Read Aloud from locked screens on iPhone and Android

A small but important change is coming to Word mobile app for iPhone, iPad or Android.  You’re able to continue listening to a ‘Read Aloud’ document from the lock screen.

At the moment, Word will stop reading a document to you if the lock screen is enabled (usually because there’s been no screen taps for a while).  Most audio playing apps (like the over-reliable VLC) will keep running on the lock screen with some on-screen controls.

Read Aloud in the Word app for Android devices and iPhone will now keep playing from the lock screen with some controls, just like other audio apps. Read Aloud on the lock screen also works on an iPad even though Microsoft doesn’t specifically mention that.

Discover the Read Aloud and Dictation features in Microsoft Office, we have a whole book about them in Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android. Dictation and Read Aloud in Office

Source: Microsoft

Start Read Aloud from the Word mobile app, as usual, it’s on the main menu. If the device reverts to the lock screen when Read Aloud is enabled, the playback controls appear.

Pause/Play, back or forward. The same main button actions as in the Word mobile app (without Settings or Close);.

Back: start reading from the start of the paragraph, tap more times to skip back to earlier paragraphs.

Forward: skip reading to the start of the next paragraph. Multiple taps moves to later paragraphs.

It was strange that Microsoft only mentions iPhone for this innovation, not iPad. So Office Watch checked and, sure enough, Read Aloud is on the iPad lock screen.

Read Aloud controls on the iPad lock screen

Who gets it?

Read Aloud on the lock screen is appearing in Word mobile apps from:

  • iOS Version 2.59 (Build 22022802) or later
  • Android Build 16.0.15104.10000 or later

But is also subject to Microsoft’s gradual rollout process so it might not appear even if you have the right app version.

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