You can get Siri to read you any text on the screen of an iPhone, iPad or Mac. And yes, that means Siri will quite literally read aloud whatever is displayed on the screen of an Apple device, whether it’s a web page, an article, an email, a text message, anything on the screen will be read out loud by Siri, and you’ll even have controls for speeding up and slowing down speech, as well as pausing and skipping sections. Whether you want to know how to get Siri to read text on iPhone 11, then this guide is for you. In this article, I’ll show you how to have Siri read screen text to you on iPhone, iPad or Mac.
To enable speak screen on iPhone, you will need to turn on a less known accessibility feature called speak screen, and then it’s just a matter of swiping down with two fingers from the top of your screen or initiating the proper request with Siri.
Having Siri read your content can be quite a liberating feeling. It allows you to consume all the reading material you like, but with the added advantage of not having to have your face buried in a screen. Enabling the speak screen feature also means you can even navigate between apps, and Siri will continue to read the content you initiated!
Having Siri read aloud on iOS
- To get Siri to start speaking to you on iOS, launch the Settings app and go to Accessibility → Spoken Content.
- You’ll see two options: Speak Selection and Speak Screen. Enabling the first allows you to select a group of text and have Siri read that specific group back to you. Enabling the second option allows you have Siri read everything that is displayed on your screen. Personally, I’ve enabled both settings.
Tip: While in this screen, enable the Highlight Content option too. When this feature is enabled, you can visually follow along with what is being read onscreen.
Both Speech features are very powerful and useful, but the Speak Screen option is one I’ve found myself using much more often on iOS and iPadOS. I use the Speak Selection feature to have her pronounce unknown words to me, and the latter to have her read huge chunk of text.
From just about any screen in iOS or iPadOS, whether you want to get Siri read text online, settings, messages, email, you can activate speak screen on iPhone or iPad by swiping down with two-fingers from the Status Bar. A small opaque window will appear and begin reading the content aloud. Alternatively, summon Siri and say “Speak Screen” to have Siri read the screen and all screen contents to you.
For a practical example of how speak screen can work, let’s Say you’ve come across a great article on the internet and you’d like it read to you aloud. All you need to do is load up the web page in Safari (or any browser of your choice) and then summon Siri and say “Speak Screen” and Siri will start reading the text of the article to you.
You can use the onscreen controls to skip slow down Siri speech, skip backwards to a section to have it re-read, pause the speech, skip forward a section you don’t want read, or speed up the Siri voice reading.
This trick pairs really well with either the iPad or iPhone if you have the volume turned up enough to hear the reading out of the built-in speakers, but it also works beautifully with headphones or speakers. Using this trick you could have Siri read you an article, an email, a web page, anything on screen, while you commute, or are out and about, or even just laying around.
You can also use this trick with the Hey Siri voice activation feature, making it one of the better accessibility features available in iOS and iPadOS.
I usually enable Speak Screen feature whenever I’m browsing through emails or my reading list.
That window has a few controls to assist in the speech while the content is being read. Use the onscreen controls to stop reading, speed up or slow down the reading speed,(or ask Siri to stop reading) Tapping the forward and backward options will skip through to the next major break in a chunk of text (usually paragraphs or user interface elements). Pressing Pause will pause the speech.
Tip: When text is being read, Siri may sometimes pronounce things incorrectly. You can edit a word’s specific pronunciation by heading over to Settings → Accessibility → Spoken content → Pronunciations.
Can Siri read a PDF? Yes. If you want to know how to get Siri to read PDF on Mac, read on
Having Siri read aloud on macOS
On macOS, the process is a bit different than iOS. Open System Preferences and head over to Accessibility → Speech and enable Speak selected text when the key is pressed.
The difference here is that on macOS, this feature works better when it’s treated more like the Speak Selection feature on iOS. If you were to hit the configured keys while just looking at any screen, you may find that Siri reads back what is seemingly random text. I’ve found that the best way to have Siri read the text back to you on macOS is to highlight the group of text you want read and then to hit the configured key command. At least in this manner you know was it being read aloud.
Tip: Both iOS and macOS feature a Voices section under their Speech features. You can change the voice that is heard when text is read to find a more fitting one for your taste. I’ve chosen Siri female as she sounds better than some of the other voices.
Over the past few years, Apple has shown a
commitment to accessibility
since the early days of the iPhone, and since mac OSX Tiger. Its VoiceOver screen reader was the first built-in screen reader of any usability on a personal computer and smart phone. Now,
is on every Apple product, even the HomePod. It is so prevalent that people I know have begun calling any screen reader
This level of consistency should be congratulated in a company of Apple’s size and wealth. While many people may not utilize the
features bundled in iOS, iPadOS and macOS, we can still benefit from the powers they hold.
Have any other screen speaking tips or ideas for how to use this wonderful feature? Let us know in the comments section below.
Now share this article with a friend to teach them how to get Siri to read text on iPhone, iPad or Mac.