Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Your iPhone will soon be able to speak with your voice

Apple has announced a slew of new accessibility features coming to the iPhone and its other devices later this year.

They include Personal Voice, which uses a synthesized version of your voice for spoken conversations, offering a more meaningful way to communicate with loved ones for those who have lost the ability to talk.

Apple's preview of new accessibility features for its devices.
Apple

Personal Voice will be easy to set up, too, as it only requires you to read a randomized set of text prompts for around 15 minutes so the system can learn your voice.

Then, with another feature called Live Speech for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, you can type what you want to say and have it spoken out loud in your own voice during phone and FaceTime calls and also in-person conversations. If a person’s ability to speak is already impaired, Live Speech will speak for you using a preloaded voice.

To save you from typing out each and every word, you can also save commonly used phrases that can be activated in a split second.

Of course, you need a functioning voice to set up the system, but for those with a condition that means they could lose their ability to speak in the future, Personal Voice will be a welcome addition to Apple’s growing collection of accessibility tools.

“At the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to communicate with friends and family,” Philip Green, board member and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) advocate at the Team Gleason nonprofit, who has experienced significant changes to his voice since receiving his ALS diagnosis in 2018. “If you can tell them you love them, in a voice that sounds like you, it makes all the difference in the world.”

Apple also previewed software features for cognitive, vision, hearing, and mobility accessibility.

Assistive Access, for example, distills apps and experiences to their essential features to make them easier to use. Focusing on apps such as Phone, FaceTime, Messages, Camera, Photos, and Music, Assistive Access offers a distinct interface with high-contrast buttons and large text labels.

Another useful addition is Point and Speak for the Magnifier app, which is designed to make it easier for users with vision disabilities to interact with physical objects that have several text labels.

Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives, said the new features were “designed with feedback from members of disability communities every step of the way, to support a diverse set of users and help people connect in new ways.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
There’s a big problem with iOS 18’s amazing customization features
Examples of how iOS 18's home screen can be customized.

“The home screen is truly your own.”

That’s the phrase used when Apple introduced iOS 18 during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2024) keynote, and it heralded the end of the days when the design of iOS’ home screen was rigidly fixed.

Read more
iOS 18 has ended the iPhone vs. Android debate
Updated interface of Siri activation.

“I just have to see anything particularly useful that AI can do,” a tech journalism veteran told me ahead of Apple’s WWDC 2024 event. To a large extent, I agree with the sentiment, even though I have pushed consumer-grade AI tools in every scenario that my hardware selection allowed. By the time Apple’s event concluded, I had a strong feeling that Apple may just have delivered the most practical dose of AI on a smartphone.

We have entered the era of Apple Intelligence on iPhones. I will drop the bad news first: The whole AI platter has been served only on the latest and greatest “Pro” iPhones. They are not even available for the iPhone 15 or the iPhone 15 Plus. It seems the silicon and the onboard NPU are to blame, or maybe it's all-important memory restrictions. Similar restrictions apply for iPads, which need at least an M-class processor.

Read more
iOS 18’s new iMessage features make me wish everyone I know had an iPhone
Screenshots of new iMessage features in iOS 18.

Without fail, one thing always happens during the iOS segment at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC): I have a moment where I want more people I know to own an iPhone and use iMessage because it always looks a whole lot more fun than my usual message apps.

It’s not evidence of iMessage being generally superior, though; it’s about something else. And this was especially true at WWDC 2024.
There's something about iMessage

Read more