macOS Catalina introduces Voice Control, a new way to fully control your Mac entirely with your voice. Voice Control uses the Siri speech-recognition engine to improve on the Enhanced Dictation feature available in earlier versions of macOS.1
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After upgrading to macOS Catalina, follow these steps to turn on Voice Control:
When Voice Control is enabled, you see an onscreen microphone representing the mic selected in Voice Control preferences.
To pause Voice Control and stop it from from listening, say ”Go to sleep” or click Sleep. To resume Voice Control, say or click ”Wake up.”
Get to know Voice Control by reviewing the list of voice commands available to you: Say “Show commands” or ”Show me what I can say.” The list varies based on context, and you may discover variations not listed. To make it easier to know whether Voice Control heard your phrase as a command, you can select ”Play sound when command is recognized” in Voice Control preferences.
Voice Control recognizes the names of many apps, labels, controls, and other onscreen items, so you can navigate by combining those names with certain commands. Here are some examples:
You can also create your own voice commands.
Use number overlays to quickly interact with parts of the screen that Voice Control recognizes as clickable, such as menus, checkboxes, and buttons. To turn on number overlays, say ”Show numbers.” Then just say a number to click it.
Number overlays make it easy to interact with complex interfaces, such as web pages. For example, in your web browser you could say ”Search for Apple stores near me.” Then use the number overlay to choose one of the results: ”Show numbers. Click 64.” (If the name of the link is unique, you might also be able to click it without overlays by saying ”Click” and the name of the link.)
Voice Control automatically shows numbers in menus and wherever you need to distinguish between items that have the same name.
Use grid overlays to interact with parts of the screen that don't have a control, or that Voice Control doesn't recognize as clickable.
Say “Show grid” to show a numbered grid on your screen, or ”Show window grid” to limit the grid to the active window. Say a grid number to subdivide that area of the grid, and repeat as needed to continue refining your selection.
To click the item behind a grid number, say ”Click” and the number. Or say ”Zoom” and the number to zoom in on that area of the grid, then automatically hide the grid. You can also use grid numbers to drag a selected item from one area of the grid to another: ”Drag 3 to 14.”
To hide grid numbers, say ”Hide numbers.” To hide both numbers and grid, say ”Hide grid.”
When the cursor is in a document, email message, text message, or other text field, you can dictate continuously. Dictation converts your spoken words into text.
Voice Control understands contextual cues, so you can seamlessly transition between text dictation and commands. For example, to dictate and then send a birthday greeting in Messages, you could say ”Happy Birthday. Click Send.” Or to replace a phrase, say ”Replace I’m almost there with I just arrived.”
You can also create your own vocabulary for use with dictation.
Create your own voice commands
To quickly add a new command, you can say ”Make this speakable.” Voice Control will help you configure the new command based on the context. For example, if you speak this command while a menu item is selected, Voice Control helps you make a command for choosing that menu item.
Create your own dictation vocabulary
1. Voice Control uses the Siri speech-recognition engine for U.S. English only. Other languages and dialects use the speech-recognition engine previously available with Enhanced Dictation.
2. If you're on a business or school network that uses a proxy server, Voice Control might not be able to download. Have your network administrator refer to the network ports used by Apple software products.