There are many instances where hearing words is a lot more efficient, and safer, than reading text especially when it comes to using the iPhone everyday.
Apple’s “Siri” feature that comes preloaded with iOS allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to speak commands and have a spoken conversation in order to accomplish tasks such as setting a timer, an alarm, or asking about the weather.
But can your iPhone read text aloud? By adjusting an accessibility setting in iOS you can have your iPhone or iPad read any text that is present on the screen aloud to you so that you no longer need to read visually the text on the display.
The process is fairly easy to accomplish and can be done in seconds. Once the setting is switched on, the “speech-to-text” feature will automatically scan and read any text that is present on the screen. I dive in to show you how to break free from reading text and have your iPhone do it for you.
How to make iPhone’s iOS Read Text Aloud
By making a couple quick adjustment settings inside of the iPhone or iPad, having Siri read text aloud to you can be activated in no time at all.
Simply pull up “Settings” from the home screen page. Once in there find the “General Settings” tab and tap on it. Then go to Accessibility > Speech.
When you arrive at this screen you will see a number of options that you can toggle on and off based on your preferences. Feel free to play around with these as you get used to its speech capabilities and pick the ones you like best.
These speech toggles include features such as Speak Selection, which pulls up a button to speak a highlighted row of text on the iPhone, or Speak Screen, where with a swipe down of two fingers you will be able to hear the entire contents of the screen.
Each of them are powerful in their own ways, where Speak Selection is more of a manual process with more precise text-to-speech control, and Speak Screen is automatic in that it reads everything on the screen.
If you feel that Siri is reading text too fast or too slow there is also a Speaking Rate feature that adjusts the speed of text speech.
The Best Times to Use iPhone’s Text Read Feature
Once the speak selection or speak screen feature is activated, there is actually quite a few beneficial ways that you can use this through the daily busy-ness of life…
Have your iPhone Read Social Media Posts
Do you find yourself constantly reading social media posts to your family and friends to keep them up to date?
With text-to-speech on the iPhone, there is no more need to speak what is on the screen anymore. Just highlight the post with a tap and slide or swipe down with two fingers and voila, you now have your iPhone reading all the latest updates for everyone to hear.
Listen away as text is being spoken to you while working out
Some people enjoy reading while they are working out at home or at the gym, however it is also common for others to find it jarring or more difficult to read text while running around.
This would be the perfect time to pull up the speak screen feature. Simply swipe down with two fingers or highlight a big block of text and have your iPhone or iPad read away as you hit that next workout milestone.
Multitask Like a Pro While Doing Chores
Do you find yourself doing chores around the house and discovering that you don’t have the time to read anything on your iPhone? Now you can have Siri read text aloud while doing those chores so that you can multitask like a boss.
Bonus Tip: pair your iPhone with some bluetooth headphones, like the Powerbeats Pro that we reviewed in-depth in this article, or a wireless speaker so that you no longer have to worry about having the handset near you at all times.
5 Great Examples Where iPhone can Read Text Aloud
Now hopefully I’ve given you some cool ideas about when exactly to use this nifty speech feature on the iPhone and iPad. But there is also some great places inside iOS where it can read text aloud best. Here are 5 great examples of where I’ve found text read works best:
- Map Directions
- PDF files
- News Articles
1. Map Directions
GPS map applications like Waze, Apple Maps, and Google Maps can automatically tell us the next upcoming direction out loud, for example, “in a quarter of a mile turn right”, or “exit at 103B”.
But sometimes it’s handy to hear what the next handful of directions are in the list so that we a sense can be taken of how many turns are remaining or when driving out in the middle of nowhere. With speak screen you can now have your iPhone read the list out loud to you while keeping your eyes on the road.
To activate this feature go in to the page of your favorite maps app that shows the entire list of directions that remain for the trip. Then simply swipe down with two fingers. Sit back and relax as it reads out all the details for you.
It is becoming increasingly common for the average person to be bombarded with dozens of important emails every single day.
Now instead of taking the time to visually read each email, save the headache and swipe down with two fingers so that your iPhone reads the email out loud for you. Easy!
This also frees up extra precious time for productivity to multitask other projects to be accomplished like reading other documents or scheduling meetings.
3. PDF Files
Did you know that your iPhone or iPad can also read PDF files out loud to you?
PDF files are everywhere now, in social media, work projects, and email attachments. Having them read aloud is now easier than ever.
Highlight an important section of the text in the PDF like in other situations or swipe down with two fingers and now the file will be spoken without having to visually read them.
This one’s great especially while driving or working out.
Now that the speak screen feature is activated on your iPhone, simply pull up your favorite book from the Kindle or Apple’s Books app and swipe down with two fingers to have the page be read aloud to you.
Remember to swipe on to the next book page when it’s done reading the first page.
5. News Articles
There is absolutely no shortage of news apps out there for the iPhone, and scanning through them can take more than just a couple hours in the morning.
Instead of relying on that coffee buzz to truck through all those news updates, highlight the text or swipe the whole screen down with two fingers and have the iPhone read it all for you.
This is very similar to listening to a podcast or asking a smart home speaker to read the news for you, but its still extremely common to come across text-based news articles on the iPhone. This is where the read text feature works best.
Don’t Forget About Speech to Text
Although having an iPhone or iPad read text aloud has been a feature since iOS 5, many people still do not know about it to this day.
The same can be said about the reverse! Did you know that the iPhone also listens to speech and translates it into text?
Apple’s speech to text feature is even easier to activate than its read text counterpart, and it’s also built in to the software out of the box.
Go to your keyboard anywhere you are about to type something and find the microphone logo button on the lower right hand corner of the screen. Once you tap that button it will begin listening to your speech (signified by wavy lines).
When you are done speaking the text tap anywhere on the wavy line and the speech will automatically begin being translated into text by the iPhone. This feature is extremely convenient for those that are not used to typing or prefer speaking out load instead.