Speak Selection is a very useful feature of iOS that, once enabled, makes your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch read aloud highlighted text in Safari, Mail, ibooks, Notes and other apps supporting this feature. Disabled by default, it can be activated through the Settings app on the home screen of your iOS device.
Activating and Customizing Speak Selection in iOS
- Open the Settings app and tap General
- Scroll down in the right pane and select Accessibility
- Tap Speak Selection
- Turn on Speak Selection and Highlight Words. Highlight Words, as the name suggests, highlights the spoken word.
- The Speaking Rate can also be adjusted from this screen.
- Selecting Dialects in the above screen presents the option of changing the default voice and accent
Using Speak Selection in iPad/iPhone
You’ll now hear your selected text with your customized settings. The Speak button now changes to Pause that can be tapped anytime to stop listening.
I’ve found Speak selection to work in Mail, Safari, Notes, iBooks, Pocket, Foxit PDF among other apps.
The accessibility section of iOS consists of some great options for enhancing the overall user experience. For text to speech, I personally prefer the Speak Selection feature over the Voice Over option as Speak Selection, unlike Voice Over, doesn’t change the default iOS gestures.