voice control MacOS Catalina

With Voice Control, users can use speak commands to control their devices. Launching on iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and macOS Catalina this fall, the new feature has been designed for those folks with limited dexterity, mobility, and other conditions. Regardless, it also serves as a great new way to interact with your devices.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to turn on Voice Control on Mac

If you're using Voice Control for the first time, you'll need to set it up by following these steps:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Check the box for Enable Voice Control.

Once Voice Control is active, who can speak commands to your Mac such as "Hide Item," "Go to the next field," "Single Click," and more. You'll see a Voice Control icon on the right side of your device.

How to wake/sleep Voice Control on Mac

You can wake and sleep Voice Control by doing the following:

  1. Click Wake on the Voice Control icon to wake the tool.
  2. Click Sleep on the Voice Control icon to put the tool to sleep. During this time, Voice Control won't work.

How to turn off Voice Control using your voice on Mac

To turn off Voice Control by speaking:

  1. Say Turn Off Voice Control.

Now Voice Control is disabled, and you won't be able to speak commands to your computer anymore.

How to change the Voice Control language on Mac

Voice Control uses your default language at startup. To change:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click on the pull-down next to Language.
  5. Select Add Language.
  6. Tap the box for the language(s) you'd like to add.
  7. Choose Done.

How to select a new language in Voice Control on Mac

  1. Tap the current language noted on the Voice Control icon at the right side of your device.
  2. Choose the language you now want to use.

How to disable commands in Voice Control on Mac

You can disable any command in Voice Control, including those created by Apple and yourself:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click on Commands button.
  5. Uncheck the box(es) for the command(s) you want to disable.
  6. Click on the Done button.

The disabled commands are no longer available in Voice Control.

How to enable commands in Voice Control on Mac

You can also re-enable any command in Voice Control:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click on Commands button.
  5. Check the box(es) for the command(s) you want to enable again.
  6. Click on the Done button.

You can now use those commands with Voice Control.

How to create custom commands in Voice Control on Mac

Yes, you can add personal commands to work with Voice Controls. To add Custom Commands:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click on Commands button.
  5. Select +.
  6. Next, add your command in the When I say box. By default, this command is usable across all apps.
  7. To restrict the command to only one app, click on the White Using pull-down menu.
  8. Choose the app you'd like to use with your custom command.
  9. Choose how this command is Performed from the pull-down menu.
  10. Select Done.

You can now use this new custom command as you would others with Voice Control.

How to delete custom commands in Voice Control on Mac

You can permanently delete any custom command for Voice Controls:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click on Commands button.
  5. Highlight the command to delete under Custom.
  6. Select -.

Your custom command is no longer usable through Voice Control on Mac.

How to change the microphone for Voice Control on Mac

By default, Voice Control will use your Mac's built-in microphone. You can change this to another microphone when available:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click on the pull-down menu next to Microphone.
  5. Choose the microphone to use.

How to receive an alert when a command is recognized in Voice Control on Mac

You can receive a sound alert each time a command is recognized:

  1. Click on System Preferences on your Mac's Dock.
  2. Select Accessories.
  3. On the Accessibility page, tap Dictation under the Motor section.
  4. Click the box next to Play sound when command is recognized.

Enhance your Mac experience

There's a long list of awesome accessories, including these:

Samsung T5 SSD ($130+ at Amazon)

This solid state drive from Samsung is speedy, tiny, and portable. It also connects using USB-C, making it a perfect companion for your new Mac.

Bose Companion 20 ($250 at Amazon)

These beautiful speakers offer a balanced sound in a stylish package. With no knobs on the front, a small pod attached to the right speaker controls volume, which also holds the ports for your headphones or other audio devices.

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions about Voice Control, let us know in the comments below!

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