How to Type to Speak During FaceTime and iPhone Calls

How to Type to Speak During FaceTime and iPhone Calls

  06 Jan 2024

Key Takeaways

  • You can use Live Speech to communicate during FaceTime and phone calls by typing. It also works in select third-party apps like WhatsApp.
  • To use Live Speech on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, your device must be updated to iOS/iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, or later.
  • When enabled, the words you type will be spoken out loud to your recipient through their device’s speakers.


Whether you’re an individual with speech impairment or you want to be discreet during a call, Apple’s Live Speech feature lets you communicate by typing during a FaceTime or regular phone call. We’ll show you how to use it.


How to Use Live Speech on Your iPhone or iPad

Live Speech is one of the many Apple accessibility features on iPhone and iPad that target individuals with speech impairments, allowing you to communicate by typing whatever you want to convey. Anything you type is seamlessly spoken out loud on the recipient’s end.

To use Live Speech on your iPhone or iPad, your device must be running iOS/iPadOS 17 or later. If needed, update your device by heading to Settings > General > Software Update. If you own an older device, double-check if your iPhone or iPad is compatible with iOS 17 or iPadOS 17. Once you’re all set, follow the steps below to set up Live Speech:

  1. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Live Speech.
  2. Toggle on the switch next to Live Speech.
  3. Now, select the language you’d like to have your messages spoken in and choose your desired voice. You can preview a voice by tapping the play button.
  4. When you find a voice you like, tap the download icon next to it.
  5. Wait for the download to finish, and then select the voice.

Once you’re all set, start a call and triple-click your iPhone’s Side button (or your iPad’s Top button) to activate Live Speech. Then, type the message you’d like to have spoken in the text box that appears. Once you hit send, your typed message will be read aloud on the recipient’s end.

How to Use Live Speech on Your Mac

To use Live Speech on your Mac, make sure it’s running macOS Sonoma or later. Head to System Settings > General > Software Update to check for the latest macOS version available if you’re not current yet. Then follow the steps below to use Live Speech:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the menu bar and choose System Settings from the dropdown.
  2. Select Accessibility from the sidebar.
  3. Scroll down and click Live Speech under the Speech header.
  4. Once you toggle on Live Speech here, you’ll see a Type to Speak text box at the top of your screen. If you’d like to hide it, simply click the Live Speech icon in the upper-right corner of the menu bar.

  5. Click Use System Language next to Preferred Language in the Live Speech settings menu to change your preferred language.
  6. Likewise, click Use System Voice next to Voice to choose the voice you want your text to be spoken in. If you can’t find a voice you like and need more options, scroll to the bottom of the dropdown and click Manage Voices.
  7. Now, preview a voice by clicking the play button and install it by clicking the download icon next to it.
    using live speech on a whatsapp call on macbook

When you’re ready, start or enter a call and click the Live Speech icon in the menu bar. Then click the text box, type your message, and press the Return key to send it.

Create a Personal Voice for Typing to Speak During Calls

If you can’t find a voice you like or would like the speech to sound more realistic, you can create a Personal Voice instead. This is a synthesized voice that sounds similar to your own.

You can create a Personal Voice on iPhone or iPad by going to Settings > Accessibility > Personal Voice. Now, tap Create a Personal Voice, enter your device’s passcode, and follow the on-screen instructions.

To create a Personal Voice on your Mac, go to System Settings > Accessibility > Personal Voice. Now, click Create a Personal Voice, enter your Mac’s admin password, and follow the on-screen instructions.

creating a personal voice on a macbook

While using Personal Voice to create a replica of your actual voice is a fairly time-consuming process, we highly recommend taking the time to set it up for Live Speech. By doing so, anything you type will be spoken in your own voice, allowing you to better communicate with your loved ones!

Live Speech isn’t limited to FaceTime and regular phone calls. You can use it in supported third-party apps as well. For instance, I tested this feature during a WhatsApp call, and it worked perfectly.

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