Make iOS5 read your messages for you (Siri not required)

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What’s safer than reading text messages while driving? Having your phone read them for you.

Yes, the Windows Phone 7 and iPhone 4s (with Siri) can do this (I don’t know about Android). But its not worth buying a new phone to be able to do this. Kudos to Apple for enabling this option in iOS5.

Well here is  a trick I use with iOS 5. It makes use of an Accessiblity setting called ‘Speak Selection’ (Settings > General > Accessibility). This setting allows you to tell iOS to read out any selectable text (so it does not just apply to Messages).

Here’s a simple example of how I use this to read messages out. It still involves some swipes and touches, but nothing that requires looking at the iPhone screen for too long. No special gestures involved.

Example:

1. A new message arrives. Its a fairly long one.

2. Swipe to reply the message.

3. You’ll be taken to the Message app with the message in view.

4. Now to make it read the message, just tap and hold the message bubble, and you’ll see the option to ‘Copy or Speak’. Just tap Speak get iOS to read out the message!

Obviously, this is nowhere close to what Siri and WP7 can do, where you can dictate a reply and say ‘Send’, etc., but it does the minimum of having it read stuff out when you can’t keep looking at the phone.

You could use this trick in any app and any place where you can select text.

Try it!

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