Pocket, which lets you easily save articles for offline (or just convenient) reading, is one of the most useful apps I have on my phone.
But lately I’ve become obsessed with a feature many Pocket users have probably never even heard of: having a robot read articles to me.
This feature is called “Listen TTS” (text-to-speech), and has been available since last year on both iOS and Android.
The basic premise is that Pocket will scan the article you saved and read it out loud to you. Let’s get this out of the way first: it’s not perfect. The robot’s voice isn’t the quality of your latest premium audio book, and there are going to be times when it sounds awkward.
But I found that, after about the first 30 seconds, it was easy to understand. None of stories I was trying to absorb were getting lost in translation. This feature is particularly useful for my commute, which switches from “times I can stare at my phone” to “times I really shouldn’t stare at my phone.” Since Pocket tracks where you are in the narrative, you can toggle start listening and then finish by reading, or vice versa.
If you want the robot to speak faster or slower, you can also toggle that.
Here’s how you turn on the feature if you are interested in trying it out: