Speech Central iOS Help


How to listen to the headlines from web sites and add articles from them?

1. In the Headlines tab of the app add a home page or some other site section that contains headlines or site’s RSS feed using the ‘+’ button. You will see three options:

  • Popular Sites – first pick the category of the site (e.g. Sports, News) and then check all the sites that you want to follow from that category.
  • Web Site – find the site using Google, navigate to its home page and tap ‘Add’.
  • Type Address – type in the address of the feed or web site to add it

2. Tap on the item and the app will start to read the headlines from the page

3. To add linked articles you can swipe left over the item and tap on the “Add to Articles & Books” button (visually it appears as “+”). You can also long tap on the item and pick this option from the menu. Finally, you can tap on the “More” at the top right of the screen, pick “Select Articles to Add”, select all articles that you would like to add and press the “Add to Articles & Books” button at the bottom toolbar.

4. You can even add articles while the screen is off (e.g. when you are using headphones and walking or while driving and the app speaks through connected Bluetooth speaker).

  • First go to the Extras tab then to the Settings and finally to Button Functions in the Headlines subsection. Set the action of the Next button to ‘Add to Articles & Books’.
  • When the item is read and the screen is off hit the next button to add the article related to it to the Articles tab. On the headphones the next button is invoked by double clicking on the center button.
  • When reading of headline item(s) is completed, the app will proceed to read the article items that you have added in the previous step.

How to read aloud web pages from Safari, Twitter and other apps?

1. Invoke sharing of the link – in Safari it is done by pressing the Share button in the middle of the toolbar, in Twitter by performing tap and hold on the link.

2. If you use this function for the first time, additional steps are needed:
2a. In the first row where the apps are listed scroll to the right and tap on “More”.
2b. In the next screen ensure that the switch for Speech Central is set to ‘On’. You may also reorder Speech Central to appear closer to the top.

3. Tap on Speech Central in the first row of icons.

4. Tap on ‘Listen Now’.

5. The web page is added to the end of the Articles tab and read aloud.

How to open files from iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box etc?

1. When file is stored on the storage other than iCloud ensure that you have installed the required storage app from the App Store (e.g. Dropbox app) and after that log in to that app.

2. In the Articles & Books tab tap the ‘+’ button and then ‘Import File’

Follow the steps bellow (you may also read the official Apple support on this topic):
3. If you are using for the storage other than iCloud:
3a. Select the ‘Browse’ tab
3b. Go back to the first page (ensure that you see ‘Cancel’ in the top left)
3c. Under ‘Locations’ if you see your storage provider click on it otherwise tap on the ‘More Locations’
3d. Ensure that the switch next to your cloud provider is turned on and tap on the ‘Done’ in the top right
3e. Browse to the file

4. If you are using iCloud:
4a Tap on the ‘Browse’ tab at the bottom
4b. Navigate through the folders and tap on the file you want to open.

How to change the language of the item?

The language of the item is automatically detected based on its text. If the language is not properly detected it may be changed on the Item Info page. This page can be opened:

  1. From the main screen by swiping left over the item and tapping on the button ‘More’
  2. From the player screen by pressing the action button (in the top right of the screen) and picking ‘Item Info’ in the second row of the icons.

How to add voices?

1. Go to the iPhone home screen.
2. Tap the ‘Settings’ icon
3. To add more voices  (more detailed description available under 4) go back to the first screen of the Settings app and then to Accessibility > Spoken Content > Voices (before iOS 13 to General > Accessibility > Speech > Voices). Also tap on the language for which you want to manage the voices (e.g. ‘English’).
6a. To install new voices tap on the cloud sign to the right and the cloud should change to the play icon when the voice is installed. For some voices that have the arrow sign instead of the cloud tapping anywhere on the row will open the new page where you will see the list of available voices that were grouped under that option with the cloud sign on the right that is used to install them.
6b. To delete the voice first ensure that it is installed (you should see the play icon on the right and not the cloud or arrow) and then swipe over it to the left and click on the ‘Delete’ button that appears.

Can I use Siri voices?

Apple restricts Siri voices only to the operating system functions. This is done to protect the user privacy as the user might be sharing his private data with Siri. While this sounds reasonable Apple has already proved that such risks can be managed by implementing the mechanism in which an app asks the user for the permission to use a potentially risky resource. Please encourage Apple to implement such mechanism by sharing your feedback using the Apple’s feedback assistant. In the header press the icon to start the new feedback, then pick ‘iOS & iPadOS’, and then mention that you would like Apple to implement the mechanism that would allow you to give apps permission to use Siri voices.

Also you may want to sign the petition that asks Apple to improve on this.

How to use the app in an accessible way?

  • Long press next and previous buttons to see all possible and very elaborate ways of navigating the content.
  • Those options can be activated with the external keyboard shortcuts which when available is should be really convenient.
  • Those options can assigned to audio buttons in the Settings.
  • You can customize on what Previous/Next/Skip forward/Skip back/Quick volume up-down/Quick volume down-up do – audio buttons are available on most headphones (e.g. Apple’s stock EarPods that came with all iPhones except for the iPhone 12 and also AirPods Pro) and as physical objects they should be quite accessible. Most people are not aware how to activate those buttons as they usually mean using some sort of gestures (e.g. if you want to activate the ‘Next’ command using the stock Apple EarPods you should double click the button on the headphones that is used to accept the calls).
  • Assigning command to quick volume down-up and volume up-down works with the iPhone/iPad volume buttons so that’s an interesting accessible option available to everyone
  • Customization also affects the buttons on the screen. The iPhone it may show more buttons in the landscape mode which may be more useful.
  • Finally customization of buttons goes a bit beyond just navigation so you can also add some commands like bookmarking or adding the article linked to the currently read title from Headlines to Articles & Books.