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Updates on Dictation: New Features Increase Privacy and Access

By Nikhil Vohra, Technology Desk Editor

Dictation, a feature used by many individuals who are blind and visually impaired, can save both time and effort on the go. Before iOS 14, however, dictation was performed on the cloud, which means that speech input was processed on external servers in order to generate textual output. Not only did this require an internet connection to process speech, but it also meant that voice data were transmitted to external servers each time the dictation feature was used. On-device dictation processing, introduced in iOS 14, enables users to use this handy feature without an internet connection. Moreover, consent to the transmission of voice data to external cloud servers is no longer needed to allow for use of dictation, representing a move toward greater user privacy. One limitation of this change: dictation can only process up to one minute of speech at a time. Apple seeks to rectify this issue in its next major update, iOS 15, by removing a time limit altogether. Thus, iOS 15 promises to offer a private way to use dictation, regardless of connectivity or the length of voice input. For notes on how to use dictation, as well as a number of tips and tricks, visit Apple’s support site. You can learn more about the development from the Perkins eLearning website