Android Productivity

Free Up Your Hands With Speech-to-Text on Android

Ben Stegner Updated 16-12-2019

Chances are that you can speak faster than you can type. However, most people only input text on their phone using their thumbs. Since speaking lets you input the same information more quickly, you should take advantage of your Android device’s voice to text features.


Let’s look at Android’s speech-to-text function and how to use it in various apps.

How to Turn On Speech-to-Text on Android

On modern versions of Android, speech-to-text is enabled by default. You don’t need to do anything special to activate voice to text, but you can tweak a few options.

To configure speech-to-text, open your phone’s Settings app and head to System > Languages & input. Here, select Virtual keyboard. You’ll see entries here for each of your installed keyboards, in addition to a Google voice typing item.

Tap this Google voice typing item to make sure everything is set up the way you want. In particular, make sure you have the right Language dialect selected. There are different options for UK English and US English, for instance.


It’s also a good idea to use the Offline speech recognition panel to download your primary language. That way, you can still use voice to text even when you don’t have a connection.

The rest of the options here are supplementary. You can censor offensive words and configure options for hands-free voice control using Bluetooth devices.

Using Voice to Text on Android

Once you’ve set up the basic elements, you’re ready to go with voice typing. You can switch to voice input in pretty much any text field, and it’s most convenient to use inside of a compatible keyboard app.

Most Android phones these days come with Google’s Gboard pre-installed. As you’d expect, it supports voice typing. But if you don’t prefer to use Gboard, you can use other suitable keyboards, such as SwiftKey. Alternate Android keyboards 4 Best Free and Open Source Android Keyboards Looking for an open source keyboard for your Android device? These are the best options available. Read More may have their own specific settings for voice typing, so make sure you explore app options too.


When you want to type on your Android device using voice to text, simply tap on a text entry field as you normally would. Once your keyboard comes up, instead of typing like normal, look for the voice input key.

Gboard users will find this icon on the far-right side of the suggestion bar. On SwiftKey, this is located in the bottom-left corner with a long-press of the Comma key. If you’d like, you can also tap the Keyboard icon on your phone’s bottom navigation bar. This allows you to switch keyboards; select Google voice typing to open the talk to text panel.

No matter how you launch speak to text mode, start talking and your words will appear in the text box shortly. When you’re done, tap the Mic button to have your phone stop listening to your audio.


Making Changes to Voice-Typed Text

In the dedicated Google voice typing panel (which doesn’t appear with Gboard), tap the Backspace key to erase one word at a time. If the engine wasn’t sure about some of the words you said, it will underline those. Tap the words in question and you’ll see suggestions appear underneath them. Select one to switch to that word.

If you need to replace a word, you can press and hold on it to highlight the whole word. Then tap the Mic icon and speak the word you want to replace it with. After a moment, you’ll see the word change.

Tips for Speech-to-Text Ease of Use

Google’s voice recognition engine improves all the time, and is much better than it was a few years ago. You shouldn’t have much trouble typing out short messages with it. However, keep a few tips in mind for best results:

  • Speak clearly, but conversationally. Try not to mumble your words or the engine might get confused. However, you don’t have to speak like a robot, as it’s made to understand natural speech.
  • Watch out for background noise. If you’re in a busy area or trying to speak with the windows down in the car, voice typing might not work so well. Try to reduce unnecessary noise as much as possible.
  • Use it often. As the service better learns how you speak over time, it will provide improved results for you.
  • Take advantage of the user dictionary. Visit Settings > Languages & input > Advanced > Personal dictionary and you can add last names, slang, and other “unofficial” words that might trip up Android’s speech-to-text.

Additionally, be aware that you can add punctuation while speaking. For example, to type the following:

I was worried about you. What’s going on?

You would need to say:

“I was worried about you period what’s going on question mark”

Expand Speech-to-Text With More Apps

The usefulness of speech-to-text is only limited by your creativity. You can take advantage of it whenever you don’t want to type, such as when sending a text message or jotting down a note.

To go even further, check out our list of the best Android dictation apps The 7 Best Android Dictation Apps for Easy Speech-to-Text Here are the best speech-to-text apps for Android that make dictation easy and improve note-taking with your voice. Read More . They include more convenient ways to use voice to text functions, plus some apps that take special advantage of the utility.

But it doesn’t end there. Instead of using speech-to-text to replace typing, why not start giving your Android phone all sorts of commands with your voice? This saves you from having to navigate through menus all the time.

Take a look at some of the most useful “OK Google” commands you can give Google Assistant. These let you send messages, create reminders, and adjust settings—all with a few words.

Advanced users can also look at the Voice Access app. Instead of Google Assistant commands, this allows you to navigate around your device by voice. It’s intended for users with disabilities that have difficulty using a touch screen, but it’s worth a look for anyone who loves Android’s talk to text functionality too.

Android Speech-to-Text Is Extremely Handy

On modern phones, typing text with your voice is as simple as switching to the voice typing panel anywhere you would normally enter text with your keyboard. Speak your text out loud and enjoy much faster typing than your thumbs can offer.

