Speech-to-text is among the most useful accessibility technologies to ever have been invented. It lets you use AI to read things out loud, which is great for people who suffer from vision loss, those who want to take a break from screen time, and those who want to listen to things while their hands are occupied (like when you’re cooking). On your iPhone, you can now ask Siri to read articles out loud.
While speech-to-text has been available for a while, asking Siri to read any open articles is a new iOS 17 feature. You can install iOS 17 public beta right away if you want to try it. Remember that it’s probably not a good idea to do so on your primary iPhone—beta software is, by definition, unfinished, and can have some rather annoying bugs.
How to ask Siri to read articles out loud
On your iOS 17 device, you first need to open any article in Safari, such as the one you’re reading right now. Next, fire up Siri and say, “Read this.” You can either use the “Siri” voice command to launch the voice assistant, or press and hold the power button to do so.
You can also have Siri read out articles by tapping the aA button to the left of the address bar and selecting Listen to Page. You’ll hear an alert tone and then Siri will start reading the article for you. You can tap the aA button again to skip forward, back, increase the speed of the voice, or to end the listening session.
A simple gesture to make Siri read articles
There’s an alternative way to have Siri read articles out loud for you. To use it, go to Settings > Accessibility > Spoken Content and enable Speak Screen. Once you do this, open any article in Safari and use two fingers to swipe downwards from the top of the screen. You’ll hear Siri read out the article for you now. This is actually a global setting, which means that it’ll read the content on screen in any app on your iPhone.
You can have some fun customizing this feature, too. Go to the Spoken Content settings page and select Voices > English and go through the list to pick the English accent that works for you. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll find a section called Novelty, which has some hilarious voices. Once you’ve selected the voice, you can always return to Spoken Content settings and set the Speaking Rate to a narration speed that works for you. It’s also a good idea to enable Highlight Content so that the text on screen is highlighted as it’s read out loud.
Why Siri fails to read some pages well
Siri’s article reading is dependent on Safari’s reader mode. Some websites block reader mode entirely, which means that Siri will not be able to read those pages out loud for you. In other cases, reader mode is unable to render the entire article. Instead, it picks up random chunks and misses large blocks of text. In these cases, Siri will only read out those parts that show up in reader mode.