Weekly Round Up 3/31

 

 

She’s gonna make it after all…
These are the 5 Best Cities for women in tech.


I take my job as a fur baby parent very seriously.

How to Use Technology to Outsource Pet Care


I’m gonna file this under “Duh!”
Russia used tech, fake news to influence US election, expert tells Senate Intelligence committee.


Tesla Roof for the win!

Best tech gadgets in March 2017

This is why we can’t have nice things.

U.S. Senate Votes To Repeal Obama-Era Internet Privacy Rules

I’m posting this subject twice to emphasize my outrage at our representatives selling our privacy and data to the highest bidder. Karma’s a b*tch and I cannot wait to see how she evens the score with them.

Congress Votes to Allow Broadband Providers to Sell Your Data Without Your Permission

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App of the Week – 11 Spring Cleaning Apps to Motivate You to *Actually* Get Organized

 

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy the Brit&Co. website. Everytime I visit, I feel like they looked into my head and wrote down what I was thinking. This week’s App Spotlight beautifully illustrates this point. If you are a clean freak like me, then these Apps will totally speak to your clutter free hearts. I’m especially fond of Think Dirty and Decluttr. Let me know which one’s are your favorites in the comments below.


by Ashley Macey of Brit&Co.

It’s that time of year again, folks. No matter how much we would love to avoid spring cleaning forever, we’ve decided to put our adulting hats on and just get it done (mostly to make room for all the gorgeous spring goodies at Anthropologie and Target, TBH). So treat yourself to a springtime cup from Starbucks, put on your most motivational playlist, and download these amazing cleaning and organizing apps for the easiest spring cleaning sesh *ever.*


1. Think Dirty: Your closet isn’t the only thing that needs a refresh this spring. This cool app is a great free way to learn about the potentially toxic ingredients lurking in your makeup bag. Simply scan the barcode of your beauty products and the Think Dirty app will give you easy-to-understand info on your product and a unique dirty meter ranking. They’ll even shop for cleaner alternatives to help keep your skin healthier.

DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 


2. FlyCleaners: There’s nothing worse than spending a Saturday evening trapped underneath a monster pile of laundry. That’s why we’re leaving it to the professionals this spring. FlyCleaners will pick up and deliver your laundry directly to your front door between 6am and midnight, seven days a week.

DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 

3. Rooomy: After you finished the grunt work of actually cleaning your apartment, it’s always a fun idea to give your space a tiny makeover. This futuristic app combines 3D models of real estate listings with real-life home furnishing products (also in 3D), so you can easily tell what will look good in your space — plus, you can *totally* shop for your dream home at the same time.

DL It: Free on iOS

 

4. Centriq: Homeowners, this one is for you. This nifty app provides users with an owner’s manual for practically anything with an “on switch” in their home — appliances, electronics, furnaces, you name it. Just scan the model number of the product and the app will provide you with all sorts of useful stuff to make homeowner life just a tad easier.

DL It: Free on iOS

 


5. Decluttr: Instead of taking your gently used items to the dump after you’re finished spring cleaning, you may want to use this app to make a quick buck. All you have to do is scan the barcodes of your electronics, books, and other items and Decluttr will give you an instant offer price. Then once you’re finished, ship your items to them for FREE and they’ll pay you the day after they receive your stuff.

DL It: Free on Android and iOS

6. Snupps: Whether you’re looking for organization advice on your personal shoe collection or just want to browse beautiful photos from other organized ladies, this app is awesome for getting motivated to start spring cleaning. You can add your collection to virtual shelves via snapshots, get feedback from the Snupps community on your stash, and follow other interest groups for instant motivation to live your most organized life.

DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 

7. Our Home: Give your family planner a techy facelift with this must-download family planning app. Our Home is a new way to connect your entire household on one app (we’re talking grocery lists, family calendars, chore charts, and more).

DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 

 

 

8. ThredUp: This app is perfect for the lady who needs a little extra motivation to clean out her closet. Not only can you earn a little extra cash from donating your gently used garments to this awesome company, but you can easily shop for items from fan favorites like Anthropologie and Kate Spade for up to 90 percent off too (hey, we deserve a few springy statement pieces!).

DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 

9. Letgo: What makes this used-goods selling platform stand apart from its competitors is the tens of millions of people already using it (AKA way more people will stumble across your awesome spring cleaning items). We also love that you can post an item for sale in just a few seconds and chat with other buyers and sellers right inside the app.


DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 

 

10. Handy: Let’s be honest; there’s always a point during our annual spring cleaning marathon where we just want to give up and polish off the movies in our Netflix queue. But instead of throwing in the towel, why not call a professional cleaner or handy-person to help finish the job for you using this convenient app. You can pay the background-checked professional right from your phone and rest assured with their money-back guarantee.


DL It: Free on Android and iOS

 

11. KonMari: If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method of tidying up by now, it’s definitely time to get in on the life-changing trend. This official app of Konverts is packed with features to help you tidy and organize your entire life by providing tips, tricks, and progress reports on how decluttering your home will spark joy in your life.


DL It: Free on iOS

Have you started spring cleaning yet? Tweet me by mentioning @theblondebyte16 and or @BritandCo.

 

How to: record live TV without a cable subscription using Plex DVR

 

Cord cutters, you too can record your favorite live TV shows and watch them whenever you want, thanks to Plex DVR!

Netflix changed the game. Hulu stepped up next and cord cutting became the next big thing. I sort of evolved my viewing habits out of scheduling necessity for my work without even realizing it. A few years ago I realized I was watching all of my favorite programs on the internet the day after it broadcast or I’d wait until the season was over and binge the entire thing. And speaking of binging, Netflix smartly releases the entire season of it’s shows at once for fuel the binge hunger of people like me. I discovered the genius of the Plex Media Server a while ago and have since cut the cord in my life. For those of you who are still on the live broadcast bandwagon, this article is for you. It could save you up to $200 a month in cable fees if you decide to make the switch, so, it’s worth the read…

 

By Lory Gil of iMore

I’m always looking for ways to maximize my TV watching experience. That’s why Plex DVR is a fantastic service for cord cutters like me. Combined with HDHomeRun and an HDTV antenna, I can record live broadcast television and watch it at my leisure, just like my cable subscribing friends do with their DVR. You can too. Here’s how.

  • What you need
  • How to set up Plex DVR on your Mac or PC
  • How to record your favorite live TV shows
  • How to watch your recorded live TV on Plex

What you need

Plex is a media server that you can load your movies, music, and photos onto. You can then watch, listen to, or view that content across any supported device with the Plex app. Plex DVR is a feature in the Plex Pass subscription that lets you record and watch free digital broadcast channels so you can also watch TV any time across your supported devices. You’ll need a few things before you can set up Plex DVR:

  • An HDHomeRun device with an HDTV antenna set up in your home
  • Plex Media Player on your Mac
  • A Plex Pass subscription
  • A hard drive with enough space to record your shows

Make sure you have your HDHomeRun set up and the Plex Media Server on your Mac before you try to use Plex DVR to scan for channels in your home.

How to set up Plex DVR on your Mac

Once you have everything you need, you’ll have to connect your HDHomeRun transmitter to your Plex so it can scan your channels and create a program guide for you.
1 Launch the Plex Media Server on your Mac.
2 Sign in to your account.
3 Click on Settings in the menu on the left.
4 Click on DVR(Beta) in the menu on the left.

5 Click on DVR Setup.
6 Select your HDHomeRun when it appears in the setup window.

 

7 Click Continue.
8 Click Continue after Plex scans your digital channels. If some channels are missing, you can scan for channels again.
9 Enter your language preference.
10 Enter your postal/zip code (for the purpose of adding a program guide).
11 Click Continue. You will be presented with a list of every channel available for you to watch live TV with.
12 De-select any channels you don’t want to add to Plex and then click Continue.

