How to set up iOS to read any text--from emails to ebooks--aloud

Using built-in iOS settings, Apple users can configure their mobile devices to read any form of text aloud with a simple gesture.

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Image: Peshkova, Getty Images/iStockphoto

New, interactive experiences continue to drive our reliance on our mobile devices. Propelled by initiatives like BYOD, more and more productivity continues to shift toward getting work accomplished from our smartphones.

This increase in being able to work from anywhere further blurs the balance between work and life, which means users are utilizing their mobile devices often and for virtually everything—both personally and professionally. Multitasking and shortcuts help us make the most out of the time we spend on our devices.

One such feature that I am using non-stop is leveraging the accessibility functions of my iPhone's speech settings to enable it to speak aloud any text passages, such as those contained in ebooks and PDFs on-demand. This is extremely versatile, not to mention highly useful—from listening to audiobooks while commuting to researching through equipment manuals at work.

SEE: BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy template download (Tech Pro Research)

Enable speak selection

To enable speak selection go to Settings | General | Accessibility | Speech. Toggle the button next to Speak Selection to enable the speak selection button on the floating menu when text is highlighted (Figure A).

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Figure A

Enable Speak Screen

To enable Speak Screen go to Settings | General | Accessibility | Speech. Toggle the button next to Speak Screen to enable the ability to speak the screen (Figure B).

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Figure B

To bring up the floating menu at any time, perform a two-finger gesture by swiping from the top of the screen down. The device will scan the page or document and begin reciting the text aloud (Figure C).

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Figure C

Each of the functions above may be enabled individually without negatively impacting each other, or it can be enabled jointly to provide dual speech functions that can be used as needed.

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By Jesus Vigo

Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 19 years of experience and multiple certifications from seve...