Ask LH: Are There Any Good Text-To-Speech Apps For iPhone?

Recently I'm in the necessity of reading a lot of stuff and sometimes I don't have enough time due to other tasks (exercising, making lunch, etc.) I would love to try a text-to-speech app (for iOS preferably) and see the results. Which is the best (non-robotic) text to speech app for this matter? Thanks, Readmybook

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Dear Readmybook,

When it comes to pronunciation and flow, commercial text-to-speech apps aren't quite there yet. With that said, the days of Stephen Hawking-like robotic monotones are thankfully behind us.

The simplest solution is to use your iOS device's inbuilt Accessibility mode. This includes a Speak Screen option that can read out emails, iMessages, web pages and ebooks to you. You can activate this by going into Settings and selecting General, then Accessibility. From there, you can activate Speak Selection and adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate.

Once you've made your selections, you can highlight onscreen text and have your phone read it out to you by tapping on the Speak button or saying "speak screen" to Siri. Simple!

If you'd prefer a third-party solution, it's pretty hard to look past the free Pocket app. The chief purpose of this application is its offline access mode which allows you to "save" website articles for later reading. However, it also comes with an excellent text-to-speech mode which works on iPhones and iPads.

With Text-to-Speech, you can listen to any of your saved articles, start wherever you like in the article, skip paragraphs and change the reading speed. It can even read back articles in other languages. To use this feature, simply open an article in Pocket, tap the button with three dots and select Listen (TTS). Download it here.

We're also going to throw this one over to our readers. What's your favouroite text-to-speech solution for iOS? We're also keen to hear your Android suggestions so have at it in the comments!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    The native iOS TTS is quite good and it works with Kindle, iBooks and Newsstand magazines too. I use it all the time.

    iOS built in works well, except it can't read some in-app text - such as the news feed in facebook.
    Any suggestions?

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