Your hands aren’t always free to reach for your Android device. And when you’re awaiting a very important text that needs immediate responding to, you need a solution that will read your texts out loud.

It seems developers were thinking the same when they created these solutions to that exact problem, from integrated software to third-party apps.

1. Use Google Assistant Voice Control

Google, in general, is deeply rooted into Android devices, giving them access to the whole toolbox that Google offers. One such feature is Google Assistant.

Google Assistant is exactly what is advertises: an assistant, but specifically, with voice control capabilities as well as text. This means that, with Google Assistant turned on, you can have Google Assistant read back your incoming text messages.

There are a few caveats to understand first. First off, Google Assistant can be finicky at times. You’ll need to be absolutely clear on your commands. Refrain from using slang. Sometimes Google Assistant will tell you there’s a text message, ask to read it, and when you give it the okay, it won’t read back.

Second, you’ll need Voice & Audio Activity turned ON. Here’s what you do:

1. Open Settings. It’s indicated by the gear.

2. Scroll until you come to Google.

3. Select your Google account.

4. Select Data & Personalization. It’s at the top.

Voice & Audio Activity

5. Under “Activity Controls,” you’ll see Voice & Audio Activity. Select it.

6. Turn it ON. As an added benefit, you can use Google Assistant to respond as well.

2. Using Android’s Native Text-to-Speech Function

As integrated as Google may be, your device may have its own text-to-speech function that’s native to your device’s manufacturer. Like Google Assistant, you can use the feature t have your text messages, and other items, read out loud. Gaining access to this function can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

However, generally speaking, you should find the feature hiding in Accessibility. It goes by several names like “TalkBack” or “Select to Speak,” and “Text-to-Speech.

1. Open Settings. It’s the gear.

Voice & Audio Activity

2. Scroll down until you come to Accessibility. Tap it.

3. Depending on your phone, turn on its text-to-speech function.

select to speak

4. Go back to Accessibility and tap Select to Speak.

If it was activated successfully, a small speech bubble icon will appear on the screen. Depending on your device, it will provide a handy tutorial for new users. Simply tapping a section will create a box around the text and read out loud the text inside.

The one drawback is lacking any voice commands. It works perfectly fine when you’re capable of touching each section. Also, you’re able to change the speed and pitch of the voice that reads back to you.

3. Using Third-Party Apps

Normally, third-party apps should be given caution. You never know what you get when you hit the “install” button. Luckily for you, you’ll find a helpful list of apps that will feel right at home in your app library.

1. ReadItToMe comes in at first simply because it’s free. This helpful app will do exactly what you want it to do: read your texts back to you. You can change speed, pitch and even select a language. To top it off, ReadItToMe will also read caller details and app notifications.

It’s only drawback is not all features are available from the start. For example, the read-back on your app notifications and voice reply feature is accessible once you’ve bought them.

2. Drivemode is a hands-free messaging and calling app specifically designed with drivers in mind. When you’re driving, reaching for your phone to take an important call or respond to an important text can spell death. That’s blunt, but true. Drivemode aims to give drivers access to their text messages and phone calls without ever taking their eyes off the road.

Drivemode has the ability to respond to your voice, record a message with voice commands as well as a “Do Not Disturb” mode that will ignore any incoming messages and calls. And to top it off, you can even create auto-replies to text messages depending on different perimeters.

3. SMS Reader does exactly what you’d expect it to. SMS Reader is a lightweight app that reads any incoming text messages for you. And, of course, you can alter the speed and volume of the playback voice. SMS Reader comes with several options for several different languages.