The Reason Why Siri’s Dictation Key on the iPhone 4S is Dark or Light Grey


If you haven’t figured it out already, iOS 5 enables native support for the Emoji keyboard (instead of previously downloading an app, or installing a tweak from Cydia), to allow users access to the plethora of neat little emoticons. To do so, just go to:

General–>International–>Keyboards–>Add New Keyboard–>Emoji

After you’ve added the Emoji keyboard, or any other keyboard, you’ll notice Siri’s dictate key beside the spacebar changes from dark to light grey. What’s up with this change in colour?


After discussing with a friend over the matter, we experienced a classic Apple ‘surprise and delight’ moment. The reason for this is Apple has made the dictate icon an extension of the space bar, to compensate for the addition of the new ‘globe’ icon to access additional keyboards.

Try it out yourself. When you’re typing quickly, the light grey dictate key becomes the space bar. If you pause or hesitate your speed ever so slightly, magically, it morphs back to the dictate key again.



  • Anonymous

    It’s Magical!

  • Anonymous

    It’s Magical!

  • Ex

    Yup. A+

  • Ex

    Yup. A+

  • Prybar

    I have emoji enabled (although I ran the free app from the store, not realizing it was incorporated) and the key is light grey, but never changes to the space bar….odd??

  • You need to type faster.

  • Prybar

    I have hit those keys as fast as humanly possible to no avail. I wonder if the fact I used the emoji enabler plays a role???

  • Could be. Delete it and try again. Maybe even restart afterwards.

  • Prybar

    The problem is, the app is long gone. Once it is enabled, the app goes. If I ever have to restore, I’ll see what happens.

    Just a strange anomaly I guess. 🙂

  • AndrewPostma369

    The appearance of the space bar and the dictation icon doesn’t change but if you hit the dictation icon while you’re typing it acts as a spacebar.

  • Loving how the screenshots don’t show this. I saw it on Tumblr and the pictures make no sense. Maybe a video would help explain this?

  • Marfil San

    An animation of Siri button fussing with the spacebar would make it more discoverable.

    Still, that’s a lot of attention to detail by Apple. Honestly, my first thought on Siri was: the spacebar is going to be very small if you enable multiple languages.

  • I wish they had done this for the keyboard switching button too. I’ve always had trouble with accidentally tapping it and getting my language switched (which messes up the dictionary for auto-correct).

  • It happens so quickly it’d be hard to show. Essentially, when typing quickly tapping the dictation key also acts as the space bar. 

  • it would be awesome if for switching keyboards you could swipe left or right with two fingers : )))))) i have 4 keyboards and typing globe 3 times is not the nicest thing :/

  • Hm, if someone could record the screen if they have an app it would be possible (probably only Jailbroken iPhones only)

  • Jphg

    OK. thanks. But: how can i deactivate the dictate button ? while keeping Siri active.

  • Anonymous

    Hold the button and swipe up 😉

  • Actually, if you use no extra keyboards and hit dictate while quickly typing, it still acts as the spacebar.

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  • Mr.Sparkle

    This is why I buy Apple products.

  • I see it as something that shouldn’t be discovered. It’s just one of those ‘it just works’ moments that Apple is known for. – You miss the spacebar slightly while you’re typing? No biggie, your iPhone knows what you meant.

  • I think the author is mixing up the word ‘brilliant’ with ‘fucking annoying button that can’t be turned off without completely disabling Siri’?