Offline Speech Recognition In Android (JellyBean)


It looks as though Google has made offline speech recognition available from Google Now for third-party apps. It is being used by the app named Utter.

Has anyone seen any implementations of how to do simple voice commands with this offline speech rec? Do you just use the regular SpeechRecognizer API and it works automatically?

This question is tagged with android speech-recognition offline speech-to-text google-now

~ Asked on 2013-07-12 14:14:10

The Best Answer is


Google did quietly enable offline recognition in that Search update, but there is (as yet) no API or additional parameters available within the SpeechRecognizer class. {See Edit at the bottom of this post} The functionality is available with no additional coding, however the user’s device will need to be configured correctly for it to begin working and this is where the problem lies and I would imagine why a lot of developers assume they are ‘missing something’.

Also, Google have restricted certain Jelly Bean devices from using the offline recognition due to hardware constraints. Which devices this applies to is not documented, in fact, nothing is documented, so configuring the capabilities for the user has proved to be a matter of trial and error (for them). It works for some straight away – For those that it doesn't, this is the ‘guide’ I supply them with.

  1. Make sure the default Android Voice Recogniser is set to Google not Samsung/Vlingo
  2. Uninstall any offline recognition files you already have installed from the Google Voice Search Settings
  3. Go to your Android Application Settings and see if you can uninstall the updates for the Google Search and Google Voice Search applications.
  4. If you can't do the above, go to the Play Store see if you have the option there.
  5. Reboot (if you achieved 2, 3 or 4)
  6. Update Google Search and Google Voice Search from the Play Store (if you achieved 3 or 4 or if an update is available anyway).
  7. Reboot (if you achieved 6)
  8. Install English UK offline language files
  9. Reboot
  10. Use utter! with a connection
  11. Switch to aeroplane mode and give it a try
  12. Once it is working, the offline recognition of other languages, such as English US should start working too.

EDIT: Temporarily changing the device locale to English UK also seems to kickstart this to work for some.

Some users reported they still had to reboot a number of times before it would begin working, but they all get there eventually, often inexplicably to what was the trigger, the key to which are inside the Google Search APK, so not in the public domain or part of AOSP.

From what I can establish, Google tests the availability of a connection prior to deciding whether to use offline or online recognition. If a connection is available initially but is lost prior to the response, Google will supply a connection error, it won’t fall-back to offline. As a side note, if a request for the network synthesised voice has been made, there is no error supplied it if fails – You get silence.

The Google Search update enabled no additional features in Google Now and in fact if you try to use it with no internet connection, it will error. I mention this as I wondered if the ability would be withdrawn as quietly as it appeared and therefore shouldn't be relied upon in production.

If you intend to start using the SpeechRecognizer class, be warned, there is a pretty major bug associated with it, which require your own implementation to handle.

Not being able to specifically request offline = true, makes controlling this feature impossible without manipulating the data connection. Rubbish. You’ll get hundreds of user emails asking you why you haven’t enabled something so simple!

EDIT: Since API level 23 a new parameter has been added EXTRA_PREFER_OFFLINE which the Google recognition service does appear to adhere to.

Hope the above helps.

~ Answered on 2013-07-16 10:52:36


I would like to improve the guide that the answer sends to its users, with images. It is the sentence "For those that it doesn't, this is the ‘guide’ I supply them with." that I want to improve.

The user should click on the four buttons highlighted in blue in these images:

Go to your Android Application Settings, select Languages and input, edit Settings of Google Voice typing, select Download Offline speech recognition, select your languages in the ALL tab.

Then the user can select any desired languages. When the download is done, he should disconnect from network, and then click on the "microphone" button of the keyboard.

It worked for me (android 4.1.2), then language recognition worked out of the box, without rebooting. I can now dictates instructions to the shell of Terminal Emulator ! And it is twice faster offline than online, on a padfone 2 from ASUS.

These images are licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required to ; you may hence add these images anywhere along with this attribution.

(This the standard policy of all images and texts at

~ Answered on 2014-01-24 10:09:59

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