What Is Voice Control and How to Use It on Your Mac

What Is Voice Control and How to Use It on Your Mac

On October 7, 2019, Apple released the long-awaited macOS Catalina, which is the sixteenth major version of its operating system, and successor to macOS Mojave. If you’ve already upgraded to macOS Catalina, you’ve probably tried the new life-changing features that provide some comfort and a little fun.

Among them, the voice control function is designed for people who want to control the Mac instead of using the keyboard or mouse.

If this is your case, or if you just want a new way to use your Mac without having to type on a keyboard or using your mouse, read on to find out what voice control is and what you can do it.

What is voice control on Mac

Voice control is a macOS Catalina feature that lets you control your Mac computer using simple voice commands propagated by voice recognition technology.

With this feature, you can issue commands on your Mac and dictate text in documents and emails. It is designed to help people who do not want to use a conventional mouse or keyboard and continue to use their Mac computer.

Voice control how to use it mac definition

It doesn’t take long to open and close apps or issue commands with your voice. You’ve probably used Siri to control a few basic functions of your Mac like adjusting the volume and changing the light levels, but with voice control, you may not need Siri for such tasks.

Voice control uses the voice recognition and processing engine built into Siri to deliver a great experience for Catalina.

The use of dictation and voice commands also offers more flexibility and is compatible with older and current versions of macOS.

How to start and use voice control on your Mac

If you are using the latest version of macOS Catalina on your Mac, use this introductory guide to control it using your voice.

Step 1: Activate voice control by clicking on menu> System> Preferences and select Accessibility.

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility

2nd step: In the sidebar, click Voice Control.

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control

Step 3: Click on Activate voice control. If this is your first time, you will get a single download from Apple with files selected for your language. Once activated, a floating microphone will appear on your screen representing the microphone selected in the voice control preferences.

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control activate

You can stop listening to Voice Control by clicking Sleep or by saying, “Go to sleep.” This will pause the service and when you are ready to use it again, click or say “Wake up”.

Note: When voice control is activated, you will not see the dictation option on the keyboard.

How to use voice control on your Mac

You can use voice control on all applications on your Mac, including email clients, dictation in word processors, email applications, etc.

You can click on the menu> System Preferences> Accessibility> Voice Control and click on Commands to familiarize yourself with the commands you can use. Otherwise, say “View orders” and review the list of available orders.

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control commands

The list of commands is context-based, so you may not find variations on this list. However, you can again access the Voice Control preferences and select Play sound when the command is recognized to find out if Voice Control heard what you said as a command.

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility list of voice control commands

In addition, you can search for or scroll through the default commands, or simply create custom commands for yourself. To do this, click + at the bottom left of the screen to create custom orders.

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control command list plus

Types of commands you can use with voice command on your Mac

Basic navigation controls

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control basic navigation

Voice control allows you to navigate by combining the names of many applications, commands or labels, and other screen elements that it recognizes with certain commands. For example, you can say “Open pages” then “Click on a new document” if you want to open a new document. To save it, say the “Save Document” command, and it will do everything for you.

You can also use your voice to activate dark mode, restart your Mac, or start a new message in Mail and also address it.

Number overlays

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control numbers overlay

Voice control recognizes certain parts of your Mac’s screen as clickable, such as check boxes, menus, and buttons. Number overlays allow you to quickly interact with these parts. To activate number overlays, simply say “Display numbers” and say the number to click on it.

It’s an easy way to interact with web pages and other complex interfaces. For example, in a web browser, you can say “Search Guidingtech” and use the number overlay to select a result by saying “Show numbers.” Click on 1. “

If you have to distinguish between items with similar names, voice control always displays numbers in these menus.

Grid overlays

Voice control how to use it mac accessibility voice control grid overlay

This is another feature that you can use to interact with parts of your Mac screen that have no control or are not recognized by voice command as clickable. To use it, say “Show grid” so you can see a numbered grid, and continue to narrow your selection by saying the number you want.

To hide the numbers on the grid, just say “Hide the numbers” or “Hide the grid” to hide the numbers and the grid.


This voice command function converts spoken words to text so that you can enter a message in a document, email, or other text field and dictate continuously. You can also dictate punctuation marks, emojis, symbols, and select, format, move, and delete text using commands.

By understanding contextual cues, voice control lets you seamlessly transition between commands and dictation. For example, you can dictate and send a message in the Messages app by saying something like, “I’m just around the corner. Click send. “

Note: Voice control also allows you to create your vocabulary for use with dictation.

Talk to your Mac

We hope you now know what voice control is and how to use this cool feature to get an exciting hands-on experience on your Mac. Try some of the commands and see how easy it is to do things without traditional input devices.


Tired of going back to the main account on Netflix just to find titles to play? You can now use Google Assistant to read the contents of your Netflix profile. Find out how in our next play.

Last updated Jan 31, 2020

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