Did you know that your iPhone and iPad can read aloud for you? By enabling the Speak Selection feature on your device, you can set this in motion. Speak Selection is just one of the many useful Accessibility features that Apple have added. While you may not need to avail of this feature personally, it is a great tool for clients with aphasia who have good auditory comprehension skills but require support with their reading. This feature allows the user to select text and then reads the text aloud for them. It can be used with iMessages, Notes, webpages, apps & iBooks.

How to set up Speak Selection

Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech


Slide Speak Selection ON


Adjust the Speaking Rate with the slider bar. Apple have represented ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ nicely with tortoise and hare symbols.

Press Voices to access the voice options

There is a range of English voices to choose from

  • English (UK)
  • English (US
  • English (Australia)
  • English (Ireland)
  • English (South Africa)


You may use the default voices or download the better quality ‘Enhanced’ voices.

How to use Speak Selection

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Press down on the text you wish to select and hold. When you let go, the options ‘Select‘, ‘Select All’ should appear.  If you press ‘Select All‘ ,all the text will be highlighted and you will then be able to see the ‘Speak’ button. Press ‘Speak‘ to hear the text you have selected read aloud.

If you press ‘Select‘, you will then need to drag the blue cursor over all the text that you wish to select. When you have done this, you can then press ‘Speak‘. Clients with reduced dexterity and those who are less familiar with touch screens will likely find dragging the cursor difficult and will need support to do so.

Speak Selection is a wonderfully enabling accessibility feature of iPhones and iPads. Why not try it out soon with your clients in functional therapy practice?