Screen reader

Screen readers are software applications that attempt to convey what is seen on a screen display in a non-visual way, usually as text to speech, but also into braille or sound icons. Screen readers are essential to people who are visually impaired, illiterate, or have a learning disability. There are some browser extension screen readers, but most screen readers operate system-wide for all user applications, not just the browser.

In terms of web accessibility, most user agents provide an accessibility object model and screen readers interact with dedicated accessibility APIs, using various operating system features and employing hooking techniques.

Common screen readers


iOS and macOS comes with VoiceOver, a built-in screen reader. To access VoiceOver on macOS, go to System Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver. You can also toggle VoiceOver on and off with fn + Command + F5. VoiceOver both reads aloud and displays content. The content read aloud is displayed in a dark grey box.

VoiceOver can also be used with commands shortcuts. See VoiceOver general commands on Mac for a complete list.

See VoiceOver User Guide for Mac and Use VoiceOver in apps on iPhone for more information.


Narrator is a screen-reading application that's built into Windows 10 and Windows 11.

See Complete guide to Narrator.


Chromebooks have a built-in screen reader called ChromeVox, which enables people with visual impairments to use the Chrome operating system.

See ChromeVox screen reader for more information.

See also