Text-To-Speech With iOS 8

Your iPhone and iPad can read text to you in different ways with iOS 8. With the new Speak Screen function, all of the text on the screen will be read aloud triggered with just a simple gesture. You can use this in most apps, including notes and Safari. With iBooks, the entire page will be read and then will continue automatically on the next page. There are limitations, however, as the pronunciation of words isn't always correct.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Text-To-Speech With iOS 8.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost.com. On today's episode let's take a look at Text-to-Speech in iOS 8.

To enable the Text-to-Speech function you want to go into Settings and then under General go to Accessibility and then Speech. You have three options here.

Now the first one we have already had available in previous versions of iOS and that will allow you to speak a bit of text as selected.

The new thing is Speak Screen. We're going to turn that on. When any of these are on you can choose things like the Voices. You've got various languages but also inside of English you've got various different forms of English plus quality. So I've set it to one there. I don't see much different between the quality ones but presumably there is.

Then you get to set a speaking rate and to be able to adjust that on the fly. Then you can turn on or off Highlight Content. It is actually useful to have the Highlight Content on if you want to follow along with the speaking. So now that we have it on let's try it out.

So here I am in the Notes app and I'm going to tap to select here. Select All. You can see now that in addition to Copy and Paste and other things I have a Speak button.

All right so now let's test the Speak Screen function. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to put two fingers above the screen so about above where the camera is on the iPad and I'm going to drag down onto the screen to about halfway down. So I'm not starting with my fingers on the screen but above it and dragging down.

So you can see not only did the text get read but you also saw those buttons appear that allows me to Pause the reading or speed it up or slow it down.

So if you try this with a web page we are typically going to get more than we bargained for. For instance, this web page is going to read everything. At the very top......... So you see it is reading everything in the Navigation Bar at the top. That is not what we want. We want to read the article.

So Speak Screen works really well with the reader mode in Safari. So we can get into the reader mode by tapping on those lines just to the left of the URL and just to the right of the Bookmarks bar. So only appears on news articles, blog posts, anything that has a lot of text in it. You tap on that and now we are in Reader mode. Now if you use the Speak Screen function. So you can see now it is going to read just the stuff that we really want.

Using the Reader mode with Speak Screen works really well.

Now here is a feature that a lot of people have been waiting for. You can use Speak Screen with iBooks. It actually works really well with iBooks because not only will it read the text but it will even flip pages for you. So here we are in a book. Let's start the Speak Screen function........... So you can see there it flipped the page for you. So basically you can turn just about any book, especially novels, into audiobooks.

So let's take a moment here to look at special functions. You can see that it shrinks over to just a dot on the left if you leave for a while but you have the ability to move forward and back and you can play and stop and you can slow down and speed up. You can just dismiss it with that X and you can shrink it over manually with the left arrow over there. So there is a lot of functionality that you can do.

Now this is certainly not good enough to replace audiobooks. Frequently words are mispronounced or the wrong version of a word is used. For instance, the pronunciation live or l i v e instead of live seems to always be used and that is kind of confusing when reading some text but it is a good alternative when there is no audiobook available or when it is something short to read like an article or webpage.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost.com.

Comments: 170 Responses to “Text-To-Speech With iOS 8”

    Jean Amico
    5 years ago

    when I swipe with 2 fingers down, the notification center comes down

      5 years ago

      Make sure you have enabled Speak Screen in the settings like I have shown.

    Mr. Luigi
    5 years ago

    Great job Gary! I did notice that if I selected the enhanced quality voice or the “ultra enhanced” quality voice called Alex for US English nothing changed. So, after selecting one of the higher quality voice settings, I shut down my iPhone and did a restart. That did the trick. Although a large file, the “Alex” voice is quite a bit more pleasing to hear than the sterile default voice. Sorry if you already mentioned this step in your presentation!

      Ethel sorensen
      5 years ago

      It took two down loads and a reboot and now I have my buddy Alex. Tuvm

    Vaman Kale
    5 years ago

    Great job, Gary! I had noticed this but never paid attention too it. Now I realise its very useful for even SMS and mails, apart from books.

      5 years ago

      For messages, you can always ask Siri to read them to you. You don’t need to use Speak Screen.

    John C.
    5 years ago

    Thank you Gary! This is a great hidden feature of my iPad, especially for “reading” lengthy iBooks!

    5 years ago

    Hi Gary,

    Fun info! What if you’re reading several languages?

    Thim Fook, Law
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the tip, Gary. FYI, I’ve tried this with English, Chinese as well as French, and it works for all 3 languages. Hooray!

    5 years ago

    Can SIRI be directed to take a website to reader mode?

    4 years ago

    Disappointing that I can’t read most of the comments.

Comments Closed.