Listening to Articles in Pocket with Text-to-Speech

Introduction

With listen, you can have your articles in Pocket read out loud. This is perfect for those times when you’re doing chores around the house or driving during your commute, when your eyes and hands are busy.

In This Article

When you press listen, Pocket will read the article back to you as if you were streaming a song on a music app (like Spotify or Apple Music). For Android users, listen is also available offline using your device’s text-to-speech capabilities.

Continue reading to learn how to use listen in Pocket on iOS and Android, with Amazon Alexa, and as a bonus, how to listen to articles on your computer as well.

Using Listen (TTS) on iOS

Starting listen from your List

When you open your List, you'll see a headphones button in the toolbar. Tap this button to launch listen, and tap the Play button to start listening to the first article at the top of your List. Or, scroll down to choose a different article from your playlist.

Starting Listen in Article View

Open an article and tap the headphones button. The listen menu will appear, and the article will begin playing immediately.

Controlling Playback

Using the controls in the listen screen, you can select additional playback options, including:

  • Change voice speed
  • Play/Pause
  • Skip to the next article (when paused)
  • Skip ahead/back 15 seconds (when listening)
  • Archive the Article you’re listening to

To stop listening, swipe down on the listen screen until it disappears.

Note: You can use Listen on iPhone and iPad when you’re connected to the Internet. Listen is not available offline in Pocket for iOS at this time.

Using Listen (TTS) on Android

Starting listen from your List

When you open your List, you'll see a headphones button in the toolbar. Tap this button to launch listen, and tap the Play button to start listening to the first article at the top of your List. Or, scroll down to choose a different article from your playlist.

Starting listen from an Article

You can also start listening to an article when you're viewing it in Article View. To do so, open an article in Article View, then tap the headphones button in the top-right corner to start listening automatically.

While You’re Listening

When you start listening in Pocket, you’ll see a new toolbar appear at the bottom of your screen. Tap the middle of the Listen toolbar to show and hide additional playback options, including:

  • Play/Pause
  • Skip ahead/back 15 seconds
  • Skip to the next/previous article (if listening from your List)
  • Archive the Article you’re listening to
  • Change voice speed

Additional settings for listen

Tap the gear icon in the upper right corner to open the listen settings menu. In this menu, you can customize the following settings:

  • Stream best-quality voices - When this option is enabled, Pocket will use server-generated voices.  If this option is disabled, Pocket will use the text-to-speech processing function on your device.
  • Language and Voice Options - When “Stream best-quality voices” is disabled, you can select a language and preferred voice. For more voices, you can download and install additional Text-to-Speech Engines for Android. (See below.)
  • Auto Play - If enabled, Pocket will automatically play the next article in your playlist. Turn this off to Listen to articles one at a time.
  • Automatic Archiving - If enabled, articles that you listen to completely will be Archived automatically.

Listening when your device is offline

When you’re online, you’ll have access to streamable voice options. When you’re offline, you can use voice options that have been downloaded to your device.

By default, you’ll hear a pre-selected voice for offline reading. To choose a different voice for offline listening, you can take the following steps:

  1. Tap the headphones button to open the listen menu
  2. Tap the gear icon to access additional voice options
  3. If already enabled, tap to uncheck “Stream best quality voices”. This unlocks the voice language and voice options
  4. Tap Voice
  5. Tap your preferred voice option to select it. Note that voice options with the cloud icon are only available when you’re online.

Listening to Pocket on Amazon Alexa

You can listen to articles in Pocket on your Echo and Alexa-enabled devices. Simply install the Pocket Skill to get started.

Click here to learn more about listening to articles in Pocket with Amazon Alexa.

Listening to Pocket on Your Computer

Firefox (Mac and PC)

If you’re using the Firefox browser, you can listen to articles using the text-to-speech feature in Firefox Reader View. Click here to learn how to listen to articles in Firefox using Firefox Reader View.

Pocket for Mac and Pocket for Web (Mac only)

Your Mac has built-in text-to-speech functionality. Here’s how to listen to an article in Pocket for Mac or Pocket for Web:

  1. Open an Article
  2. Highlight (or select) the text you want to hear
  3. Right-click (or Command+click) the highlighted text, and navigate to Speech > Start Speaking. You can also go to the Edit > Speech > Start Speaking.
  4. To stop speaking at any time go to the Edit > Speech > Stop Speaking

Common Questions

The Listen (TTS) option seems to be missing for me. What can I do?

Listen (TTS) is available for articles. If an item you’ve saved to Pocket is not an article and shown in Web View, the listen option will not be shown.

Why am I unable to listen to certain articles?

There are a few reasons why you may not be able to listen to an article. This includes the following:

  • We don’t identify the saved link as an article. The page may not be an article, such as a recipe, index page, or another type of webpage.
  • Pocket may not be correctly identifying the page as an article.
  • If you’re using Pocket on iOS, the article may be in a language we don’t support. Please see the languages listed below to see which are currently supported by Pocket.
  • The article may be behind a paywall. If a website has a  paywall which limits access to subscribers, listening will unfortunately not be possible at this time.

If you discover an article that you’re not able to listen to in Pocket, we’re happy to look into it! Click here to contact Pocket Support and let us know.

Which languages are supported by the listen feature in Pocket?

Pocket for iOS and Android uses high quality, natural sounding voices powered by Amazon Polly. The following languages are supported:

Danish Norwegian
Dutch Polish
English Portuguese
French Romanian
Hindi Russian
German Spanish
Icelandic Swedish
Italian Turkish
Japanese Welsh
Korean

If you use Pocket for Android, you can listen to articles in additional voices by disabling the high quality voices and switch to your device’s text-to-speech processing. Instructions are included above. Click here to view them.

We’re working to expand the number of voice options in upcoming releases. If you’d like to listen in additional languages in Pocket, please click here to let us know.

Still need help? Contact Pocket Support Contact Pocket Support