 

How to record your favorite live TV shows

After Plex DVR is finished creating your programming guide, you can begin scheduling and recording shows.
1 Launch the Plex Media Server on your Mac.
2 Sign in to your account.
3 Click on Program Guide in the menu on the left.
4 Click on a TV show episode or movie you want to record.

5 Click Record from the item’s summary page.
6 Click the red record button right on the image to record an entire season of a show. This will trigger a window to pop out.
7 Select All Episodes from the drop down menu under Record.


Continue this process until you have scheduled recordings for every movie or TV show you want to watch at your leisure.

How to watch your recorded live TV on Plex

Once a TV show or movie is finished recording, it will automatically appear in your Plex library. From the Plex app on any of your devices, you can log in and select the recorded content from your Movies or TV Shows library. It’s simple!

Any questions?
Do you have any questions about how to set up Plex DVR and record live TV shows and movies to watch at your leisure? Put them in the comments and I’ll help you out!

 

 

20 Secret iPhone Tips And Hacks That You Didn’t Know About

 

There are some great tips in this article for iPhone users. I knew about most of them, but was never sure anyone besides me would find them useful. Until I read this article. Time to share the wealth… Happy Weekend!

The iPhone tricks that will change how you use your handset

By Luke Johnson and Justin Mahboubian-Jones of Esquire

 

Sure, there’s plenty your trusty iPhone can already do, even if you’ve not upgraded to the shiny new iPhone 7 yet. It can help you find your way home, settle pub debates and, heck, even make the odd phone call or two. At a pinch you could probably serve small canapés off it. But this pocketable box of wonder isn’t just a pretty vessel into the world of internet joy and messaging madness. Oh no.
There are dozens of cool iPhone features hidden beneath the surface that you probably weren’t even aware of – and not just the knowledge that cat litter can bring your phone back from a watery death. These are some of the best iPhone hacks you didn’t know about, and exactly how you can find them.

 

1. CHARGE YOUR PHONE FASTER WITH A SINGLE BUTTON PRESS
Tired of waiting for your phone to recharge? Well, there is a way to speed up the re-juicing process, and it’s surprisingly simple – just engage Flight Safe mode. By knocking out all your phone’s Wi-Fi-searching, data-draining communication skills, it takes the strain off your battery while it’s being powered up. Not hugely, true – but if you’re pressed for time and looking to eke out every bit of juice, that extra 4% you’ll add in 30 minutes connected to the mains could make all the difference.

 

2. SHAVE SECONDS OFF YOUR SEARCHES
When it comes to finding out the footy scores or proving a point, getting where you need to go on the internet is all about speed and precision – something missing when you’re forced to knock out type-heavy web addresses. So save time by holding down the full stop icon whilst typing out an address to bring up a short-cut series of URL suffixes. From the classics (.com, .co.uk) to the less used (.edu, .ie), there are quick hit shortcuts for all.

 

3. DISCOVER EXACTLY WHAT YOUR PHONE KNOWS ABOUT YOU
Slightly sinisterly, your iPhone is always gathering data on you in the background – be it the apps you’re using the most, how much data you’re churning through… or even, most creepily, where you are. To see what we mean, head to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations. Here you can see not just where you’ve been, but how long you’ve spent in each place. Big Brother really is watching…

 

4. REPLACE A TOOLBOX ESSENTIAL
You’ve probably filed away the Compass app alongside the Stocks and Find Friends apps in a folder entitled ‘Crap I can’t delete’. You should pull it back out, though – as it’s got a secret second function that will help with your DIY duties. No: not using your iPhone to hammer in nails (although it can – briefly – do that too). Instead, swiping left in the Compass app brings up a very useful spirit level – a digital bubble gauge than can check if that shelf really is level. (Spoiler: it isn’t.)

