The integrated dictation software on my Mac (whose hotkey is pressing function twice) takes 10 seconds to initialize after not using it for around 10 minutes. It's a minor nuisance, but still a nuisance. Is there documentation for changing the settings?

MacBook OS 10.11


By default, Enhanced Dictation waits 7 minutes (420 seconds) before quitting its processes. You can override this default by writing a different value to its preference file.

For example, if you want Dictation to wait 60 minutes (3600 seconds), open Terminal and execute the following command.

defaults write com.apple.inputmethod.ironwood DelaySecondsUntilTerminatationOffline -float 3600;killall DictationIM

If you want to return to the default value, you can remove the override using the command:

defaults remove com.apple.inputmethod.ironwood DelaySecondsUntilTerminatationOffline;killall DictationIM
  • Enhanced dictation seems to stop when clicking on a program window. Could I ask what your source is? – Dan Z Jan 15 '17 at 0:27
  • By "seems to stop when clicking on a program window", do you mean the Dictation paddle/HUD disappears when clicking in another window or application and you must restart Dictation again for the other window or app? If so, you can force Enhanced Dictation to continue listening as you switch windows and apps by enabling advanced commands via System Preferences > Accessibility > Dictation > Dictation Commands > Enabled advanced commands. The Terminal commands I provide above don't affect anything visible that most users would notice, only the resource usage of the underlying processes. – JustSomeMacDude Jan 20 '17 at 1:54

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