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Getting to know my new iPad and I really like the voice dictation, but I can't figure out how to activate it from my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. My workaround is to turn off the keyboard so I get the onscreen version. Is there a better way?

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4 Answers 4

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As of iOS 5.1, Voice Dictation is not capable of being started from external keyboards.

There is a workaround. The solution is that when you want to dictate, press the key (eject) on your external keyboard. This should bring up the virtual keyboard on the screen, from which you can then start dictation.

Note: This key doesn't work like other function keys until you have tapped into a text entry field and have the flashing cursor.

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  • @HenrikBennetsen: Not a problem! Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 2:23
  • this did not work on my zag keyboard that key closes the app.
    – user76950
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 3:10
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Press ^ Control Twice to Activate

As of iOS 15* Dictation is enabled by default and the default action is to double press ^ Control to activate it.

I tested this on two different Bluetooth keyboards (Logitech K380 and a Keychron K8) with iPadOS 16 and after pairing each, dictation was already enabled. However, you can manually toggle this setting, if necessary, by going to Settings → General → Keyboard then toggle Enable Dictation. You can also choose a different dictation shortcut, if necessary.


* Per Apple’s Support Document Dictate text while using Magic Keyboard with iPhone, it shows to be valid for iOS 15 and 16. Further research is needed to verify if earlier versions of iOS supported this feature.

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  • This is great! I was actually wondering this a few days ago. Thanks for the tip! Now if I can figure out punctuation Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 14:57
  • Where do you explain any of this @Thinkr. The question is “How to activate from a Bluetooth keyboard** not from the screen.
    – Allan
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 15:05
  • You never answered the actual question being asked @Thinkr Saying that a single line being where the setting is located does not make these similar. Again, the question was “How to activate from the keyboard” not how to enable and activate from the screen.
    – Allan
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 15:12
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press the keyboard tab (first line) when you want to switch between keyboards. They mic will work after that. I have a Logitech bluetooth keyboard on my Ipad Air 2. I hope it helps.

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  • Where is that keyboard tab?
    – Avi
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 22:15
  • Press and Hold the Down Arrow / Chevron at the bottom of the screen so the On Screen keyboard comes up, then press Dictation Button...
    – geilt
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 17:18
  • @geilt This does not work for me
    – Thinkr
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 15:09
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There is an way to do this that does not require you to show the on-screen keyboard.

Go to Settings > General > Keyboards and turn on "Enable Dictation".

Turn on "Enable Dictation" in Settings > Genral > Keyboards

You should see something like this when wanting to write somewhere :

enter image description here

Simply tap the microphone button (see image on top) to start dictating, tap it again when you're finished.

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