Get Dictation Input on iOS 5.1 without pulling up keyboard

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I would like to use the voice dictation feature found on the new iPad. I am hoping that there is a way to just have a button that starts capturing voice without having the use the microphone button on the keyboard. In other words, I don't want to have to pull up the keyboard to start capturing voice for dictation.

I have looked through Apple's documentation, and have found the new UIDictionPhrase class, but this class seems to be used only for the text response sent back from Apple after voice has been captured and sent.

Does anyone know of a way, or if it is even possible, to use the built in voice dictation feature without pulling up the keyboard and tapping the voice input button?

EDIT: I am not looking for something that is not Apple approved. I am hoping that there is an approved API to do this that I have missed.

2012-04-04 17:57
by Barlow Tucker
This sounds like something that would get your app rejected if submitting to the AppStore - Chris Wagner 2012-04-04 18:02
I am not asking for something that is against Apple policy, I am asking if there is an approved API that I am not seein - Barlow Tucker 2012-04-04 19:19
I would be happy if I could get a little microphone button on the keyboard. Is there something that needs to be done to make that appear? I thought it was supposed to be available for any text field - LavaSlider 2012-05-03 02:55
@LavaSlider It only shows up on the new iPad. To get it on the new iPad, go into the keyboard settings to turn on voice dictation - Barlow Tucker 2012-05-09 14:41
Thanks Barlow. Thought it was an iOS 5 thing. I only have old hardware... :- - LavaSlider 2012-05-10 00:19


I've been looking for something similar myself. The "legal" approach may be to just use the Nuance Mobile library natively. Apparently the Siri dictation uses this internally (so it should behave similarly).

It's free to develop with, but they charge 19 cents to 24 cents a "device activation" and seem to require an initial $10,000 license "prepayment" to launch with enough bandwidth to deal with real traffic. But if you were selling an app at 1.99 or above, the $0.24 license "may" be worth it. They also have a "pay per session model" if your app isn't heavy speak recognition.

My guess is that Apple's contract with Nuance probably prevents them adding Dicatation directly to the API itself.

2012-04-17 15:50
by Michael Gray