If you want to get advanced, you’ll find several apps that take this further. Whatever your level of interest, give voice to text a try on your device if you haven’t before. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What if you want to convert text into speech? Check out the best text-to-speech apps for Android The 7 Best Text-to-Speech Apps for Android Text-to-speech is a handy feature on your Android phone even if you don't have a disability. These apps take it to the next level. Read More .

Related topics: Android Tips, Google Assistant, Speech Recognition, Speech to Text, Voice Commands.

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  1. Stari Byrd
    February 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Well I love the convenience, it does irritate me that it constantly types well instead of while, can't learn to spell names, and americanizes the spelling of words such as color. It needs to be more teachable and it needs to ensure that it spells in the language you have chosen.

  2. Kim J. Duran
    August 29, 2017 at 7:17 pm


  3. Kim J. Duran
    August 29, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    I want to be able to use speech control all the time my son had it set up to type even my cuss words somehow I change that and I need to know how to type or change it back. Because it made a big difference of what it types on here and what it does it. I LOVE A HANDS-FREE TEXTING LOVE IT. WOULD LOVE TO BE ABLE TO OPERATE MY PHONE MOSTLY WITHOUT HAVING TO PUSH BUTTON JUST SPEAKING TO THE PHONE.

  4. Bud Hines
    February 1, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Hi, I just talked to my car mechanic. He was using an iphone and created a voice message that he attached to a memo he left for himself.

    Does android provide the ability to store that text message as a memo?

  5. Kelly S.
    September 28, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    It slows me down because it keeps spelling "Rachael" without the second "a" so I have to go back and correct it. There should be a way to teach the voice recognition to spell names the way you intend. I don't want to have to spell her name when sending a text to her father.

    • Jolinda Marshall
      October 23, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      I am having the same problem as my name, JOLINDA is often spell Joe Linda or chill Linda or Joylinda

  6. Debbie
    May 28, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Thank you, thank you for clear directions!

  7. Graham
    April 24, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I need the output to be in the same language as I speak. I am set up for English (UK) but the text output still mangles it to the English (US) equivalent or worse.

  8. Banyin
    March 16, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I've just discovered this voice to text function. No more hunching over to type, which gives me stress on my shoulders and neck. This is just so excellent for me.

    I voice to text in Onenote and pick up the text on my PC. Probably not the best way but I haven't found a better way.

  9. Anonymous
    September 21, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    This is without question a joke of a product.

    If you want to spend more time correcting what the conversion gives you than you would actually pecking out the keys and typing it yourself, this is the way to go.

    Certain words? It absolutely REFUSES to recognize. If you're on Tinder? Get ready for "Tender" over and over and over again. But that's OK. When you go to correct it, it gives you Tinder as an option.

    So, it KNOWS it sucks. It has a ready list of suggestions for what you were actually trying to say.

    I speak on the radio and in commercials for a living and I wouldn't let this thing translate my grocery list. WASTE OF TIME. Carrier pigeons would be quicker and less frustrating.

  10. kelli
    February 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm


  11. Nitish Verma
    February 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    What is the way of using speech to text feature in offline mode?

  12. Marc
    February 12, 2015 at 9:58 am

    The speech-to-text disapearred from my HTC Desire X :(
    No more microphone on keyboard ...
    I don't know what's happen ...
    How can I reactivate it ?

  13. teanna
    January 28, 2015 at 1:16 am

    I don't have a microphone on the keyboard on this phone. It is the galaxy avant. I just switched from the exhibit and it had one. I can't figure out how to get it on there. It was already there on my other phone.

    • Ferol
      December 28, 2015 at 1:01 am

      On the key pad, touch and hold setting, the mic should pop up. Then touch the mic and speak.

  14. Mitesh Budhabhatti
    June 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I have a Samsung ACE and it takes a while when it does speech to text.  Is it normal in Android or its an issue with ACE?

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 27, 2011 at 7:15 am

      I can only speak for my HTC Desire, which isn't slow at all. You might also want to consider that your internet connection is slowing it down. The speech-to-text service accesses Google's voice-recognition servers to do the transcript.

      • Mitesh Budhabhatti
        June 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm

        It accesses Google's server?? I did not know that.  If thats the case, that could be the reason for the slowness as my internet is damn slow.  Thanks

  15. riz
    June 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    it gives me a connection problem...when i tried using it for an sms, it says "could not connect". i'm using swype but the keyboard does have a mic button.

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Ah yes, you need to be online for it to work, since it connects to Google's servers in order to work out what you're saying.

  16. Anonymous
    June 10, 2011 at 3:14 am

    No dice for Gmail or Google Voice for texting on DroidX. Fail.

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 10, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Are you running Android 2.2? I have seen screenshots of 2.1 users using this, but it should definitely work for all users of 2.2.

  17. bragTAG
    June 10, 2011 at 12:03 am

    The "Taskos" android app is a task manager/to-do list app which not only allows text input, but also syncs with Google Tasks!  Taskos also has a nifty widget which also allows text input right from the home screen...not affiliated with Taskos in ANY was, just passing this along as I enjoy using it!

  18. Anonymous
    June 9, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    No luck with my Samsung ACE, does swype has something to do it with this?

    • Angela Alcorn
      June 10, 2011 at 7:48 am

      Swype could have something to do with it. Are you unable to see a microphone button anywhere?