Apple Watch dictation timeout testing help!

[UPDATE: Apple has addressed this dictation issue in watchOS 7b3. So, expect that it will work properly in the final release on watchOS 7 this fall]

I’m trying to collect some data to file a bug report with Apple regarding watchOS handling of dictation timeouts. I’d appreciate it if Apple Watch users could help me out by testing on their devices.

Background on the Issue

Dictation on watchOS is implemented by the system. Third party apps, like Drafts, do not have much visibility into this process, they just ask for text input, and get it back when the user completes the process (whether via dictation, or scribbling, etc.).

Dictation is limited to about 30-45 seconds. This is the current issue. Based on a support issue, and my own testing, if you start dictation on watchOS, and keep dictating up to the 30-45 second timeout, watchOS just hangs. No haptic or other indication that a timeout has occurred. You see the text you dictated up to that point, and have a “Cancel” and completion button (which may be “Done”, or “Send” or something else depending on the app you are in). If you tap “Cancel” you can get on with your life, but the dictated text is thrown away. If you tap the “Done” button, that button just disappears and nothing happens. So your only option is to then “Cancel” and dispose of your text.

I know this used to work, and am not sure how long it has been broken. The timeout has always been there, but the “Done” button used to work to save your text - and I believe, if memory serves, there was some kind of haptic to let you know the timeout happened, but I’m not sure about that.


I have tested and confirmed this bug on Apple Watch Series 5 running watchOS 6.1.2. I would like to know if others can reproduce, and if the same issues exists on other watchOS versions, if anyone is running those…so, if you can help, do the following:

  • Open Drafts on your Apple Watch
  • Tap the microphone to start dictating. Keep dictating for 30+ seconds until you hit the timeout.
  • Is the dictation interface stuck as described above, only allowing you to “Cancel” and throw away the text, or can you tap “Done”?
  • Try the same in other watch apps that let you input text. I have reproduces in Messages, Bear, and a few others. It’s system wide for me.

Please then report the follow here:

  • Did you reproduce the issue? Y or N
  • watchOS version
  • Apple Watch model
  • Apps you reproduced the issue in.

Technical Note

For the developer/technical, this issue is triggered by use of WKInterfaceController.presentTextInputController(withSuggestions:allowedInputMode:completion:).

I just tested with Drafts, Omnifocus and Messages. The first two failed exactly as you describe. With Messages the dictation still failed but I got

“Dictation Failed
Apple Watch was
unable to take

Rather than just losing the ‘Done’ button. Cancel remained active as per the other apps.

Apple Watch Series 5 LTE
watchOS 6.1.2



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Same as Dave. I tested in Drafts, Messages, and Todoist. Had the same outcome and message in Messages. I’m on a Series 4 GPS on 6.1.2

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I have a Series 3 running 6.1.2.

In my first test, Drafts took dictation for quite a while and then stopped transcribing, although the little bouncing levels graphic at the bottom was still visible, as was the Done button. I tapped the Done button and the transcribed text was saved to a new draft.

On subsequent tests, the behavior was exactly as Greg described. The graphic disappeared when the transcription timed out, and I couldn’t save the transcript.

I suspect that on my first try a different bug preceded the one we’re testing for, interfering with the timeout and allowing me to save as if I were still in the middle of a dictation session.

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Hey, you’re suppose to help me pin this bug down, not find new ones. :wink:


Mixed results for me. Drafts worked well, but Apple’s own apps not so much.

Watch Info

OS: 6.1.2 (17S796)
Model: MU6D2TY/A, A1978 = 44mm, Series 4 (GPS)

(Apple) Mail

Issue Reproduced: Yes - text lost.
Recording Time: 54 seconds


Issue Reproduced: No - draft successfully created on done
Recording Time: 49 seconds

Issue Reproduced: No - draft successfully created on done
Recording Time: 47 seconds

Issue Reproduced: No - draft successfully created on done
Recording Time: 58 seconds

(Apple) Reminders

Issue Reproduced: Yes - text lost
Recording Time: 44 seconds

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  • Did you reproduce the issue? Y
  • watchOS version 6.1.3
  • Apple Watch model 5
  • Apps you reproduced the issue in. Drafts after about a minute.
    Same symptoms as described.


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  • Did you reproduce the issue? Yes
  • WatchOS version: 6.1.2
  • Apple Watch model - Series 5, A2093
  • Apps: Drafts and while replying to a WhatsApp within WatchOS itself.

This has occurred a few times across various apps but I can’t remember which ones as this was prior to seeing this post.

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I see this topic has run it’s course. However, I would just add that JustPressRecord does not have this issue. I use JPR when I’m frustrated by timeouts.

Do note that run it’s course was run it’s course over two years ago and related to a specific intermittent issue.

Also note that Just Press Record (which I also use) does not dictate direct to Drafts in the way that Drafts itself does.

  • Did you reproduce the issue? Yes
  • WatchOS version: 6.2.6
  • Apple Watch model - Series 4, A1978
  • Apps: Drafts and while creating a note

Have not updated this for a while…

Apple has acknowledged the existing of this bug, and promised to get a fix into watchOS soon. I imagine in watchOS 7 when it ships this Fall.

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Thanks. That’ll be good to see.

Appreciate you coming back to me on this.

[UPDATE: Apple has addressed this dictation issue in watchOS 7b3. So, expect that it will work properly in the final release on watchOS 7 this fall]

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Hi all, afraid I’ve just been inconvenienced by this with a series 7 Apple Watch running watch os 8.

Dictation via the drafts app on the watch timed out and I lost the text I had dictated when I tapped “done”.

Very disappointing, is there a work around or do I not bother dictating to the watch?



I have not seen this issue in newer versions of watchOS. Just did a little testing here, and the timeout is there, but I haven’t lost any text. The watch just stops listening for additional input (without providing any feedback, sadly).

Not sure what you are trying to dictate, but it is absolutely true that the Watch is not suited to long dictation sessions. It works great for quick, one-off ideas, tasks, etc., you want to capture, but if you are planning to dictate anything longer, you should plan to use your phone instead.