30th Jun 2016
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How to make your phone read to you
older woman having her iphone read to her

If you have a difficult time reading on your smart device, you can have your phone do it for you. Text-to-speech capabilities on smart devices may not be quite as fluent as a regular human speaking voice, but the technology has come a long way and will improve with each update. Here’s how to make your Apple or Android device read to you.

On your iPhone / iPad:

Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’, then scroll down and tap ‘Accessibility’ > ‘Speech’, then tap ‘Speak Selection’.

Now that the ‘Speak Selection’ feature is turned on you can select a slab of text and press the ‘Speak’ button and your phone will read it to you.

You can also have your phone read you the entire contents of a screen. Here’s how to do it:

Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’, then scroll down and tap ‘Accessibility’ > ‘Speech’, then tap ‘Speak Screen’.

Once you have ‘Speak Screen’ turned on, your phone can read to you anything that appears on your screen. To try it out, head to your favourite website or app and when you’re ready, use two fingers and swipe down from the top of your screen.

If the speaking voice is too rapid, simply go back to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’, then scroll down and tap ‘Accessibility’ > ‘Speech’, then look for the slider with a turtle at the left and a rabbit to the right. Slide left to slow the speaking voice, or right to speed it up. You can also select from a range of English-speaking voices with different accents. To do this, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘General’, then scroll down and tap ‘Accessibility’ > ‘Speech’, then tap ‘Voices’. From here, you can choose alternative voice styles or, if you’d prefer, you can select a foreign language speaking voice from the many available.

On your Android device:

Your Android device can also read to you, but as there are so many makes and models, there is no easy way to explain the process. What we can do though, is point you in the right direction.

Here's a tutorial for using text-to-speech on a Samsung device. And if your device doesn't have Google text-to-speech, you can find it at Google Play, which also has a few more handy text-to-speech that you can find here.

Text-to-speech capabilities on smart devices may not be as fluent as a regular human speaking voice, but this technology has come a long way and will improve with each update.

Do you have a use for text-to-speech technology? Would you be inclined to use it now that you know of it?

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