How to get high quality voices for VoiceOver on iOS7 devices

Apples iOS7 for mobile devices has been out for some time now and it has received some great reviews from the disabled community for its improved accessibility across its whole system. However, many visually impaired people (me included) were unimpressed by the voice used by VoiceOver. Basically the default voice for all iOS7 devices is the compact mobile version of British English Daniel. The compact voice takes up less space in the phone’s memory but sadly the sound quality in the opinion of most visually impaired users is very low compared to the high quality version of the same voice.

But fear not, as part of iOS7 Apple have not only given users the option to download and use the high quality version of the voice, but have also included several other voices which can be used either as compact versions or high quality versions.

As so many blind and visually impaired people that I know use iPhones, iPods or iPads I thought I would write this short guide on how to download and use the new voices available or simply change the default compact voice to the high quality version.

Here is what to do:

1. Go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility.

2. Go into VoiceOver then into the Languages and Dialects option.

3. Go into Default Dialect (it will say British English).

4. You will now have several different voices to choose from that you can download. These include American, Irish, Australian etc. Note that all of these voices are already on your device but they are all the compact versions. You can simply double tap on the voice you want and VoiceOver will use it as its default but remember it will be the compact version of that voice.

To get the High Quality version of any particular voice do the following:

1. Choose the voice you want and double tap it so the device is speaking in that voice.

2. Then beneath the different voice options you will find that there is a voice quality button. Double tap that button and your device will pop up with a warning that the high quality voice is a larger file and asks you if you want to continue. Obviously if you want the voice then double tap the ok/continue button. Your device will then download the High Quality version of the voice you have selected. This may take a couple of minutes so don’t panic if it does.

3. Once you’ve done this go back to the VoiceOver menu and there will now be a button called “use compact voice.” This toggles between switching the compact voice on and off. Switch it off and you will have the nice clear High Quality voice. Switch it on and you will have the compact voice.

I hope you have found this post useful. If you have, then please do share it with any visually impaired people who may benefit from it.

James Goldsworthy.

Founder, Alternate Visions Coaching.

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