Wondering how to enable text to speech on iPhone? We got you covered. We’ll see if there’s a better alternative to Apple’s built-in TTS function.
Since its release in 2007, iPhone has been massively successful. It’s Apple’s most popular product and remains one of the most desired smartphones globally. Apple has sold more than 2 billion iPhones so far. Judging by the demand for its newest release—iPhone 14 Pro—this number won’t stop growing anytime soon.
Such figures wouldn’t be possible if Apple didn’t cater to a wide variety of needs with its impressive accessibility features. Users can easily set up these features, letting them enjoy their smartphones despite vision, hearing, and learning disabilities.
Among the many features, iPhone’s text to speech reader stands out for its broad scope of use. Let’s see whether this built-in option is the best on the market.
What is text to speech?
As the name suggests, text to speech (TTS) tools read aloud digital texts, effectively converting text into spoken content. These tools are available across various devices, notably smartphones, tablets, and computers.
TTS tools primarily benefit children and adults with behavioral and learning disorders. With a click of a button, they can quickly go over texts that would otherwise require a lot of time and effort.
TTS software programs can help students at any stage of learning. It can be an invaluable tool for children learning to read, allowing them to overcome reading difficulties or disorders such as dyslexia.
For college students, TTS apps can be a lifesaver for converting notes and study materials into handy audio files that they can use on the go. Students can focus better and retain more information by listening to subjects instead of reading them.
This also applies to casual users who prefer listening rather than reading, as they can multitask and complete their daily to-do lists much more quickly.
Activating text to speech on iPhones
Activating Apple’s default text to speech feature on iOS devices is straightforward. These steps apply to all the iPhone releases running the latest mobile operating systems, including iOS 12, iOS 13, iOS 14, iOS 15, and iOS 16.
- Launch “Settings” from your home screen.
- Tap the “Accessibility” option.
- Go to “Spoken Content.”
Under Spoken Content, you can make several adjustments. Here’s a brief overview of every important modification:
- Speak Selection – allows you to hear the selected text by tapping the Speak button.
- Speak Screen – lets you hear what’s on the entire screen by swiping down from the top of the screen using two fingers.
- Speech Controller – displays a controller on your home screen, giving you quick access to the “Speak on Touch” and “Speak Screen” functions.
- Highlight Content – allows you to highlight words and sentences as they’re spoken. You can adjust the highlighting color and style.
- Typing Feedback – lets you configure the feedback you receive while using the onscreen keyboard. You can have iPhone say each character or entire word and offer auto-capitalization, auto-correction, and typing predictions.
- Voices – allows you to choose between different voices and dialects for the spoken content.
- Speaking Rate – lets you adjust the speech speed using a slider.
- Pronunciations – offers the possibility of inputting how you want specific phrases to be said. Simply tap the Dictation button resembling a microphone icon and say it correctly.
It’s also worth noting that you must enable spoken typing predictions by following these steps:
- Navigate to “Settings.”
- Select “General.”
- Go to “Keyboards.”
- Turn on the “Predictive” option.
To activate the TTS function, you can do any of the following:
- Say something like: “Speak screen” to Siri.
- Select the desired text and tap Speak.
- Swipe down using two fingers to hear what’s displayed on the entire screen.
- Touch and hold each typed-out word to hear typing feedback.
Using text to speech on iPhones
Regardless of why you need help with reading, Apple’s built-in TTS tool is a valuable addition to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.
You can easily read all text forms, including text messages and emails, using Speak Selection.
After you enable Speak Selection, make sure to activate the Speak Screen function. This way, you’ll be able to quickly read entire pieces of content, such as web pages and PDF files. While listening to the text, the pop-up control panel will allow you to adjust playback with the following functions:
- Speed up or slow down the reading
- Forward to the next word or line
- Rewind to the previous word or line
Speechify – The alternative to Apple’s text to speech software
Although the iPhone’s native text to speech reader is excellent, it isn’t the best option. That honor goes to the Speechify software for various reasons.
For starters, Speechify is available across various platforms, meaning you don’t have to install a separate app for each device you own. You can use Speechify on:
- Windows PC as a Chrome extension
- macOS as a Safari extension or Mac app
- Android devices
- iPhone or iPad
In addition, there’s almost no limit to the text formats you can read. However, unlike Apple, Speechify doesn’t limit you to digital text only. You can also convert images to spoken words, allowing you to navigate any document or instruction.
Another great feature is the possibility of converting text into speech. This way, you can listen to anything on the go, even when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. Plus, you can integrate the app with services like iCloud and Google Drive, allowing you to store all your audio files safely.
Finally, Speechify offers a wide selection of languages, making almost any reading content accessible. On top of that, you can also choose between many natural-sounding voices, including some celebrity choices.
Best of all, you can try Speechify for free and see how it outperforms other TTS tools.
Does text to speech work on iPhone?
Most Apple devices, including iPhones, have a built-in text to speech tool.
Why is my text to speech not working on iPhone?
If you can’t use the text to speech tool on your iPhone, you probably didn’t activate it correctly. Alternatively, there might be issues with the internet connection, third-party apps, or your phone’s speaker.
How do I fix text to speech on iPhone?
If you can’t use the text to speech function on your iPhone, the best course of action is to reset your phone to factory settings. Remember to back up all your data before attempting to do so. After resetting your phone, restore your iPhone from the backup and check if the TTS tool is working.