 

5. LOCK YOUR CAMERA’S FOCAL POINT
We all know that tapping the screen while taking a photo will set the camera’s point of focus, right? Good. Annoyingly though, every time you move the camera after picking a focal point, it disappears. Well, no more. Instead of just tapping the screen, press for a second or two until an ‘AF Locked’ box pops up. Now you can twist, turn and swing the thing around without losing focus.

 

6. CREATE CUSTOM VIBRATIONS
Ever wished you could tell who’s calling just by how your phone feels buzzing against your leg? Now you can: In Contacts, select your person of choice and hit Edit. Here you’ll see a Vibration option. Selecting this will give you plenty of options, including the Create New Vibration tool. Making your bespoke buzz is as simple as tapping the screen to the beat of your choice.

 

7. CORRECT SIRI’S PRONUNCIATION
Siri’s a bit of a smug know-it-all – so there’s nothing better than calling it on its cock ups. Like when it mispronounces peoples’ names like an ignorant Brit abroad. So if Siri says something wrong, just tell it. Following up a mistake by saying “That’s not how you pronounce…” will see Siri ask for the correct pronunciation then let you check it’s got things right. Because we all know it’s Levi-O-sa, not Levi-o-SAR.

 

8. CLOSE THREE APPS AT ONCE
It’s not just pictures and web pages that support multi-finger gestures. You can throw additional digits into clearing up your iPhone clutter too. If you need to shut multiple applications in a hurry – for totally innocent, not hiding anything, honest reasons – you can drag three fingers up on the multitasking menu to cull the clutter quicker. Which means your phone should be snappier in double-quick time.

 

9. SET YOUR MUSIC ON A TIMER
Enjoy listening to a little soothing background music as you drift off to the Land of Nod? Then you’re probably all too familiar with waking up at 3am to some unwanted tunes. Unless, of course, you set your music to turn off on a timer. In the Clock app, slide along to the Timer options. Here under the ‘When Time Ends’ tag, you can switch out the alarm option for a ‘Stop Playing’ tag. This will turn off the tunes, be it through Apple Music or Spotify, when the timer hits zero.

 

10. TAKE A PHOTO WITHOUT TOUCHING YOUR PHONE
An oldie but a goodie iPhone hack is using your volume control buttons to capture a snap – thus saving your meaty paw blocking the screen as you attempt to hit the touchscreen controls. But if you prefer to be even further removed from your photo-capturing shutter controls? Hitting the volume button on a pair of compatible, connected headphones will have the same effect.

 

11. SAVE YOUR DATA ALLOWANCE BY LIMITING APP ACCESS
Related: Best iPhone 7 cases and covers
You’re just a third of the way through the month, and your 2GB data allowance is already starting to look a little stretched. You don’t have to cut back on your on-the-go Netflix viewing though. Instead, select which apps get demoted to the Wi-Fi-only B-list. Go to Settings > Mobile Data where you can make the big decisions one app at a time.

 

12. IMPROVE YOUR BATTERY LIFE
Spotlight, Apple’s connected quick-access for key data and services, is great for offering instant access to the latest breaking news, sports scores and social update. But that much stuff going on in the background can eat your battery life whole. Unless you turn off Spotlight features for certain apps to eke out more life per charge, that is. ‘How?’ we hear you cry? Just go Settings > General > Spotlight Search and limit what’s pulling in data behind your back.

 

13. IMPROVE YOUR SIGNAL BY KNOWING WHERE TO LOOK FOR IT
No need to hang out of a first floor window trying to discover where your iPhone’s connection is best. Type *3001#12345#* into your iPhone’s dialler and hit call to launch the hidden Field Mode tool. This sub-surface menu turns your bar chart-based signal indicator into a far more straightforward numerical-based signal signifier. Got a score of -50? Then you’ll be enjoying HD video streams on the move. Down around -120, though, and you’ll struggle to send a text. Just follow the numbers to better signals.

