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How to set up Personal Voice on your iPhone

A screenshot showing how to open the iPhone Accessibility tab

Apple gave your iPhone a new feature called Personal Voice with the release of iOS 17. It uses machine learning to analyze your speech and create an AI-generated version that sounds similar to the way you speak. This takes speech synthesis to a new level.

Many Android phones lack this capability. However, Google has similar text-to-speech capabilities as an accessibility feature. It works differently, and there isn’t an option to use a voice that sounds like yours. For example, you can use Android’s real-time text (RTT) feature to speed up text messaging and make conversations flow more like you’re accustomed to when speaking.

What is Personal Voice?

Personal Voice is an option in iOS 17 that allows your iPhone to synthesize speech based on several samples of your voice. Apple uses artificial intelligence to create a voice simulator with technology similar to that used to make a deepfake but with a nobler purpose.

This accessibility feature preserves your voice in the event you can’t vocalize your thoughts. Communication disorders affect many people, and this disability can be temporary, permanent, or progressive.

Neurological disorders like ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke affect the nervous system, sometimes interfering with the ability to speak. Speech impediments can make communication difficult, and laryngitis can make your voice too soft to hear.

You can use Apple’s Personal Voice to type to speak in a voice that sounds more like you when you can’t use your natural speech. However, you must set up Personal Voice while you can still speak.

You can’t use Personal Voice as a voice for Siri or with another speech option on Apple devices.

How do I add my voice to my iPhone?

It’s easy to add your voice to your iPhone if it’s a recent model running iOS 17 or newer. Personal Voice supports other Apple devices, and you can share your synthesized voice across devices with iCloud.

Here’s how to set up Personal Voice and add your voice as an option for text-to-speech communication.

Personal Voice is only available in English.

Record voice samples

  1. Open the Settings app, then scroll down and select the Accessibility tab.
  2. Scroll down and choose Personal Voice in the Speech section.
  3. Select Create a Personal Voice and authenticate with Face ID, TouchID, or passcode to record speech samples.
  4. Find a quiet place to record the samples with good sound quality.
  5. Tap Continue to move through the instructions.
  6. Your iPhone lets you know if the background noise levels are acceptable after the first sound test.
  7. Read the short sentence that appears on your screen, then tap the record button and read that phrase aloud, speaking in a normal, conversational voice.
  8. Your iPhone pauses briefly after you finish speaking before advancing to the next phase, which you can speak as soon as you’re ready.
  9. Continue this process for all 150 phrases.

You can listen to any recording and redo it. You can also pause and complete the recording later. We cover those steps below.

Redo phrase recordings

The iPhone pauses a moment after you speak a phrase. Tap the Listen button to hear the sample it captured. You can redo the recording if you don’t want to save the result by selecting the record button again. A circular symbol with an arrow on the button indicates you are recording. Use the blue arrows above the phrase to move forward and backward through the recorded phrases.

Pause and finish recording later

If it becomes too noisy or you need to take a break from the recording, tap the record button when it shows the pause symbol (two vertical lines). To begin recording again, open Personal Voice in the Settings app and select Continue recording.

Delete a Personal Voice

You can delete a Personal Voice and start over from the beginning if you aren’t satisfied with the sound quality or the results don’t represent your speech.

Open Personal Voice in Settings, select the voice you want to delete, and tap Delete.

It’s okay to store multiple versions of your voice. Look at the date stamp to find the recent Personal Voice.

How long does it take to create a Personal Voice?

The time required for your iPhone to create a Personal Voice based on your speech samples varies, but it isn’t fast. There are two parts to the process.

You need about half an hour to speak the 150 phrases Apple requires. Then, you must put your iPhone on a charger and lock the phone by pressing the side button to enter sleep mode.

Your iPhone processes the data using machine learning to generate a synthesized voice, so you can communicate verbally in your Personal Voice by typing.

Our iPhone 13 Pro Max generated a Personal Voice in about two hours. Newer models with faster neural processors can complete this task quicker, while slower devices may take longer.

How do I use Personal Voice?

Turn on Live Speech in the Settings app to use this new text-to-speech option. This toggle and a few options are in the Accessibility tab under the Speech heading.

Triple-click the side button to open the Live Speech panel at the bottom of your iPhone’s screen. You can type in this panel or choose from Favorite Phrases that you set up in the Settings app. The words are spoken through your iPhone’s speakers when you send a phrase through Live Speech.

It also works during FaceTime and phone calls, making personalized communication sound more natural to yourself and others.

Live Speech works independently of Personal Voice. You can choose any of Apple’s pre-made synthesized voices if you can’t create a Personal Voice or prefer a different voice.

What Apple devices support Personal Voice?

Apple says you need an iPhone 12 or newer to create a Personal Voice. You can also use a MacBook or Mac desktop computer that has Apple Silicon, an iPad Air (5th generation or later), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation) or later, or iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) or later.

After creating your voice on one device, you can choose it when using Live Speech on supported Apple devices. You must use one of the devices listed above or an Apple Watch with watchOS 10 to play back a Personal Voice you created, even though Live Speech supports older Apple devices.

Is it safe to use Personal Voice?

Apple claims on its support page that your iPhone generates your Personal Voice on the device without sending any data to the cloud for processing. That means creating a synthesized voice using this technology should be safe.

Apple encrypts the data when syncing through iCloud, making it difficult for a hacker to use your Personal Voice even if they gain access to the encrypted file.

Anyone with access and the ability to unlock your Apple device can use Live Speech to simulate your voice after you create a Personal Voice.

Other iPhone accessibility features

Personal Voice is one of many iPhone assistive features. Android has at least as many options to accommodate almost any need. Read about these rival operating systems and their approaches in our comparison of iOS and Android accessibility technologies. We also rated the biggest features of iOS 17 and Android 14 in a head-to-head challenge to determine the best choice for you.

Whichever solution you pick, learning how to make the most of your phone’s most helpful features makes these devices more important and useful than ever.

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