Apple’s Voice Technologies
What is the difference between VoiceOver™ and Voice Control™?
Here are answers to very common questions regarding Apple’s voice-related technologies:
Many users of Apple devices are unsure regarding the differences between the two built-in voice technologies in Apple systems: VoiceOver and Voice Control
According to Apple:
- VoiceOver is a built-in screen reader that describes aloud what appears on your device screen: it speaks the text that’s in documents and windows. VoiceOver enables users with visual disabilities to control their computer using a rich set of keyboard commands and gestures.
- Voice Control* offers an enhanced command and dictation experience. Users can traverse and control the entire screen with just their voices, giving them full access to every major function of the operating system.
When combined with an automation technology like Shortcuts, Voice Control provides an easy, fast mechanism for streamlining your Apple device interactions. And you can even execute VoiceOver commands using Voice Control!
This website is dedictated to providing you with the information and tools to enable you to easily customize and enhance your integration and use of the powerful Voice Control technology.
*Voice Control is not available in all areas and on all Apple software. Voice Control utilizes the Siri speech recognition engine for U.S. English only. Supported languages include Chinese (China mainland, Hong Kong), English (Australia, Canada, India, UK, U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Japanese (Japan), and Spanish (Mexico, Spain, U.S.).
What is the difference between Voice Control and Siri™?
Voice Control lets users control the entire device with spoken commands and specialized tools, while Siri is an intelligent assistant that lets users ask for information and complete everyday tasks using natural language. Voice Control offers comprehensive capabilities such as voice gestures, name and number labels, grid overlays, text editing commands, and deep customization, while Siri assists with setting reminders, making appointments, looking up directions, and learning game scores.
What can Voice Control do?
In addition to providing an extensive built-in library of navigation and control actions, Voice Control offers the ability to create custom voice-triggered commands that perform actions on the device.
On iOS (v14) and iPadOS (v14), custom Voice Control commands can:
- Insert Text
- Run a Custom Gesture
- Run a Shortcut (a Shortcuts App “workflow”)
- Playback a sequence of Recorded Commands
On macOS 12.3, custom Voice Control commands can:
- Open Finder items
- Open a URL
- Paste Text
- Paste Data
- Press a Keyboard Shortcut
- Select a specified menu command
- Run a Shortcuts workflow
- Run an Automator workflow (deprecated)
Regardless of the host device, custom Voice Control commands can have designated scope to be available either only within a specified application, or system-wide from within any application.
Apple Voice Control Support Documentation:
- Voice Control Tech Brief 2019 (PDF)
- Control your Mac and apps using Voice Control
- Use item number and grid overlays with Voice Control on Mac
- Create a custom vocabulary for Voice Control on Mac
- Change Voice Control preferences for accessibility on Mac
- Enable, disable, and create commands for Voice Control on Mac
- Use Voice Control on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- How to customize Voice Control commands on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
- Dictate messages and documents on Mac
- Commands for dictating text on Mac
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