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Voice control on Monterey (with M1 hardware) is now excellent, and I'm using it all the time for the past few days, along with the head pointer. It's now so good that I'm becoming frustrated that it's not perfect...

I'm using ulysses alongside chrome, switching to Ulysses to take notes (by dictation). Sometimes voice control will enter a state where it will respond to commands (such as "press a key" (producing a letter 'a') but will not take continuous dictation.

It's could well be a bug, but I'm trying to track it down, or at least isolate cause and effect. No luck yet..

More info:

  • switching voice control off and on again restores continuous dictation. Before I did that, it was responding only to commands, not continuous dictation.
  • the microphone level indicator at the bottom right hand of the screen now does not update, perhaps suggesting a high tax on system resources from running voice control; or a lack of optimisation given it is still an early feature.
  • I'm using an M1 mini with 8 GB of RAM & a usb snowball blue mic.
  • unlike some enthusiastic reviewers suggested, these machines are not omnipotent. Activity monitor shows memory pressure yellow, and one red spike about when I switch to voice control on and off. I have no other significant applications are running other than chrome with quite a few tabs.
  • I'm curious whether an M1 with larger memory may not have this issue, but don't have one to test as yet.
  • I've now found one reliable partial work around/ isolation of the bug. If I have two microphones plugged in, and when it drops out, switch to the other microphone in voice control preferences, continuous dictation returns. This is of course very unergonomic, but it's better than nothing.

Can anyone who has an M1 with 16G+ RAM please check if continuous dictation works reliably without dropping out when switching between applications? I suspect this might help but do not have such a machine to hand at present.

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  • Would you mind if I took a stab at editing out some of the fluff here? It is not clear if the answer provided is what you seek and with a bit of extra narrative here, I fear no one else will answer this
    – bmike
    Jan 26, 2022 at 12:55
  • You can but at least to my mind it does seem specific. Perhaps the problem is that what I am doing here is writing a bug report for Apple OS. Sometimes there are unexpected trial and error ways to get around a bug, and that to my mind was/is the type of solution I am seeking here.
    – mwal
    Jan 26, 2022 at 15:31

1 Answer 1

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With Voice Control active, speaking the phrase "Open Commands" will display the commands window. If you notice in the image below, there are a few new commands.

If you speak the phrase "Dictation Mode" then every spoken word will be inserted into the document you are trying to dictate to.

If you speak the phrase "Command Mode" then Voice Control will only listen for and act upon the Custom and Default Dictation Commands.

enter image description here

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  • Thanks, this is indeed an important point re. voice control to understand, but the bug that's the topic of this post is happening when in "full" dictation mode. I just tried switching to command mode now, and a helpful icon appears to indicate that normal speech is not being transcribed, to make sure the user is aware. To be sure, the bug I am concerned with here, is not due to being in command mode - it happens when in "full" dictation mode.
    – mwal
    Jan 19, 2022 at 11:40

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