 

14. USE YOUR PHONE LIKE AN ETCH-A-SKETCH TO ERASE
You might have already stumbled across this one in a fit of rage, but like your childhood etch-a-sketch, your recent iPhone activities can be erased simply by giving the thing a good ol’ shake. Perfect for the plump of finger and poor of spelling, who want to skip the endless backspace bashing with a firm handset rattle. And if you’re shivering rather than shaking? Don’t worry: a pop-up will ensure you want to delete before erasing your typing.

 

15. FIND OUT EXACTLY HOW LONG YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR A REPLY
We’ve all been there: endlessly rechecking our phones for a text reply, wondering how long it’s been since we sent our message of love/ ransom demand. There’s an easy way to find out, though – simply swipe in from the right-hand side of the screen when in a messaging thread, to show precise delivery times for every message sent and received. True: it’s not as morale-beating as WhatsApp’s blue ticks, but it will still give you a complex over why it’s taking over 42 minutes for your other half to reply. Do affairs really take that long?

 

16. SHARE YOUR FAMILY TREE WITH SIRI
Does referring to your parents by their given name make you feel awkward? Then teach Siri to know who you’re chatting about. Ask Siri to call your dad and the digital PA should ask who your father is. Once a contact has been assigned to the parental moniker, every time you ask for pops moving forward, you’ll be backed up by simple, fuss-free calling.

 

17. SWIPE RIGHT TO RETREAT
For iPhone-owning Android converts, living without a dedicated back button can be a difficult adjustment to make. While the iPhone might not have an ever-present command to put things in reverse, there is a simple way to head in the wrong direction. Within a number of apps – from Safari to Mail, via Messages – swiping from left to right on the screen will send you back to the previous page or menu. Who needs a dedicated button when you’ve got a more elegant solution?

 

18. HARD-RESET WHEN IT CRASHES
You may not have realised that Home button of the iPhone 7 isn’t really a button. That’s right, it’s a fraud. Haptic feedback gives the impression of a depression, but none actually occurs, making it totally useless for a hard-reset when your phone crashes. Instead, hold down the power button and the volume down button at the same time. Your phone should reset and spring back into life.

 


19. CUSTOMIZE THE FEEL OF YOUR HOME BUTTON
Speaking of haptic feedback on the iPhone 7 Home button, it’s also possible to customise the vibration via the iPhone’s settings. Just go to Settings > General > Home button and you can select the level of feedback that feels right to you.

 


20. CREATE CUSTOM REPLIES FOR MISSED CALLS
It happens all the time: someone calls and you can’t answer. iOS comes with a few stock text responses which can be sent with a single tap, but it’s actually possible to create your own. Go to Settings > Phone > Respond With Text to create your own message.

 

Weekly Round Up – 3/24

 

In other words, Snap out of it!
Uber manager told female engineer that ‘sexism is systemic in tech’

The Mother of all Bad ideas.
White House adds a tech adviser

Somebody schedule me an intervention.
Tech Bigwigs Know How Addictive Their Products Are.

Give’em hell, Ladies!
Yes, there’s sexism in tech. Women should go into it anyway.

Remember when they were the same size as your sofa?
How speakers went from statement furniture to unseen tech.

This is not good.
Tech Roundup: A Senate Vote Is Not the Final Word on Internet Privacy.

Please be true.Please be true.Please be true.
Tech Roundup: Will Robots Replace Lawyers?

App of the Week: BusyCal 3: The better Mac calendar experience, now on iOS.

 

This week’s App is my favorite calendar App of all time, BusyCal. BusyCal has been my go to for my calendar needs since 2007. I absolutely love it! From integrated weather forecasts to the ability to add images on special dates, it is the perfect digital calendar for my needs. Everytime a new calendar app was released over the last few years, I’d try it out for a few weeks but, in the end, I’d go right back to BusyCal. I was thrilled when they released BusyCal for iOS last fall and it works seamlessly with my computers. This article is a review of the desktop and mobile versions of BusyCal and it speaks to it’s strength; (even though the author still prefers Fantasical.) I highly recommend it for gals like me, who live and die by their calendar. Try it for free here.

