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The Ultimate Guide on How to Use Voice Control on macOS

How to Use and Manage Voice Control on Your Mac

Would it be amazing to be able to fully control your device with only your voice? Well, you can. To its users, Apple has introduced the Voice Control feature, which allows you to navigate your device and apps, dictate and edit text, and much more. It's available on all your primary Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

As great as Voice Control is, it's still a relatively new feature that needs improvements for you to be able to depend on it 100%. But it's still a great tool that can be quite helpful. Voice Control will definitely decrease the need to use your mouse for navigation and type out text.

How to Use and Manage Voice Control on Your Mac

If you're experiencing small issues with Voice Control, make sure you're using it correctly. To use the software, connect an external microphone (desktop mic or earphones) for best results, try to pronounce words clearly, know the basic voice commands, be in a quiet environment so the Voice Control can concentrate on your commands.

Voice control is only available for macOS Catalina and later operating systems. If you're still using macOS Mojave or an older OS, upgrade to Catalina to be able to use Voice Control.

Due to Voice Control being a part of your Apple device's operating system, you don't need to search for updates as they come with the OS update.

In this article, you'll be learning how to use Voice Control on macOS Big Sur.

Table of Contents:

How to Enable/Disable Voice Control

To starts using the Voice Control feature, you need to enable it first.

To turn on Voice Control, follow the steps below:

1. In the menu bar, click on the Apple logo to open the Apple menu.
2. Go to "System Preferences".
3. In the preference window, click on "Accessibility".

Go to Accessibility settings

4. Then, select "Voice Control", located in the left sidebar, and check the box next to "Enable Voice Control".

Enable Voice Control

5. If asked, enter the admin password.

When the Voice Control is turned on, you'll see a microphone icon on your desktop.

To turn off Voice control, follow the steps below:

1. In the menu bar, click on the Apple logo to open the Apple menu.
2. Go to "System Preferences".
3. In the preference window, click on "Accessibility".

Go to Accessibility settings

4. Then, select "Voice Control", and uncheck the box next to "Enable Voice Control".

Disable Voice Control

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How to Temporarily Disable/Enable Voice Control

If you need, you can temporarily disable or enable the Voice Control feature.

To temporarily disable/enable Voice Control, follow the steps below:

1. Go to your desktop and locate the microphone icon.
2. If the Voice Control is enabled, click on the "Sleep" button or say the command "Go to Sleep".

Temporarily disable Voice Control

If the Voice Control is disabled, click on the "Wake Up" button or say the command "Wake Up".

Temporarily enable Voice Control

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How to Use Voice Commands in Voice Control

If you're new to Voice Control, you should get to know the default commands you can use.

To use voice commands, follow the steps below:

1. In the menu bar, click on the Apple logo to open the Apple menu.
2. Go to "System Preferences".
3. In the preference window, click on "Accessibility".

Go to Accessibility settings

4. Then, scroll down, select "Voice Control," and click on "Commands".

Go to Commands

5. You will see a list full of commands you can use.

List of commands

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How to Create Custom Voice Commands in Voice Control

If you can't find a command you need in the list, you can create your own.

To create a custom command, follow the steps below:

1. In the menu bar, click on the Apple logo to open the Apple menu.
2. Go to "System Preferences".
3. In the preference window, click on "Accessibility".

Go to Accessibility settings

4. Then, scroll down, select "Voice Control," and click on "Commands".

Go to Commands

5. Click on the "+" icon located at the bottom left corner of the command window.

Creat command

6. Then, on the right side of the command window, next to "When I say", enter the voice command you want.

Enter a command

7. Next to "While using," click on the drop-down menu and choose an application or keep "Any Application" selected.

Choose an app for command

8. Next to "Perform", click on the drop-down menu and select what action to perform.

Choose command action

9. Finally, click on "Done".

Click on Done to finish creating command

Your custom voice command has been created. Now you can use it with Voice Control.

If you want to delete a command, select it and then click on the "-" icon. Then click on "Done".

Delete command

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How to Change Voice Control Language

The great thing about Voice Control is that you can change the language and speak in your native tongue or practice a different language.

To change the Voice Control language, follow the steps below:

1. In the menu bar, click on the Apple logo to open the Apple menu.
2. Go to "System Preferences".
3. In the preference window, click on "Accessibility".

Go to Accessibility settings

4. Then, scroll down and select "Voice Control".
5. Next to "Language", click on the drop-down menu and select "Customize" or "Add Language".

Add language to Voice Control

6. Then, from the list, pick a language you want to add and check the box next to it.
7. Click on "OK".

Choose a language to add

8. Wait for the language pack to download.
9. When the download is finished, go to your desktop and locate the microphone icon.
10. Click on the primary language button and select a different language you have downloaded.

Change Voice Control language

Now you can use voice commands in another language.

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How to Use Number Overlay in Voice Control

The number overlay simplifies voice commands in a complex interface such as websites, etc.

To view the number overlay, just say the voice command "Show Numbers". Or you can go to "Accessibility" settings, and in "Voice Control", next to "Overlay" select "Item Numbers".

Select Item Numbers

To navigate the number overlay, say "Click (number)". For example, you enabled number overlay and want to go to "System Preferences". The button number is 2. In this case, you would say "Click 2".

Number overlay

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How to Use Grid Overlay in Voice Control

The grid overlay allows you to drag items to different parts of the screen and interact with parts that Voice Control can't recognize.

To view the grid overlay, just say the voice command "Show Grid" or "Show Window Grid" to see the grid only on the active window. Or you can go to "Accessibility" settings, and in "Voice Control", next to "Overlay" select "Numbered Grid".

Select Numbered Grid

To navigate the grid overlay, say the number of the grid to zoom in. When the part of the screen is zoomed in, it will be divided into parts as well. Zoom in until a part is covering the item you need to click on. Then, say "Click (grid number)" to click on the item.

Grid overlay

You can also drag items behind the grid. For example, if you want to drag an app located behind the 14th part of the grid to the 34th part of the grind. In this case, you need to say the command "Drag 14 to 34".

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How to Use Voice Dictation With Voice Control

With Voice Control, you can also dictate text and not bother to write it down. Place the cursor in a text field and start dictating.

How to use voice dictation:

  • To enter a symbol, punctuation mark, or even an emoji, you need to say its name.
  • To select the text, say which text you want to be chosen, for example, "Select last two words" and so on.
  • To move your cursor in the text field, say voice commands like "Move back two sentences" and so on.
  • To format text, say commands like "Bold last line", "Capitalize last word's first letter", and so on.
  • To delete text, use commands like "Delete paragraph", "Delete All", and so on.

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We hope this article was helpful!

Check out the video below for a step-by-step tutorial.

Video on How to Use and Manage Voice Control on Your Mac

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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