Listening to articles in Pocket with Text-to-Speech

Pocket Pocket Last updated: 01/03/2024 45% of users voted this helpful

When you press the headphones button, Pocket will read the article back to you as if you were streaming a song on a music app. You can also listen to articles while you’re offline using your device’s text to speech capabilities.

Listen on iOS

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In the main carousel menu, click the headphones icon to start listening. You can browse through eligible articles from here. You can also select the listen button in Article View.

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Listen in Article View on Android

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

Note: It is currently not possible to read and listen at the same time.

Controlling Playback (iOS and Android)

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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 and get back to Pocket, swipe down on the listen screen until it disappears.

Additional Listen options (Android only)

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

  • Voice and Language – Select the language and voice that will be used when listening offline.

Listen while you’re offline (iOS and Android)

Depending on your connection, Pocket will either use high quality streaming voices or lower quality text-to-speech voices. When you’re online, the high-quality voices will be used, and when you’re offline or drop your connection, Pocket will automatically switch to the other text to speech. Then, if your device comes back online, Pocket will resume using the high-quality voices for the next article.

If you have a limited amount of cellular data available, you can disable the high-quality streaming voices and save on bandwidth. To do so, tap the gear icon to open Voice Options, and enable Always Use Offline Voices.

Additional Listen settings (Android only)

On Android, tap the gear icon in the upper right corner to open the Listen settings menu. In this menu, you can customize the following settings:

  • Language and Voice options – On Android, you can download and install additional Text-to-Speech engines (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.

Listen when your device is offline

By default, you’ll hear a pre-selected voice for offline reading. Android users can choose additional voice options when listening offline. 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. Tap Voice.
  4. Tap your preferred voice option to select it.

Listen in 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 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

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. Links that only open in View Original (not Article View) will not be accessible by the listen feature.
  • The article may be behind a paywall. If a website has a paywall that limits access to subscribers, listening will unfortunately not be possible at this time.

Which languages are supported by the Listen feature in Pocket?

Pocket supports voice options that are available via the built-in voice settings on iOS and Android devices.

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