Ask Siri to read text to you on the iPhone and Mac

Did you know Siri can read any on-screen text out loud to you? Here we show you how.

Siri User Guide
Siri User Guide

Reading out text is a little-known Siri feature that can be very helpful in certain situations. Allowing you to focus on other tasks while listening to what is essentially your own personal podcast.

Siri can read out almost any text you can imagine. From books to emails, pdf documents, and web pages.

Crucially, you can use your device as normal, and Siri will continue to read out the content you selected at the same time.

Siri isn’t configured to read out text to you by default; to enable this, we need to adjust Spoken Content settings on your device, which are available in Accessibility.

Enable Spoken Content on an iPhone and iPad

On your iOS device:

  • Open Preferences.
  • Scroll down and tap on Accessibility.
  • Tap on Spoken Content.

You are provided with two options, Speak Selection and Speak Screen.

iOS 14 Spoken Content Settings
iOS 14 Spoken Content Settings

Speak Selection

This allows you to select a block of text and have Siri read it out to you by tapping Speak in the selection pop-up.

Speak Screen

With this option enabled, Siri will read everything that is visible on your screen.

To trigger Speak Screen, swipe down with two fingers from the top of the screen. A small control window will appear as Siri begins reading the content. This is used to navigate through the text on the screen.

For example, you may want Siri to skip reading out everything at the top of a webpage, such as menu bar items. To do so, just tap on the ‘skip forward’ button until Siri begins reading the text you want to listen to.

The controls also allow you to change the rate of speech, as well as pause or stop reading entirely.

Highlight content as it’s spoken

When Spoken Content features are turned on, another option is displayed below them, called Highlight Content. When enabled, Siri will highlight each word in a selected block of text as it is being spoken.

How to edit words pronounced incorrectly

If you find Siri is mispronouncing some words, you can edit their specific pronunciation by doing the following.”

  • Open Preferences.
  • Scroll down and tap on Accessibility.
  • Tap on Spoken Content..
  • Scroll down and tap on Pronunciations.
  • Tap the ‘+’ icon on this screen to add a new pronunciation.

How to get Siri to read text out aloud on a Mac

On a Mac:

  • Open System Preferences.
  • Select Accessibility.
  • Scroll down and select Spoken Content if using macOS Big Sur, or Speech in Catalina or below.
  • Enable Speak selection if using macOS Big Sur, or Speak selected text when the key is pressed using macOS Catalina and below.

The default key command is Option+Esc, but this can be changed by pressing the Options button using macOS Big Sur or the Change Key button in macOS Catalina or below.

Speech options in macOS Big Sur
Speech options in macOS Big Sur

The Speech preferences pane also allows you to change Siri’s voice and the rate at which text is spoken.

To trigger Siri speech, select a block of text in any application on your Mac and press Option+Esc (or the key command you chose), and Siri will immediately read it out to you.

Want to discover more about using Siri, Apple’s popular virtual assistant? We’ve written a helpful collection of tutorials full of techniques for using apps, dictation, using Siri Shortcuts, and a comprehensive beginner’s guide to activating and using Siri.