Voice Control is Apple’s brand new system for controlling your Mac with just your voice (available in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 too). Whether you rely on Apple’s Accessibility features day-to-day or just want to try out the latest dictation features, follow along for how to get started with and use Voice Control on your Mac running Priest Catalina.
Offering impressive improvements over the previous dictation abilities in Mojave, Voice Control leverages the Siri speech-recognition engine and on-device processing for a great experience in macOS Catalina.
Voice Control offers number overlays and grid overlays along with built-in and custom commands to control your Mac entirely by voice.
This tutorial will focus on Voice Control for Mac but you can turn the feature on to use with your iPhone or iPad by heading to Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control or telling Siri to “Turn on Voice Control.”
How to get started with and use Voice Control on Mac with Catalina
Turn on Voice Control on your Mac:
- Make sure you’re running macOS Catalina and have an internet connection
- Tell Siri “Turn on Voice Control”
- Alternately, open System Preferences
- Click Accessibility
- Scroll down on the left-hand sidebar and click Voice Control
- Click the checkbox next to Enable Voice Control
Keep in mind it will take a few minutes to enable as your Mac needs to download some files for your selected language to turn on Voice Control.
Also, keyboard dictation won’t be an option when Voice Control is turned on.
When Voice Control is enabled and ready you’ll see a floating microphone icon on your screen.
Using Voice Control on your Mac:
- You can use Voice Control across your Mac apps, including dictating in word processors, email clients, messaging apps, and any other text fields but it’s capable of so much more…
- If you’re not familiar with what commands you can use, click Commands in the System Preferences section for Voice Control where you turned it on
- You can scroll through or search for default commands, or create your own custom commands
- Click the + icon in the bottom left corner to create your own command
Now you can check out all of the built-in commands and create your own as well.
There’s a huge number of commands that are included by default to give users the ability to easily control their Mac entirely with their voice.
Here’s a look at a portion of the commands available:
Clicking on a command offers synonmys that can be used for the command, here are the different ways to dictate a single mouse click:
The command, “Make this speakable” is a neat way to create a new command. For example, when on 9to5mac.com, saying “Make this speakable” lets you create a new command phrase that will open up the website.
Click Save when finished.
Another way to create custom commands is by clicking the + icon in the commands section of Voice Control in System Preferences.
As shown above, just choose your command phrase, pick an application or leave set to “Any Application” and choose your action.
A great way to navigate your Mac with voice is by using a new number system. To turn it on, say the command “Show numbers.” You can then control your Mac by saying the number that corresponds with what you why want to select (i.e. “55”).
For different uses, turning on the Grid Overlay is the right fit. Say the command “Show Grid” to enable it.
Another neat trick to get “Hey Siri” functionality on your Mac is with Voice Control. You can use the command “Open Siri” or “Show Siri” then make your request like normal.
You can pause Voice Control by clicking “Sleep” or just saying “Go to Sleep. Click “Wake Up” or say it to resume Voice Control.
For more on Voice Control, check out Apple’s support document and Voice Control White Paper. Meanwhile, Steven Aquino has a fantastic, detailed write up on it for MacStories.
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