I noticed a few days ago that both Siri and keyboard dictation stopped working for me.  However, they both would still work in my car (over bluetooth).  This initially led me to believe that maybe my iPhone 6+’s microphone was starting to fail.  I launched Voice Memos, and recorded a new memo, and that worked fine.  Plus, I’d had conversations with family recently, so I knew my mic was still working.  I figured it must have been something in the new 8.3 update, so I did a full-reset and restore in hopes that starting “fresh” would squash the gremlin.  It didn’t work.

This one had me stumped for a few days, and then after some GoogleBinging I remembered that the iPhone (6+, in this case, though this has been true for a while) has multiple microphones, and I distinctly remember Apple mentioning in one of their keynotes that the iPhone 6 /+ will use different microphones to pick up audio, depending on the situation.  I already knew my main mic (for voice calls and memos) worked, but what if Siri and dictation used a different mic?  And how do I test it?  As luck will have it, there is a simple test:

How to test your iPhone’s alternate (secondary) mic:

  1. Launch the Camera app
  2. If necessary, touch the ‘flip camera’ icon to use the FaceTime camera (selfie cam)
  3. Start recording a video of yourself talking
  4. Stop the recording, go to your camera roll, and watch the video
  5. If you don’t hear any talking, or you hear a bunch of static, your alternate mic is BROKEN

My video was full of garbled static… thus, my alternate mic was broken!  Lucky for me, the phone was still under warranty, and AppleCare took care of it.  This perhaps brings me to the moral of the story: if you plan on keeping your devices for longer than a year… get the extended AppleCare!

Just in case it was unclear above, here is how to test your main microphone as well:

  1. Launch Voice Memos
  2. Record a new memo
  3. Watch the read-out as you record, you should see voice ‘waves’ appearing as it records
  4. Stop the recording, play it back, and make sure it sounds good, clear, and without static

Happy debugging!

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One thought on “Did Siri or dictation stop working for you on your iOS device? Try this.

  1. Ok this is SOLVED!!! Yeaaaa!! 🙂
    After I updated, Siri and Dictation quit working and only worked on Bluetooth!
    I tried everything and spent days researching it on the web and no one knew anything!
    I checked all the settings, I tested the memo mic and the main camera mic and all worked good. I was positive it was a software issue and it was… More or less.
    Turns out that the selfee mic IS the problem, it’s the mic on the screen side of the phone near the camera. And it’s not the same one used for memo recording that’s on the bottom!
    Maybe my phone used more than one mic or a different mic for Siri and Dictation before the update, and then after the update used only the Selfee mic… I don’t know, but I bought a camera and mic combo part and a pentalobe screwdriver to get the screws out and changed it my self.
    And BINGO! no more Siri and dictation problems. WHEW!!!

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