enabled and configured correctly. To do this, navigate to “System Preferences” and click on “Keyboard.” Select the “Dictation” tab and ensure that dictation is turned on. Additionally, check that the language and microphone settings are properly configured.

2. Update macOS

Outdated software can often cause compatibility issues, including problems with dictation. Ensure that your Mac is running the latest version of macOS by clicking on the Apple menu, selecting “System Preferences,” and choosing “Software Update.” Install any available updates to ensure that your operating system is up to date.

3. Restart Dictation Service

Restarting the dictation service can sometimes resolve temporary glitches. Open the “Activity Monitor” application, which you can find in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder. Locate the process named “DictationIM” and select it, then click the “X” button at the top left of the window and choose “Force Quit.” Afterward, try using dictation again to check if the problem persists.

4. Reset Language Data

Dictation relies on language data files, and if these files become corrupted, it can lead to issues with dictation. Resetting the language data can often resolve the problem. Open “System Preferences,” click on “Keyboard,” and select the “Dictation” tab. Turn off dictation and wait a few moments. Then, turn it back on, and macOS will automatically download the necessary language files.

5. Check Microphone and Audio Settings

Dictation requires access to your Mac’s microphone. Ensure that the microphone is properly connected and functioning correctly. You can test it by using other applications that require audio input. Additionally, verify that the microphone is selected as the input device in the “Sound” settings within “System Preferences.”

6. Disable Enhanced Dictation

Enhanced Dictation is a feature that allows dictation to work even when your Mac is not connected to the internet. While this can be convenient, it may cause conflicts that prevent dictation from working. To disable Enhanced Dictation, go to “System Preferences,” click on “Keyboard,” select the “Dictation” tab, and uncheck the box next to “Use Enhanced Dictation.” Restart your Mac and test dictation to see if it starts working.

7. Reset Siri

Dictation and Siri are closely related features, and resetting Siri can help resolve issues with dictation. Open “System Preferences,” click on “Siri,” and turn off Siri. Wait for a few moments, and then turn it back on. This can clear any temporary conflicts or glitches that may be affecting dictation.

8. Create a New User Account

Creating a new user account can help determine if the issue is specific to your user profile. Open “System Preferences” and click on “Users & Groups.” Click the “+” button at the bottom left to create a new user account. Log in to the new account and test dictation. If it works fine, it indicates that the problem is related to your original user account.

9. Disable Third-Party Keyboard Software

Third-party keyboard software or utilities may interfere with dictation functionality. If you have any keyboard-related applications installed, try disabling or uninstalling them temporarily. Restart your Mac and check if dictation starts working without any issues.

10. Reset NVRAM and SMC

Resetting the NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) and SMC (system management controller) can resolve various hardware-related issues, including problems with dictation. The process for resetting these components varies depending on the Mac model you have. You can find detailed instructions on Apple’s support website or consult the user manual for your specific Mac model.


Dictation is a powerful feature on Mac that allows users to transcribe spoken words into written text. If you encounter issues with dictation not working, it can disrupt your workflow and productivity. By following the ten fixes outlined in this article, you can effectively troubleshoot and resolve dictation issues on your Mac. Remember to check settings, update your macOS, restart the dictation service, reset language data, verify microphone and audio settings, disable Enhanced Dictation, reset Siri, create a new user account, disable third-party keyboard software, and if needed, reset NVRAM and SMC. With these solutions, you can regain full dictation functionality and enjoy the benefits of this convenient feature once again.

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