How to enable Spoken Content on iPhone and iPadSource: Joseph Keller / iMore

For those with low or no vision, reading text on an iPhone or iPad can be difficult at best, if not downright impossible. Accessibility can help. There's a feature called Spoken Content that will read out words on a page, read out the whole page, and more. Here's how to use it!

How to enable Speak Selection

Speak Selection allows you to select bits of text on a screen to be read aloud to you.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.

    Enable Speak Selection showing how to open Settings, then tap AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Tap Spoken Content.
  4. Tap the switch next to Speak Selection.

    Enable Speak Selection showing how to tap Spoken Content, then tap the Speak Selection switchSource: iMore

How to use Speak Selection

  1. Navigate to the text you want read aloud.
  2. Tap and hold on the text and drag the highlight to surround all of the text you want read aloud if it's not all highlighted already.
  3. Tap the Speak button in the menu that pops up.

    Using Speak Selection showing how to find text that you want read, then tapping and holding on the text to highlight it, then tapping SpeakSource: iMore

How to enable Speak Screen

If you're into iBooks but have a hard time reading them on your phone, you can enable Speak Screen and it'll read out the entire screen to you. Here's how:

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  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.

    Enable Speak Screen, showing how to open Settings, then tap AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Tap Spoken Content.
  4. Tap the switch next to Speak Screen.

    Enable Speak Screen, showing how to  tap Spoken Content, then tap the Speak Screen switchSource: iMore

How to use Speak Screen

  1. Swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen.
  2. Tap the controls to manage, play/pause, skip forward, touch to speak, and playback speed.

    Use Speak Screen, showing how to swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen, then use the playback controlsSource: iMore

How to enable the Speech Controller

The speech controller is a control panel that lives on your screen that you can expand to help you control speech playback on your iPhone or iPad by playing speech, paushing it, skipping forward and back, or changing the speed.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Spoken Content.

    Enable Speech Controller, showing how to open Settings, then tap Accessibility, then tap Spoken ContentSource: iMore

  4. Tap Speech Controller.
  5. Tap the switch next to Show Controller to the green 'on' position.

    Enable Speech Controller, showing how to tap Speech Controller, then tap the Show Controller switchSource: iMore

  6. Tap Long Press or Double Tap.
  7. Tap None, Read All Content, or Speak on Touch under the Long Press or Double Tap menus to decide what either of these actions do when you're using the Speech Controller.

    Enable Speech Controller, showing how to tap Long Press or Double Tap, then tap the None, Read All Content, or Speak on Touch optionsSource: iMore

How to enable highlighted content with spoken text

As content is being read out to you, you can enable Highlight Content to highlight along as it reads.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Spoken Content.

    Enable highlight content with spoken text, showing how to open Settings, tap Accessibility, then tap Spoken ContentSource: iMore

  4. Tap Highlight Content.
  5. Tap the switch to turn it on.
  6. Tap Words, Sentences, or Words and Sentences to decide what kind of highlightd content should be spoken.

    Enable highlight content with spoken text, showing how to tap Highlight Content, then tap the Highlight Content switch, then tap Words, Sentences, or Words and SentencesSource: iMore

  7. Tap Underline or Background Color to designate the style of sentence highlight if you've selected either Sentences or Words and Sentences from the previous menu.
  8. Tap Word Color if it's available.
  9. Tap a color that you want highlighted words to be.

    Enable highlight content with spoken text, showing how to tap Underline or Background Color, then tap Word Color, then tap a colorSource: iMore

  10. Tap Back.
  11. Tap Sentence Color if it's available.
  12. Tap a color that you want highlighted sentences to be.

    Enable highlight content with spoken text showing how to tap Back, then tap Sentence Color, then tap a colorSource: iMore

How to manage typing feedback settings

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Spoken Content.

    Manage typing feedback, showing how to open Settings, then tap Accessibility, then tap Spoken ContentSource: iMore

  4. Tap Typing Feedback.
  5. Tap the swtiches to get voice feedback for Characters and Character Hints.
  6. Tap the + and - buttons to set how long character voice feedback should be delayed after you enter a character.

    Manage typing feedback, showing how to tap Typing Feedback, then tap switches for Characters and Character Hints, then tap the + or - buttons to change delay timingSource: iMore

  7. Tap the switch next to Speak Words to the green 'on' position if you want whole words to be spoken while you're typing.
  8. Tap the switch next to Speak Auto-text to the green 'on' position to have auto-corrections and auto-capitalizations spoken while you're typing.
  9. Tap the switch next to Hold to Speak Pronunciations to the green 'on' position to be able to tap and hold on an a typing prediction to have it spoken.

    Manage typing feedback, showing how to tap the switches for Speak Words, Speak Auto-text, and Hold to Speak PronunciationsSource: iMore

How to change the spoken content voice

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Spoken Content.

    Change spoken content voice showing how to open Settings, then tap Accessibility, then tap Spoken ContentSource: iMore

  4. Tap Voices.
  5. Tap the language you want to use.
  6. Tap a voice, or tap the download button to download a voice to your iPhone or iPad.

    Change spoken content voice, showing how to tap Voices, then tap a language to use, then tap a voice or download buttonSource: iMore

  7. Tap a voice that you've downloaded.
  8. Tap [Voice name] (Enhanced) to use the enhanced version of the downloaded voice, which generally has some volume enhancments so it's easier to hear.

    Change spoken content voice, showing how to tap a voice, then tap [Voice Name] (Enhanced)Source: iMore

How to change the speaking rate for spoken text

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.

    Change the speaking rate for spoken text, showing how to open Settings, then tap AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Tap Spoken Content.
  4. Tap and drag the slider left and right to decrease and increase the speaking rate. Left is slower; right is faster.

    Change the speaking rate for spoken text, showing how to tap Spoken Content, then drag the slider to adjust the speaking rateSource: iMore

How to add pronunciations

If you use spoken text for your email, but it always mispronounces a relative's name, you can add your preferred pronunciation.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Spoken Content.

    Add pronunciations, showing how to open Settings, then tap Accessibility, then tap Spoken ContentSource: iMore

  4. Tap Pronunciations.
  5. Tap the + button on the top right of your screen.
  6. Type in the phrase for which you would like to enter a pronunciation.

    Add pronunciations, showing how to tap Pronunciations, then tap the + button, then type the phraseSource: iMore

  7. Type in the pronunciation substitution or tap the dictation button to say it aloud. It's easier to say it aloud.
  8. Tap Languages if you need to choose from the available languages.
  9. Tap Voices to hear how each of the available voices would speak your word.

    Add pronunciation, showing how to type or dictate the pronunciation substitution, then tap Languages to pick a language, then tap Voices to choose which voices use this pronunciationSource: iMore

  10. Tap the switch next to Ignore case to the green 'on' position to have the word pronounced the same way no matter the case being used.
  11. Tap the switch next to Apply to all apps to the green 'on' position to have your pronunciations used across every app.
  12. Tap Play on the top right of your screen to preview the pronunciation.

    Add pronunciation, showing how to tap the Ignore Case and Apply to all apps switch, then tap PlaySource: iMore

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

Updated May 2020: Updated for iOS 13.

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