Most of the content you read on your iPhone is likely on the web. There are some hidden features that can make your reading a more enjoyable experience.
I am legally blind in one eye and have a hard time seeing the big E. I wear one contact to aid my sight. This post is of special interest to me and hope it’s of help to you.
This is for the iPhone running iOS 13+
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Safari Reader View
We know that Safari is the default browser for the iPhone. It comes as a standard app and for a reason. The app has a Reader View, unlike third-party apps. This view reformats web pages making them easier to read. It removes all the distractions and just shows you the content.
Some browsers might offer Reader View but the popular browser Google Chrome doesn’t.
When you land on a web page or similar content, the address bar will display Reader View Available for 2-3 seconds. If you tap on the icon in upper left hand corner, you will enter Reader View immediately. Refer to below image:
If you are fast, tap and hold “AA” for a second to jump straight to Reader View. If you miss it, you can tap the “AA” in the address bar and choose Show Reader View. See below image:
While you’re in Reader View, you can tap “AA” again to see some options. Tap the smaller “A” to shrink the text, or the larger “A” to enlarge it.
For more options, tap the “AA” again. Refer to below image:
Here you can change the Font from the list that appears and change screen color from white to black. See following image for the font list:
Also, you can access the settings for the website by tapping Website Settings. Here, you can enable Use Reader Automatically. This forces Safari to enter Reader View whenever you visit any page on that domain in the future. Click Done when finished. See below image:
When you change these settings, they’ll change for all the websites you view in Reader View. To get back to the original webpage, tap “AA” again, and then choose Hide Reader View (refer to third image above)..
Tap and hold “AA” to return to the originally formatted website. Safari will remember your choice for future visits. If the dialog box is still visible, just tap outside the box and it will disappear.
Safari Web Page to PDF or Print
You can save pages as readable PDF documents or print them. To save as PDF:
- Enable Reader View
- Tap Share
- Tap Options on upper part of screen
- Tap PDF
- Tap Done
- Select Save to Files from the Actions list
This also works to print via Share > Print.
Make Text Easier to Read
If you’d like to make text easier to read across your whole system, rather than having to rely on Reader View, your iPhone also includes a lot of accessibility options. For these options:
- Go to Settings
- Tap Accessibility
- Tap Display and Text Size
See following image:
Bold Text option makes text easier to read without increasing its size. However, you can also tap Larger Text, and then slide the slider to increase text size. Any apps that use Dynamic Type (like most of the content on Facebook, Twitter and news stories) will apply this setting.
Button Shapes places the outline of a button beneath any text that is also a button. This can help with readability and navigation. Other options you might want to enable include:
- Increase Contrast – Makes text easier to read by increasing the contrast between the foreground and background
- Smart Invert – Inverts the color scheme (except on media, like photos and videos)
- Classic Invert – The same as Smart Invert, except it also inverts the color scheme on media
Ensure that Auto Brightness is enabled to save battery and improve performance. Refer to below image:
Let iPhone Read to You
Do you want to listen instead of reading? Apple’s phones and tablets include an accessibility option that will read the current screen, web page or copied text aloud. While this is an accessibility feature for the visually impaired, it has broader applications for handling written content.
To enable this feature:
- Go to Settings
- Tap Accessibility
- Tap Spoken Content
- Enable Speak Selection and Speak Screen
See following image:
Speak Selection toggle allows you to highlight text, and then tap Speak button to read the text . Speak Screen toggle will read the entire screen aloud whenever you swipe down from the top with two fingers. If this is proving to be probmatic as it is for me, see next paragraph for another method. Additionally, you will want to adjust SPEAKING RATE by moving the slider. See below image:
To have the Speak Screen playback controller visible, enable Speach Controller. Instead of swiping your fingers, just tap the playback button to read your content. You can drag and reposition this small box anywhere you want it. Tap it to see options to silence speech, skip backward or forward through an article, pause the speaking or increase/decrease the speed at which the text is being read. Refer to below image:
If you wish to highlight the content as it reads, enable the Highlight Content button and adjust its options. See below image:
Tap Voices to customize the voices you hear. Most voice selections require a download. The default, English, will mirror your current Siri settings. Refer to below image:
The Speak Screen feature works best when paired with Reader View. In regular view, your iPhone will also read descriptive image text, menu items, adverts, and other things that can be distracting. By triggering Reader View first, you can cut straight to the content.
Speak Screen works intuitively based on whatever is currently on the screen. For example, if you’re reading an article, and you are halfway through, triggering Speak Screen will begin reading based on how far down the page you are. The same is true for social feeds, like Facebook or Twitter.
Ask Siri for News
You can just say “give me the news” to Siri at any time to see and hear a list of headlines from the News app. You can also launch the News app (or your favorite alternative), and then have your iPhone read aloud with Speak Screen or Speak Selection. See below image:
Siri will give you an alternative news source to switch to, if available, and it will be remembered the next time you ask for an update.
Enable Different Modes
Using your iPhone at night in a dark room became a lot more pleasant with the arrival of Dark Mode on iOS 13+. To enable this feature:
- Go to Settings
- Tap Display and Brightness
- Choose Automatic to enable when it gets dark outside
- Set Options to your preference
Below the Dark Mode setting option is a toggle for True Tone. If you enable this setting, your iPhone will automatically adjust the white balance onscreen to reflect your ambient environment. This means the screen will look a lot more natural. True Tone makes reading less jarring, particularly under fluorescent or incandescent lighting.
Finally, Night Shift removes blue light from the screen to simulate the setting sun, which might help your body naturally switch off at the end of the day.
Its recommended you enable all five (Automatic, Options, Dark Mode, True Tone and Night Shift) options. Refer to below image:
Keep in mind that Night Shift will also change how your photos and videos are displayed until you turn it off again, so we recommend no serious editing when it’s enabled.
There are many other hidden accessibility options for you to explore besides the ones in this post. Have fun exploring.
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