When Siri was released on the iPhone 4S I was excited about being able to use the personal assistant while traveling. My mobile office (a.k.a. Saturn Outlook) has a plethora of cords, cables, and speakers and having Siri read a text message from iMessage has been extremely convenient. So when I asked Siri to read […]
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Tip: How to Make Siri’s Twin, VoiceOver, Read Your Email on iPhone

When Siri was released on the iPhone 4S I was excited about being able to use the personal assistant while traveling. My mobile office (a.k.a. Saturn Outlook) has a plethora of cords, cables, and speakers and having Siri read a text message from iMessage has been extremely convenient. So when I asked Siri to read me an email, I was startled by her response, “Sorry, I can’t do that Jay.”

That’s odd, I thought, I know I could get my 3GS to read my emails to me! You may be curious how. It’s an Accessibility setting called VoiceOver. So what I tried today is a possible way, though not perfect, to have emails read aloud.

Turn VoiceOver On

You can find the VoiceOver menu and toggle under the Settings > General > Accessibility menu. Instead of turning it on permanently, however, I recommend scrolling to the bottom of that Accessibility menu to Triple-click Home and set it to Toggle VoiceOver as a way to toggle it off and on.

 

What does it do?

VoiceOver is a tool used for those with impaired vision and who need to have the screen read to them. Once active, touch any item on the screen (say a paragraph in an email) and VoiceOver will read aloud, in Siri’s voice, what is boxed in on the screen. A single finger scroll to the right will move the box to the next paragraph which will be read aloud. A single finger flick to the left will move the box to a previous paragraph.

Putting it together on iPhone 4S

Once the Triple-click Home is set as the toggle to turn VoiceOver on and off, here’s how you can both read and reply to an email aloud:

  • Activate Siri by press and holding the home button, then ask for emails, “Siri check email”
  • When the new emails are displayed on the Siri screen, tap one to open the Mail app and go straight to that message
  • Triple-click the Home button to toggle VoiceOver on
  • Scroll through the paragraphs and have VoiceOver read the email aloud (one finger flick to the right for multiple paragraphs)
  • Triple-click the Home button to toggle VoiceOver off
  • Activate Siri and say Reply to compose a new email by dictating to Siri

There are additional instructions and settings for VoiceOver in the Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver menu (such as rate, pitch, etc.) to personalize this Siri twin to your liking.


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