Alert for Apple Watch Dictation Users

I wanted to draw people’s attention to a change Apple has made to watchOS in the current 8.1 betas.

Starting in watchOS 8, the input window for dictation now also supports scribble and you can toggle between dictation and scribble. That’s great, no problem. On watchOS 8.0, as it is shipping, it remembers your last-used mode the next time the input window opens.

In the watchOS 8.1 beta, input always defaults to scribble. So to dictate on your watch, you always have to tap an additional time on a mic button at the bottom right.

I reported this issue to Apple (FB9685074) and have been told this is not a bug, but an intentional behavior change.

There are no APIs to control this behavior, so that means dictation with Drafts will always required at least two taps, instead of just one. Maybe not huge, but not convenient for capture - and the same will be true for any dictation (in Messages, etc.) on the watch if this change sticks.

I’m drawing attention to the change because I know it’s going to generate a lot of support tickets for me if it ships this way - so maybe there’s still time to change Apple’s mind about this before 8.1 ships. Please file Feedback in the Feedback Assistant if you feel strongly about this being a bad productivity change. You can mention my feedback for details (FB9685074).