MacOS built-in text to speech vs. Speechify

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"speechify is giving me the ounce of hope I needed to stay in college "
"Speechify has saved my academic career! If you're a student that struggles with reading comprehension or is a primarily auditory learner, get Speechify for school. You can scan any book and it will read it to you (works for online stuff as well). Thank you"
"For all you learners out there there is an app called Speechify that will turn pretty much any digital article, book, etc into an audio book or quick listen for you. It’s an absolutely game changer and I’m not even getting paid to tweet this. @Speechify_audio - For all you learners out there there is an app called Speechify that will turn pretty much any digital article, book, etc into an audio book or quick listen for you. It’s an absolutely game changer and I’m not even getting paid to tweet this. @Speechify_audio - "
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“If you do a lot of reading of briefs, books, presentations, coursework, transcripts, reports, etc, I *highly recommend @Speechify_audio. 📚 #ProductivityHacks - ”
“Thank you @Speechify_audio for actually changing my life right now! I am finally processing journal articles without wanting to cry/ breakdown - Victoria Williamson #ActuallyAutistic #XR ”

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"With Speechify’s API, we can offer our users a new and accessible way to consume our content. We’ve seen that readers who choose to listen to articles with Speechify are on average 20% more engaged than users who choose not to listen."
— Kate Marfori
Product Manager at The Star Tribune

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MacOS built-in text to speech vs. Speechify

Text to speech (TTS) is an assistive read-aloud technology that helps people with various disabilities learn more efficiently. You have plenty of options for TTS, especially if you use a Mac. The macOS built-in TTS and Speechify are two of them. This article will compare the platforms.

What is the macOS built-in text to speech?

MacOS uses its VoiceOver program to provide TTS. This integrated screen reader reads the content on your display out loud, whether in various windows or in documents.

There are several ways to open VoiceOver on your MacBook:

  • Strike the “Command + F5” key combination if VoiceOver is enabled. Press the shortcut again to turn it off.

  • Tell Siri to turn VoiceOver on.

  • If you have Touch ID on your keyboard, hold your command button while quickly pressing the Touch ID three times.

  • Go to the Apple menu, followed by “System Settings” and “Accessibility” in your sidebar. Click “VoiceOver” in the right section of the screen and activate it.

What is Speechify?

Speechify is one of the best text to speech apps on the market, with many high-quality features that help you learn and read faster. It’s specifically designed for people with dyslexia, ADHD, and other disabilities to help them cope with their disorders, but anyone can benefit from Speechify.

This application programming interface, or API, reads any text aloud using AI-generated speech. It also features optical character recognition (OCR) to transform physical books into audiobooks and podcasts. Moreover, it can read text from images, such as pictures of traffic signs.

Speechify vs. macOS TTS

Let’s take a look at how macOS TTS compares to Speechify:

Platform availability

Platform availability isn’t the strongest suit of macOS TTS. Besides your Mac, you can only use it on other iOS mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads.

In contrast, you can use Speechify on all major platforms, including iOS and Android gadgets. It also works as a Chrome extension and is compatible with other web browsers, like Safari.

Keyboard shortcuts

MacOS VoiceOver has numerous keyboard shortcuts that let you navigate written text faster. You can enter them by simultaneously holding the Option and Control keys and other buttons. These are known as the VoiceOver or VO keys.

You can assign VO commands for trackpad gestures, braille input keys, keyboard keys, and numeric keypad buttons. This allows you to use TTS features with fewer strokes.

Here are some of the most useful macOS VoiceOver shortcuts:

  • VO-F1—Application summary that describes the app that’s currently active

  • VO-F2—Window summary that describes active windows

  • VO-F5—The focus of your mouse pointer

  • VO-F6—Currently selected item, like text files or folder

  • VO-Command-F3—The size of the item in your VoiceOver cursor

Speechify has just as many shortcuts that let you use the software more quickly. For instance, you can press the “Alt + A” combination after highlighting the desired text to get the software to start speaking. Then, you can press “Alt + Q” to pause or resume your listening.

There are shortcuts for slowing down and speeding up your speech, too. Hold your “Alt” key to accelerate the selected text and press “D” as many times as necessary to reach the desired reading speed. Hold the “Alt” button to slow it down and press “S” until the speech is slow enough.


MacOS VoiceOver is available in more than 30 different languages. Besides English, there are also Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Finish, French, Russian, and many other languages available.

As for Speechify, this text to speech tool is available in 19 languages. Here are some of them:

Quality and quantity of natural-sounding voices

There are many admirable features of macOS VoiceOver/TTS reader, but the platform doesn’t have HD natural-sounding voices. It comes with only a few default voices, and you need to download the rest. The macOS VoiceOver voices sound robotic at times.

Conversely, Speechify offers more than 130 natural-sounding voices. The playbacks sound incredibly lifelike and allow for various customization options. For instance, you can change the pitch, tone, rate, and other speech synthesis features to create an immersive experience.

Compatible file formats

MacOS VoiceOver can read content from various sources. This includes Microsoft Word, PDFs, and some web pages.

In contrast, you can upload almost anything and convert it to audio files on Speechify. There’s a huge number of supported formats: 

When used as a Chrome or Safari browser extension, it can read text from any website aloud, including Amazon, Facebook, and Wikipedia.

Ease of use

Both platforms are easy to use. They have intuitive interfaces that let you start your recording with shortcuts or a few clicks.

Speechify is especially convenient, both online and offline. You need only enter the text and press “Play” to start your recording. The text to speech software will highlight your content to help you keep up.

Try Speechify for macOS for free

Speechify is a match made in heaven for all operating systems, including iOS. It’s available on the App Store, so try it on your macOS for free today.


Is there a better TTS app than Speechify?

Many popular TTS apps like NaturalReader and Voice Dream Reader exist, but many widely regard Speechify as the best platform.

Is there a Speechify app for Mac?

Speechify has a desktop app for Mac computers.

What is the best text to speech voice app on Mac?

The best TTS voice app for Mac is Speechify. It’s compatible with numerous formats and is incredibly easy to use.

Does Mac have built in text to speech?

Mac has built-in TTS, known as macOS VoiceOver.

What are some of the benefits of text to speech?

Text to speech can improve reading comprehension and productivity by allowing you to listen at an appropriate rate.

Is there a way to improve the text to speech voice on Mac?

You can enhance your TTS experience on Mac with keyboard shortcuts. The VO-K combination launches the Help menu, where you can find many helpful tutorials.

Which text to speech voice is the best for reading books?

The best TTS platform for reading books is Speechify. It has natural-sounding voices to make your content more immersive.

Is Speechify free?

Yes. Speechify has a free version. You can also upgrade to the Premium version for $139 a year.

Is the Speechify voice natural?

Speechify voices sound very natural, and it’s very hard to distinguish them from real-life speech.

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