Android – Enable Speech-to-Text (Voice Input) Keyboard Feature How to setup and configure the Android speech-to-text feature to convert voice input into text on-the-fly

Android - Enable Speech-to-Text (Voice Input) Keyboard Feature

Among the many cool and distinctive features of the Android operating system, the Speech-to-Text – also known as Voice Input – is arguably one of most useful ones: it can be used in conjunction with text messaging apps – such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Viber, Line and so on – to instantly convert voice into text on-the-fly, thus gaining the same advantages of Voice Recorded Messages without having to use them.

Activating such feature, which has been made available to all Android-based devices since Android 5 Lollipop, is just as easy as tapping the “microphone” icon within the default Android keyboard:

Android - Enable Speech-to-Text (Voice Input) Keyboard Feature

IMPORTANT: Do not confuse it with the big microphone icon which is usually placed to the right of the text message input textbox in Whatsapp, Telegram and Viber… that’s what you use for Voice Recorded Messages!

Microphone Icon Not Available

If you cannot see the mic icon, it most likely means that you have to setup your keyboard’s multi-purpose settings button – which default icon could eiher be a smile, a typical settings cog, or something else. In order to shape-shift it to your desired microphone icon you just have to press/tap and hold it for a number of seconds, until a modal window pops up – showing a number of available features:

Android - Enable Speech-to-Text (Voice Input) Keyboard Feature

That’s about it.

Voice Input Settings

In the unlikely scenario that the microphone icon isn’t there, it could be due to the fact that your phone’s Voice Input settings are disabled. In order to check that, go to Device Settings > Personal > Language & Input, then look for the Speech > Voice Input section.

Android - Enable Speech-to-Text (Voice Input) Keyboard Feature

Once there, you should be able to choose between two different Voice Input providers: needless to say, you should definitely go for the Enhanced Google Service, as it will bring additional features on top of Google’s core speech-to-text recognition engine, including always-on voice monitoring and voice control for third-party apps: however, the Basic Google Recognition will work just fine for the speech-to-text keyboard feature, assuming you use the Android stock keyboard.

The “hidden” Google App

In the unlikely scenario that the Voice Input settings and/or the microphone icon isn’t there, there’s a high chance that your Android configuration is messed up. The first thing that you should check is that the Google App is up and running, because it’s required for the speech-to-text feature to be available. Notice that, being it a system app, it will only be shown when you choose to view “all” the installed apps:

Android - Enable Speech-to-Text (Voice Input) Keyboard Feature

Notice that the app might appear as Google App or simply Google, depending on the Android version installed on your device.

As soon as you re-enable it, your Voice Input features should be restored and you should be able to make the microphone icon appear by following the above instructions.

That’s it for now: we hope that this post will help many Android users who want to try this neat feature!


About Alice

Layout designer, SEO & marketing analyst. Since 2010 is also a junior developer, working on the web site back-end infrastructure of some italian press companies. She also actively manages a number of social pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) for some IT companies and press agencies.

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