By J. R. Bookwalter of Macworld

 

A flexible third-party calendar app for macOS and iOS that works with all leading cloud services.

Critics and users alike love to throw shade at those built-in macOS and iOS apps—Mail is often panned for being out of date, most of us don’t want (or need) Stocks, and Maps still can’t hold a candle to Google Maps, four years after the latter was unceremoniously evicted from iOS 6.

For me, Calendar is the weakest of Apple’s built-in apps (with Reminders a close second). While the Mac version is passable enough, the iPhone app is borderline useless, even with split-screen month and list view enabled.

 

Get busy

After initially cozying up to the iOS-only Calendars 5 ($7 on the iTunes Store), I eventually settled on Fantastical 2 ($3 on the iTunes Store, despite initial reservations about the lack of a good month view on iPhone. Occasional bugs with recurring to-dos aside, I’ve never looked back.

That is, until the recent release of BusyCal 3, a sequel four years in the making. Back in 2012, OS X Mountain Lion 10 and iOS 6 were the latest and greatest Apple had to offer, and BusyCal 2 was a refreshing change of pace from the now widely-scorned skeuomorphic look and feel of Cupertino’s gaudy Calendar apps.

At $50, I didn’t pay much attention to BusyCal at the time, although Macworld sang its praises in a review, calling the integration of Calendar and Reminders “far superior” to Apple’s dual-application approach. And while that’s still true today, the folks at BusyMac had their work cut out for them catching up to younger rivals like Fantastical.

For the most part, they’ve succeeded: BusyCal 3 has been overhauled with a modern user interface that ironically takes more than a few design cues from the Calendar in OS X El Capitan, aside from the Info panel along the right-hand side, the two applications could almost be mistaken for one another.

 

 

Back to Mac

With version 3.0, BusyCal ($50 from BusyMac) plays a bit of catch-up, most notably adding travel time, a feature Apple introduced in the OS X Mavericks edition of Calendar three years ago. If you’ve used it before, the implementation here is identical: While adding location-based events, BusyCal displays how long it takes to drive or walk there, then uses current traffic conditions to alert you when it’s time to leave the house.

This “me too” feature aside, BusyCal 3 delivers impressive enhancements in other areas, such as smooth infinite scrolling for trackpad owners (Calendar now seems downright creaky by comparison), and a revamped Info panel which integrates synced Apple Reminders as a to-do list. To-dos can be assigned specific times or dates, and now appear in the main calendar view alongside regular events.

My favorite feature is the forecast powered by Weather Underground, which displays high and low temperatures for the next 10 days, along with moon phases adjacent to the date. This data is acquired by manually entering a city, ZIP code, or using your current location, and really helps when trying to plan outdoor activities for the week ahead.

Last but not least, BusyCal 3’s menu bar app has received a makeover, adding a mini-month calendar perched atop a scrolling event list. While it’s a welcome improvement, the menu bar is mostly for show and nowhere near as functional as Fantastical, where you can not only add but also edit events without ever opening the main application.

Going mobile

The return of BusyCal is reason enough to celebrate, but this time it’s not alone. For the first time, there’s now an iOS version as well ($3 on the iTunes Store. That means Mac users can finally have the same experience across platforms, rather than being forced to use a different calendar on mobile.

For the most part, the iOS app is a faithful port of the desktop edition, so there’s no steep learning curve. However, it’s lacking a Today widget, 3D Touch, and sharing extension support, so it doesn’t feel quite feature-complete yet. You also can’t sync accounts or settings, a minor inconvenience for those of us with multiple devices.

After missing a good month view on Fantastical, I was quite happy to see one in BusyCal 3, although it feels a little cramped even on my iPhone 6s Plus. Rotating into landscape mode helps, but it’s strictly for viewing; you can’t add or edit events with the iPhone held this way. I had the opposite problem on my iPad Pro; text is too small and there’s a lot of excess white space, but no settings to compensate for either.
There are a few fun flourishes to be found: Emoji and icons added from the Mac’s Graphics panel show up on iOS (but you can’t add new ones from mobile); when adding a new event, BusyCal 3 conveniently scrolls that date to the top of the calendar for better visibility, briefly animating with a subtle confirmation.
Bottom line
While I remain partial to Fantastical 2 for its full-featured menu bar app alone, BusyCal 3 is a winning combination for anyone looking to make a break from Apple’s underwhelming built-in apps.

