Can an iPad Read Out Loud?


The iPad has various accessibility features to help users with hearing and vision impairments. VoiceOver reads out loud, giving you the information you need to use your iPad without looking at it. For example, it can read out text, guide you through menus, and help you browse online. Turning on VoiceOver only takes a couple of minutes, but it does change the way you use your iPad, and you may need a little time to learn new gestures.

  • Tap the "Settings" icon on your iPad's Home screen. Tap "General" and then "Accessibility."

  • Tap "VoiceOver" in the Vision section. Tap the button on the VoiceOver line to activate it -- the slider button should move across and its background should now be green. You'll also hear an audio message telling you that VoiceOver is on.

  • Tap "VoiceOver Practice" to open a page where you can try out gestures. When you tap or swipe on the page, VoiceOver tells you how the gesture works. For example, one tap will select an item and two taps are the start and stop functions. If you tap an app or a button, VoiceOver tells you what it is; if you then tap it twice, it will open. You can find a full list of gestures in Apple's iPad User Guide. When you have tried this out, tap "Done" and then double tap to return to the menu.

  • Tap the "Speaking Rate" button to change the speed of speech, if you find the default rate too slow or too fast. Swipe up to increase speed or swipe down to decrease it. You can also activate or deactivate other VoiceOver features in this menu, such as Pitch Change, Sound Effects and Languages & Dialects.

  • Select and double tap the "Rotor" button. You'll use the rotor to control and change settings as you navigate around your iPad. Tap on an item to select it and then double tap to add or remove it. If you don't want to make any changes at this stage, leave the default list as it is.

  • Press the "Home" button to return to the Home screen. Open a Web page or an email to test the Rotor. It works like a dial: Put two fingers on the screen and rotate them to open it. Move your fingers in a circular motion to move through the settings. If you want to change a setting, swipe up or down.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may find it easier to choose your VoiceOver settings before you turn it on.
  • You can switch between using VoiceOver and using your iPad in the regular way by enabling it as an Accessibility Shortcut or by using Siri. To set a shortcut, tap "General" in the Settings menu and then "Accessibility." Scroll down to the bottom of the menu, tap "Accessibility Shortcut" and select "VoiceOver." You can now turn VoiceOver on and off at any time by triple-clicking your iPad's Home button. To use Siri, press and hold down the "Home" button and tell Siri to turn VoiceOver on or off when prompted to give an instruction.
  • Information in this article applies to iPads running iOS 7. Steps to activate VoiceOver on iPads using other operating systems may differ.

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