How to Get Your iPhone to Read On-Screen Text Aloud to You

Being able to hear written text on your phone read aloud to you can serve multiple purposes. If you have any type of impaired vision, it can certainly help in that regard. It’s also useful in settings where you don’t have the time nor capability to stare at your phone and read large blocks of text. Perhaps you want to treat whatever your reading as an audiobook of sorts.

Whatever the case may be, your iPhone is perfectly capable of reading nearly any text you select back to you. All you first need to do is enable this feature in Settings.

Turn on iPhone’s Speech Function

To turn on the iPhone’s speech function, open Settings.

Tap General. Then tap Accessibility.

Finally, under Vision, tap Speech.

(Alternatively, you could just open Settings, pull down from the top to reveal the search bar and start typing “speech” to find it.)

You have several options to enable here. Speak Selection just adds a button in the menu bar above text whenever you select it. Tapping the button will read the selected text out loud. If you enable Speak Selection in Settings, a new option appears to turn on highlighting content, which highlights the text as its read.

Speak Screen reads everything on your iPhone screen regardless of whether you selected it. When turned on, you activate this feature by swiping down from the top of the display with two fingers.

You can also enable typing feedback from the Speech settings, which will say out loud which letters you press as you press them. This is customizable to include whole words, auto-corrections and word predictions.

Below that, Voices just lets you change the voice of the speaker. You can optionally change the speaking rate to faster or slower as well as add in your own pronunciations for certain words and phrases if the speech function isn’t getting it quite right.

Using Text-to-Speech Once Enabled

After you’ve enabled speech in Settings. Just go to any block of text and press and hold to select it. Drag the beginning and end points to align with just the text you want to hear. When you’re done, the pop-up menu should appear with a new option: Speak.

Tap Speak to hear the selected text out loud. You can then hit Pause at any time to stop it if the selection is long-winded.

If you enabled Speak Screen, place two fingers above the display and drag down over it. The voice will start reading every piece of content on screen, even interpreting objects like on/off switches. Controls appear as well for this feature to adjust speaking rate, fast-forward or reward, or pause.

If you’re unhappy with the text-to-speech outcome, go back into the speech settings to alter the voice, speaking rate or pronunciations to your liking.