Changing Voice Over’s Voice in iOS 9

In an effort to aid in exploring iOS 9, some of the upcoming posts here will explore some of the features and changes found in the update. In Voice Over, one might select from a variety of languages, but Apple only allows for a very limited number of dialects and options. However, the quality and responsiveness of each voice is worth the limited options. This guide will enable one to understand the different voice options and how to change them with Voice Over. Concluding this post there is a quick tutorial for sighted individuals that do not use Voice Over to listen to any documents through the same voices that makes Voice Over possible.

Opening Voice Over Settings

The first step is to open the Voice Over settings. Two methods exists to accomplish this.

  • Hold down the home button and ask Siri to open Voice Over’s Settings
  • Open the Settings app, double tap on General, then Accessibility, then Voice Over

Installing New Voices

In iOS 9, all of the voices may be changed in the Speech menu option. At the top of this page, Voice Over will state, “Default Dialect” and then the name of the voice. On my iPHOne, this is Siri Male, Enhanced. Below this, one encounters an option for adding languages and dialects to the rotor. This is explained further below. To change the default voice, do the following:

  • Double Tap on the default voice at the top of the screen
  • Swipe right through the list of Voices, first will be Samantha for us using US English
  • Double tap on the desired voice

Its recommended you are connected to wifi before downloading new voices due to their file size. Voices marked “Enhanced” require considerably more storage than default voices since the quality is vastly improved. Please note, even if you use any of the Siri dialects listed, you still have to download the voice for Voice Over and speech. Here is a list of the file sizes of the enhanced English voices:

  • Samantha Enhanced is 169MB
  • Siri Male Enhanced is 145MB
  • Siri Female Enhanced is 188MB
  • Alex is 869MB
  • Karen Enhanced is 120MB
  • Siri Male (Australian) is 174MB
  • Siri Female (Australian) Enhanced is 205MB
  • Daniel Enhanced is 156MB
  • Siri Male (UK) Enhanced is 154MB
  • Siri Female (UK) Enhanced is 182MB
  • Moira Enhanced is 120MB
  • Tessa Enhanced is 123MB

Deleting Voices

On the top right corner of the screen, there is a Edit button. This is how you can delete any downloaded voices you no longer desire. To accomplish this, do the following:

  • Double tap on the Edit button on the top right corner
  • Swipe right or find the voice you wish to delete, i.e.. Delete Samantha Enhanced
  • Double Tap on the screen
  • Next, Voice Over will simply announce Delete button, referring to its focus on the confirmation delete button
  • Double tap on the screen again
  • Click Done located in the top right corner when completed

Rotor Languages

The Voice Over rotor is a gesture one preforms to access many settings and options. The gesture requires you to place two fingers on the screen with a little bit of separation, and using one finger as a pivot point, pretend you are turning a dial. If successful, you will hear various Voice Over settings, so keep turning until you hear Languages. Swiping up and down now changes the voice. To add a rotor Language, do the following:

  • In the Speech menu, swipe until you reach, “Add New Language”
  • Double tap on this button
  • Swipe right until you find the desired language and dialect, then double tap
  • This returns you to the main speech screen, so swipe down to the language you added and either double tap on it or the more info button located next to it
  • Swipe through the screen to find the language’s voice you wish to use, and double tap on the desired Voice noting that you might need to download the voice
  • To set the preferred rate of speech for the voice, continue swiping to the bottom of the screen where a slide bar enables you to swipe up and down to change the rate
  • Find the Back button located on the top left corner of the screen to return to the Speech screen
  • Repeat this to add additional voices

If you ever wish to delete any of the Rotor Languages, you just need to be on the main Speech screen. Locate the language you wish to delete, and swipe up or down until you hear delete. If this does not work, preform the rotor gesture until you hear action, and try swiping up and down again, double tapping on the screen once you hear delete.

Turning Any Document or Page of Text into an Audio Book

Have you ever wanted a quick way to listen to an email, webpage, or blog post, without turning on Voice Over? For example, imagine you are driving and there is a document you need to read on the way to a meeting, your iPhone and iPad possesses the ability to read this item aloud. Enabling this feature requires you to navigate to the Accessibility menu located inside the Setting app under General. As a feature for visual accessibility options, select Speech. Now enable this feature, and follow some of the very same steps listed above to select your desired playback voice. Now whenever you encounter a wall of text like a blog post or document, preform a two finger swipe down and enjoy your self-made audio book. Please note that this feature will not work with Voice Over enabled, though Voice Over possesses similar capabilities.