Apps, iPhone Apps, Reading

How to Read More on iPhones

iPhone users have an entire universe in their pockets. With all the entertainment options out there, it can be difficult to focus on one of the more traditional pastimes: reading. 

Those who want to spend more time reading are in luck; there are thousands of apps out there that summarize the classics. And, on top of the more obvious options, there are settings, free resources, and other apps that can optimize your reading experience.  

So, if you’re wondering how to read more books on your iPhone, you’re in the right place. 

Optimize Your iPhone Settings 

Accessibility features can make a world of difference for people who want to learn how to read more on their iPhones. 

Customize Your Text 

You can change the size and weight of your text, as well as the darkness in apps that support Dynamic Type. Settings, Mail, Messages, Notes, and the Calendar apps all support Dynamic Type. 

Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size to change any of the following presets. 

  • Text size. Drag the slider to adjust the size of the text and make it more legible. 
  • Boldness. Turn on Bold Text to emphasize the text on your screen. 
  • Darkness. Turn on Increase Contrast to make the text stand out. 
  • Identify tappable text. Turn on Button Shapes to automatically underline and highlight text that is tappable.  

Strategically Move Apps 

When I first became interested in how to read more books on my iPhone, I started by organizing my apps into folders. To avoid apps draining my time, all the usual suspects (Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit) went into a folder labeled “Social media”. 

Once all the apps were neatly tidied away, I placed the folders on the second page of my home screen and left all the reading-related apps on the first page. Although it only takes a millisecond to swipe to get to the folders, that could be just enough time to remind yourself about your reading goals. 

Check Out Free eBooks 

The rise of eBook apps such as Amazon Kindle has been great for bibliophiles, but these types of apps require monthly subscriptions. The good news is that there are plenty of places to access eBooks for free on your iPhone. 

  • Google Books. You might have to search around for books that have previews, but Google Books is still a great option for people who want immediate access to timeless classics. 
  • Project Gutenberg. Offering over 70,000 free eBooks, Project Gutenberg is one of the largest resources for free reading materials on the web.
  • Open Library. You can read, borrow, and discover more than three million books via Open Library. 

Make Websites More Readable 

Before you search the web for how to read more on your iPhone, you need to ensure that your settings are optimized. 

There are dozens of ways to make websites more readable on iPhones, but here are our favorites. 

Use Safari’s Reader View

Reader View simplifies the text on the page by removing ads and preset layouts, creating a distraction-free reading experience. It is great for people who want to reduce eye strain, eliminate visual distractions, and get to the heart of whatever article or book they want to read. 

This feature is only available on Safari. Safari is the default browser on iOS, so it’s not difficult to find. 

To activate Reader View, just click the “AA” icon located in the address bar. This will open up a menu of options where you can click “Show Reader”.

You can even customize the font and size of the text, as well as the background color of the page. Some might prefer a white background, while others find white text with a black background far more readable. 

Image from CNET

Are you frequently putting off your reading? Check out our 4 Best Read-it-Later Apps for iPhones.

Transform Text into Spoken Word

There’s a lot of discourse about how to read more books, but what about articles? It’s easy enough to find audible versions of literary classics, but the same can’t be said for long-form blog content. 

If you want to read (or rather, listen to) an in-depth exposé in Vanity Fair or a thought piece from The New Yorker, you’re in luck.

Go to Settings  > Accessibility > Spoken Content and turn on “Speak Selection” or “Speak Screen”. If you choose “Speak Selection” a speak button will appear every time you select text. If you choose “Speak Screen” you can swipe down with two fingers at the top of any article and Siri will read you the whole page.

Image from MacWorld

Find Apps that Suit Your Reading Style 

We are using the term “reading” loosely here, but bear with us. Audiobooks and book summaries are replacing traditional books because they fit into our modern, fast-paced lives. Finding time to read entire books has never been more difficult, which is why so many people are switching to alternatives. 

You can find our 5 Best Apps for Reading on iPhones here. 

Get the SparkNotes Version 

Granted, this might not be the best option for people who like the experience of reading a book, but it’s great for people who want to find the nuggets of gold in nonfiction books and articles. 

You can opt for a classic such as SparkNotes, or branch out and try one of the many book summary apps available on iOS. 

Here are a few of our favorites. 

  • Blinkist. Divides book summaries into “blinks”, which take no more than five minutes to read or listen to. 
  • Headway. A newcomer, but nonetheless popular because of its unique focus on personal growth and use of self-assessment tests. 
  • Shortform. A more expensive option, but it is quickly becoming one of the most popular summary apps out there. 

Beware, many book summary apps require subscriptions. The monthly prices range from just $8 to $25, so there’s a considerable difference between apps. That being said, there are lots of deals. Right now, Headway is available on AppSumo for a one-time purchase of $59.

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