How to Make Your Phone Read Your Texts

Need to use voice texting on your Android? Here are a few ways to get it done

read me my text messages
Getty Images (ryccio #475980057) 

You can compose text messages as well as have your Android device read them back to you aloud via the operating system's voice commands or through free-to-download apps found in the Google Play store, like utter! Voice Commands. We've listed the best methods below, including quick tutorials on how to use each.

Note: The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

How to Enable "OK Google"

The Google app, installed by default on most Android devices, provides basic voice texting functionality without the need for any additional software. As long as you're running Android 4.4 or above and have the Voice & Audio Activity setting activated, you're good to go.

It all starts by speaking the words "OK Google." If this feature is enabled, you'll get a response to the command. If nothing happens when you try to use this feature, however, you'll need to enable Google voice detection. Here's how to do that: 

  1. Open the Google app
  2. Tap on the menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and usually located in the bottom right-hand corner
  3. When the menu appears, choose Settings
  4. Tap on Voice and then Voice Match
  5. Follow the on-screen prompts to enable voice detection from within the Google app

If this is your first time using this voice detection feature on your device and you say "OK Google", you may be prompted on whether or not you'd like to enable this functionality. You can also tap on the microphone icon, located in the Google app or in the search bar found on your device's home screen, prior to speaking a command.

Examples of commands OK Google responds to:

  • Show me my last messages: Your five most recent texts will now be read aloud, with Google's virtual assistant first letting you know the sender of each message and asking if you would like for it to be read or skipped. You are also given the option to reply using nothing but your voice.
  • Send a text: If you'd like to send a new message as opposed to replying, say Send a text following the "Ok Google" command. You'll then be prompted for the name of the person you'd like to text as well as the message verbiage. It's that simple and it's all completely hands-free.
  • Do I have any messages?: Informs you of any new text messages that you may have received.
  • Show me my last message: Brings your most recent conversation into focus.

Using Google Assistant

Another way to utilize Google's voice commands is through the Google Assistant app, downloadable for free in Google Play. Once installed, simply open the app and speak the same voice commands as described above in the Ok Google section when prompted.

Third-Party Apps to Read Your Texts

In addition to reading and sending texts with Google's built-in voice assistant, there are several third-party apps available that also allow for audio-only texting. Here are some of the more well-known options.

  • ReadItToMe: Reads your incoming messages aloud and even translates them to proper English, if need be, which can be very helpful when you receive texts rife with spelling errors or shorthand.
  • Text by Voice: Allows you to send and receive SMS messages with only your voice, and can be configured to automatically read all incoming texts aloud while you are driving or during user-specified time intervals.
  • messageLOUD: Converts not only your texts to audio but also email, Skype, WhatsApp and Facebook messages.
  • Speaking SMS & Call Announcer: Basic but to the point, this app reads the sender's name and text verbiage aloud on command.