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What is Personal Voice? Apple’s AI tool explained

Apple’s iOS 17 brings a new accessibility feature, and it’s called Personal Voice. The new tool creates a synthesised voice that you can use to communicate with others on your iPhone. Here are the basics.

Apple offers a range of accessibility options across its apps, and Personal Voice is a brand-new addition.

This feature is available across iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and MacOS Sonoma, meaning you can access it on iPhone 12 or later, iPad Air (5th Gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd Gen) or later, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th Gen) or later and M-series Macs.

What is Personal Voice?

Personal Voice is a new accessibility feature from Apple. The tool allows you to create a synthesised voice that can then be used to speak on FaceTime and phone calls. It can also be used within assistive communication apps as well as in person.

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To create a new voice, your iOS 17, iPadOS 17 or MacOS Sonoma device will ask you to recite 15 minutes of audio. Personal Voice will then process your speech overnight when your device is charged and on Wi-Fi. Your speech is processed using on-device machine learning to ensure this data is kept private and secure.

You’ll then be able to create multiple voices from your inputted audio. For a more in-depth guide on how to do this, read our how to set up a personal voice guide.

Apple touts Personal Voice as being for users at risk of losing their ability to speak, including “those with a recent diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other conditions that can progressively impact speaking ability”.

Philip Green, a board member and ALS advocate at the Team Gleason nonprofits declared, “At the end of the day, the most important thing is being able to communicate with friends and family … If you can tell them you love them, in a voice that sounds like you, it makes all the difference in the world, and being able to create your synthetic voice on your iPhone in just 15 minutes is extraordinary.”

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