 

How to: get Siri to read articles and other text on iOS and macOS

 

 

Over the weekend, I published an article about the cool features built into The Amazon Echo and their A.I., Alexa. I didn’t want fans of Apple’s A.I. Siri to fell left out, so, I’m sharing this piece on one of Siri’s coolest features. Who needs audiobooks? Not me and not Siri..

By Greg Barbosa-Cult of Mac

While Siri may not be the perfect companion some wish it was, the personal assistant’s voice can lend itself to our lives in a variety of helpful ways. For the past few months I’ve been using Siri to read all the text I want to read but don’t actually need to read. Having the personal assistant read articles to me means I can focus on other activities while essentially turning my reading lists and emails into a personalized podcast.

Withings Body Wi-Fi Scale

Having Siri read your content can be quite a liberating feeling. It allows you to consume all the reading material you like, but with the added benefit of not having to have your face buried in a screen. Enabling this feature also means you can even navigate between apps, and Siri will continue to read the content you initiated!

HAVING SIRI READ ALOUD ON IOS

To get Siri to start speaking to you on iOS, we’ll have to enable an Accessibility feature. To do so, head into your iOS Settings → General → Accessibility → Speech section.

 

From here you’ll see two options: Speak Selection and Speak Screen. Enabling the first allows you to select a group of text and have Siri read that specific group back to you. Selecting the second allows you have Siri read everything that is visible on your screen. Personally, I’ve enabled both features.

Tip: While in this section, enable the Highlight Content option as well. Enabling it allows you to visually follow along with what is being read onscreen.

Both Speech features are powerful in different ways, but the Speak Screen option is one I’ve found myself using much more often on iOS. I use the Speak Selection feature to have her pronounce unknown words to me, and the latter to have her read large amounts of text. To activate Speak Screen use two-fingers to swipe down over the iOS Status Bar. A small opaque window will appear and begin reading the content aloud. I usually enable Speak Screen whenever I’m going through emails or my reading list.

 

That window has a few controls to assist in the speech while the content is being read. If you want to speed up Siri’s reading rate tap the bunny, and to slow it down tap the turtle. Tapping the forward and backward options will jump through to the next major break in a group of text (usually paragraphs or user interface elements). Pressing Pause will pause the speech.

Tip: You may notice when text is being read that Siri will pronounce things incorrectly. You can edit a word’s specific pronunciation under Settings → General → Accessibility → Speech → Pronunciations.

HAVING SIRI READ ALOUD ON MACOS

On macOS, the process is slightly different than iOS. Launch System Preferences and navigate to Accessibility → Speech and enable Speak selected text when the key is pressed.

 

The difference here is that on macOS, this feature works better when it’s treated more like the Speak Selection feature on iOS. If you were to hit the configured keys while just looking at any screen, you may find that Siri reads back what is seemingly random text. I’ve found that the best way to have Siri read the text back to you on macOS is to highlight the group of text you want read and then to hit the configured key command. At least in this manner you know was it being read aloud.

Tip: Both iOS and macOS feature a Voices section under their Speech features. You can change the voice that is heard when text is read to find a more fitting one for your taste. I’ve chosen Alex as he sounds more natural than some of the other voices.

Over the past few years Apple’s commitment to integrating accessibility features into its software has become a highlight of its products. While many users may not need the accessibility features iOS and macOS provides, we can still benefit from the powers they hold. We’ve covered using the low light filter to lower iOS brightness even further, and hope you’ll find using Siri to read text useful as well.

Have you found yourself using any of iOS or macOS’ accessibility features? Let us know in the comments.