Jun 15

I am starting an FAQ about dragon for users who would like to keep their current version of Dragon going for as long as they can. (Dragon have closed down all their technical support, including their old forums.) Read on for details.

Ten years ago Dragon finally arrived on the Apple Macintosh platform. It was the first ever usable speech recognition engine for Macintosh and a very exciting day for those Who had struggled through the days of Philips dictate and IBM ViaVoice! Since then Dragon has slowly but surely improved, with better accuracy and better stability with every release.

In the last couple of years however, Dragon seemed to falter. It became harder and harder for them to develop on the Apple platform. Not long before they stopped developing their Apple product a senior developer from Nuance contacted me to speak about their growing frustration with Apple. He had two lawyers in the room and was very limited to what he could say, I assume it was because of fear of being sued by Apple. I have heard this story again and again from developers who are trying to work with active. And I have sadly watched Nuance’s growing frustration with Apple that finally led them to stop supporting the OSX version of Dragon last year.

This is indeed a sad say, not just because of the loss of speech recognition but because this goes against everything Apple stood for. Steve Jobs was an advocate for the advancement of all kinds of creative technologies. I do not believe he would have allowed this to happen under his watch without either buying Nuance out or developing their own version of Siri used for dictation. But as it stands, there is no longer a version of Dragon for OSX being developed. Given the level of difficulty that Apple have caused Nuance, it seems unlikely that it will return anytime soon. This is the end. All we have left is the possibility of keeping our current version going as long as we can. (Or switching to a PC so as to have access to Dragon again.)

Will Dragon work with Catalina?

Yes the latest version of Dragon is 64 bit and works fine with Catalina. In fact, ironically, Dragon 6.0.8 Running under Catalina is the most stable version of Dragon that I have ever owned! So if you already have Dragon installed you can upgrade to Catalina and it should keep working.

I currently have Dragon version 6 working on my 2015 MacBook Pro as well as my 2018 Mac Mini, both running Catalina.

Can I still install a new version of Dragon on my computer?

Yes, but you need an existing serial number to activate it. Dragon’s registration database is broken. They are unable to add new serial numbers. So the only chance you have of getting your new working version of Dragon on your computer is to buy a second hand version and use the serial number that was already registered with Dragon. But make sure that the old computer is removed from the Dragon database to allow you to register the new one.

If I buy a new computer can I transfer my version of Dragon across to it from my old computer?

The activation engine is still working in Catalina. Dragon technical support are saying that it no longer works in Catalina but I was able to verify that it does work (see the screenshot below that I just took today – June 2020).

This means that you can deactivate your version of Dragon on one computer and then activate it using the same serial number on a different computer. I have done this multiple times and can confirm that it works. If anyone finds that this stops working please let me know!

You can activate your version, but when you get to this screen below you will have to do skip because the registration does not work.

Dragon Registration is still working in Catalina

How many different computers can I have my version of Dragon activated on?

I have Dragon activated on 2 of my computers – my laptop and my desktop. I tried to install it on a new laptop that I purchased and it would not activate until I went into my old laptop and deactivated it there. This leads me to believe that you can have it running on up to 2 computers at once.

It is possible that I deleted Dragon from various computers and I forgot to deactivate them first. This means that my activation is lost forever – I cannot recover them. So it may work on 3 or more computers, but I could not activate it on a third computer I could only use two.

If I have lost my old computer – can I get my serial number reset?

No. If you happen to sell your computer with it still connected to your Dragon account or your computer dies and you are unable to de-activate it, it is stuck forever. This is even the case if you formatted the hard drive and deleted dragon from the computer. One of your Dragon activations is still locked to the serial number of that computer. Unless you go in and deactivate Dragon on that computer, it is locked to that computer forever.

I rang Dragon to talk to them about this. I accidentally reformatted my hard drive and sold my laptop without deactivating Dragon first. Dragon no longer have access to the registration database. When they were still operating they were able to go into the database and reset your number of activations to zero again so that Dragon would stop working on your old computers but work on your new ones. But Dragon technical support told me that their database is not accessible to them so if you happen to lose your computer your Dragon activation is gone with it.

For this reason, if you want to continue you to use Dragon, you need to be very careful about your activations. If your computer looks like it is dying or if you plan on selling it make sure you deactivate your Dragon first so that you can use it in another computer.

How do I deactivate my Dragon serial number?

The Dragon serial number is linked to the computer that you activated on. The only way that you can deactivate it is by opening Dragon on that computer and selecting ‘Licence’ then ‘Deactivate.’

Make sure you deactivate Dragon before you dispose of your computer or sell it.

How do I install Dragon onto to a new computer?

The best ways to make sure that you have a copy of your original Dragon installer. So the best way is just to run the installer.

If for any reason that does not work you can copy the files across manually and they still work.

  • The Dragon application is in the applications folder of your computer.
  • The Speech engine data and licence key is in
    Library/Application Suppport/Dragon
  • All your personal settings including commands and profiles are in
    ~Library/Application Support/Dragon

Whichever way you do it, using the installer or copying the files across manually, you will still need to activate the program when you first run it. This means you will need your serial number.

Is Siri or Google Dictate a good replacement for Dragon?

Siri and Google Dictate are remarkable pieces of software but they are not dictation software like Dragon was. This is because they do not adapt themselves personally to your voice. There is no way to correct their mistakes and train them to your own voice. Siri and Google Dictate are extremely versatile and have very high accuracy, in fact I would say that they are as good as Dragon is when Dragon first comes out of the box.

The problem is with Dragon, when it makes a mistake, if you correct it, it remembers that for ever and dictates it correctly the next time. Apple dictation (based on Siri) does not do this, nor does Google Dictate. They may adapt themselves to your voice, I am not sure, but they do not have their own trainable dictionaries based on your corrections and for this reason they continued to repeatedly make the same mistakes over and over again. There is no mechanism to correct them and train them like you do with Dragon.

Currently the only workable speech recognition for Apple is to run your old version of Dragon. I am so thankful that it was 64-bit compatible and continues to work with Catalina. Let’s hope that it keeps working for a little while longer.

If you have any further questions or comments or feedback please leave them in a comment below. It would be great to keep this document is updated for Dragon users.

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