Text and take notes hands-free

Did you know your device can listen to your voice and create text messages, notes and search the web without the use of your hands? Give your thumbs a rest with these tricky tech tips.

How to create a hands-free text message on your Apple device
First, open ‘Messages’ and click in the ‘Text Message’ field. Now, at the bottom of your keyboard, to the left of your space bar, you’ll see a little microphone symbol.

Click the microphone symbol and speak slowly and clearly. Your message will be dictated and transcribed automatically.

When you’re finished, click ‘Done’. If your message hasn’t been accurately transcribed, you can edit it with your digits. Once, you’re happy with it, press ‘Send’.

How to create a hands-free note on your Apple device
Open your Apple Notes app. Now click on the white space to start ‘typing’. Again, you’ll see that magic microphone next to your space bar. Click it and record. As with your hands-free message, Notes will record your voice and transcribe it for you. Speak slowly and clearly and you should have an accurately recorded note. Once you’ve finished recording, hit ‘Done’ and edit as you see fit.

Using your voice to search the internet on your Apple device
You can also use the magic microphone to search the internet. Simply open your favourite browser or Google and tap the microphone next to your space bar. Speak your desired query and hit ‘Done’ then ‘Go’ and your search will be performed.

And it’s not just Notes, Messages and search that can make use of the microphone. Pretty much any app that requires the use of the keyboard can utilise this function. You can even ‘speak’ punctuation, such as comma, period, new line and exclamation, and your personal dictation assistant will enter it for you. Why not give it a try and let us know how you go?

Oh, and Android users need not feel left out. Your Android phone also has a handy microphone, usually located to the left of your space bar. It can be used for most apps that require the use of a keyboard, although Android’s list of voice dictation commands is a bit limited compared to what’s available on iPhone and iPad.

Even though the accuracy of the transcription software can sometimes be questionable, it can save you time, and can also make it easier for you to remember things such as important points in conversations, taking directions, or quickly documenting a thought when it pops into your head. It’s also fun to speak freely into the microphone and see what it transcribes – you never know what sort of surrealistic masterpiece of poetry it will provide for you!

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


How to send a text from a computer

Here's how to send a text message from your Mac or PC computer.

How to enlarge text on your devices

Find out how to enlarge the screen text on your device and stop straining your eyes.

Do you have ‘text neck’?

‘Text neck' maybe on the rise but what can be done to ease the strain?