VoiceOver 2

Even people who love reading books all of the time will sometimes get too busy to sit down on the couch and spend a few hours with their nose in their favorite novel. Sometimes, running around, baking cookies, knitting sweaters, and exercising gets in the way of quality reading time.

You could invest money and digital storage space into downloading audio books from iTunes or a third-party digital audio book supplier. Or, you could just get your device to read to you using the iOS accessibility feature, VoiceOver.

Using VoiceOver in iBooks can be a bit tricky. The gestures that you are used to using on your iPhone or iPad don’t work and you have to practice using single, double, or triple tapping with one, two, three, or four fingers to move around in your mobile operating system. We’ve got some simple tips and tricks to help you navigate iBooks with VoiceOver activated so you can have your favorite books read to you while your hands are busy doing other things.

Get Siri to read books to you on iPhone or iPad

To have your device read to you, you must first activate Apple’s built in screen reader, VoiceOver. This feature reads aloud anything you touch. To select an item, single tap it. Via VoiceOver, Siri will read what the item is (an app’s name, for example). It will also let you know if you are in landscape or portrait mode and offers a number of different advantages for the sight impaired. Today, we are going to tell you how to turn it on and use it in iBooks.

Turn on VoiceOver

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver.

Step 2: Toggle the VoiceOver switch to on.

Step 3: Adjust the speaking rate by dragging the speed range toward the turtle for slower or the rabbit for faster.

Step 4: Tap “Accessibility” at the top of the screen. Then, double-tap it to go back.

Step 5: Scroll down to “Accessibility Shortcut” using three fingers to scroll.

Step 6: Select Accessibility Shortcut. Then double-tap it.

Step 7: Select VoiceOver. This allows you to triple-click the Home button to turn on and off VoiceOver so you don’t have to keep going back to the Settings app each time.

VoiceOver 3

Have your iPhone or iPad read books to you with VoiceOver

Step 1: Triple-click the Home button to turn off VoiceOver. Until you have had some practice with the feature, you should probably just leave it off. There are a lot of different functions and gestures, and it can be very confusing.

Step 2: Go to iBooks and select the book you want your iPhone or iPad to read to you. Go to the first page, or whatever page you want to start the reading to start from.

Step 3: Triple-click the Home button to turn on VoiceOver.

Step 4: Single-tap the body of the page (the words of the book) with one finger to select it.

have siri iPhone read books

Step 5: Swipe downward with two fingers on the screen to activate VoiceOver.

Once VoiceOver is activated, the words will be read to you and the pages will even turn automatically when the time is right.

To stop the reading, single-tap the screen with two fingers. Triple-click the Home button to turn off VoiceOver.

Now you know how to turn get your device to read to you so that you can free your hands and eyes for more important tasks, like driving or making dinner.

Have you ever used the VoiceOver feature on your iPhone or iPad? Do you use it to read books to you?

  • Ted Forbes

    To wild for me I will stick with others

  • Σαλαη αββας

    Can’t you just double tap on selected text and then tap speak ?

  • R4

    Its awful, I’m going to stick to audible.

  • ap3604

    Also works with Kindle app, thanks Lori 🙂

  • Bob

    I want Johny Ive to read me a story, his voice is AWESOME! 😀

    • Falk M.

      I’d actually pay for that. And then have him read me science papers about aluminium.
      Even though I speak American English myself, I stick to “aluminium” myself hehe

    • Gustavo Adolfo Mirabal

      Morgan Freeman has a really cool voice as well

  • Glorin

    SELECT/MARK THE TEXT, TAP SPEAK -> enjoy the reading free

    • MacGuru16

      Does it turn the pages for you like VoiceOver does? Last time I tried it did not, but perhaps this has changed; I’d be interested to know.

  • on3simpleclick

    Still waiting for the ‘iOS7’ update to iBooks…

  • Brian Kieffer

    Under “speaking rate,” what kind of rabbit is that supposed to be?

  • klouud

    One of the best articles you guys have ever done. Thanks for the pro-tip!

  • Teresa Slaven-Blair

    Is there any way of getting an iPad to read scientific papers to you? I’ve set up what you have suggested, but she can’t tell the difference between the symbols for “equals to” and “not equals to”, which is a major problem for me. She also cannot seem to read the greek alphabet, and I would love it if she didn’t read the references to other papers at the end of many sentences.

  • joydance123

    This was the easiest for me to understand than any other place I’ve been to regarding using VoiceOver. Thank you so much.

  • Mitchell Kuster

    Am I the only one it doesn’t turn the pages automatically for? Is there a fix or reason for this?

  • AMC

    thank you so much for the clear step-by-step. Apple should hire you.