Amazon removes voice dictation for on-screen keyboard from most Fire TV models [Update: It’s coming back soon]

The latest round of software updates for most Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions has overhauled the look and feel of Alexa’s visual responses and has even added some new functionality that makes the voice assistant more useful. Those improvements have come at a cost because they’ve also disabled the ability to use voice dictation for the on-screen keyboard.

A little less than a year ago, Amazon pushed out software update 5.2.6.0 to all Fire TV devices that added the ability to speak into the voice remote to dictate the text you wanted to enter into the on-screen keyboard. It was surely among the most highly requested features by Fire TV owners, so it was very well received. While the new capability had a few issues, such as not working in apps that used a custom on-screen keyboard instead of the default Fire TV on-screen keyboard, it was great to speed up tedious text input in most scenarios.

Unfortunately, the new 5.2.6.6 software update that is currently rolling out to all older Fire TV models and the 6.2.5.3 software update that was pushed out to the newer Fire TV 3 (pendant) have disabled the ability to use your voice in place of the on-screen keyboard. Pressing the microphone button on the Alexa voice remote while the default Fire TV keyboard is on the screen now just makes a standard Alexa request, just as it used to do prior to the addition of keyboard voice dictation.

The only device that I know for sure still has keyboard voice dictation is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. I do not know if the feature has also been removed from the newer Toshiba Fire TV Edition televisions, or if it was ever available in the first place, but all other Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition models no longer have keyboard voice dictation.

I’ve reached out to Amazon to see if the loss of keyboard voice dictation on older Fire TV models is a temporary consequence of the updated Alexa interface that will be restored at a later date, but I have not yet received a response. I will post an update if I receive any additional information.

Update

Amazon has informed me that removing keyboard voice dictation was not their intention. They said they’re looking into restoring the functionality as soon as possible.

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6 comments
  1. MikeS says:

    One step forward and two steps back.

  2. Charlie says:

    I have the Toshiba, but barely use any Alexa function. If I might post problem with the TV: When on the fireTV homepage the TV turns off much earlier than you would expect. You can pause a show, walk away for a bit, and come back and the TV is off. Other inputs stay awake as long as you want (i.e. Roku).

  3. OG Charlie says:

    Glad to hear it was a mistake. Voice dictation is the main thing that makes the web browser useable.

  4. Ulises A. Rodriguez, Ph.D. says:

    Thanks God it was a mistake!

    I really hope Amazon will restore this functionality as soon as possible.

  5. Ghanshyam says:

    How do I use the voice dictation feature? Is there documentation on it? Or when keyboard is on, I press the voice button and say the letters?

    • AFTVnews says:

      While the onscreen keyboard is open, just press and hold the mic button on the remote and speak what you want to be typed. You can say words and don’t need to say letters.

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