English text to speech seriously broken in iOS 12

iOS & iPadOS

After the feedback regarding the latest version my app Speech Central, I made a lot of tests and discovered that nearly all voices built in iOS 12 have a very serious flaw. They simply cannot pronounce any word that contains an apostrophe in a proper way except for the Alex voice.

While I made some workarounds in the app so that it works fairly well even with those problems, I would definitely suggest to disabled users not to update to iOS 12 for now but rather to wait for some later version (like 12.1) where those problems will be fixed hopefully. If you still decide to update, ensure to install Alex voice and set it as the default.



Submitted by Labsii on Monday, October 1, 2018

In my app any voice but Alex on iOS 12 will read "I can't" as "I can tee". Right now I made it to read "I cant" (without apostrophe) which sounds mostly OK but clearly this happens with many words and somewhere this won't sound properly.

Alex works properly and of course on every version of iOS since 9 it works properly with all voices.

I haven't tested the scope of the bug and whether you need to set something like speed or something else to make it reproducible, but it definitely exists.

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, October 1, 2018

It works fine for me using Daniel. No issues here. However I can't make the default system voice Daniel for what ever reason. Once I change it to Daniel it still uses Tom.

Submitted by Ornella on Monday, October 1, 2018

I am using the U.s female serie voice and its pronouncing words fine. Having no issues.

Submitted by roman on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

for me, Alex's voice is best! alex is working fine as always! I having no

Submitted by Tim Culhane on Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Just tried with Daniel and the irish mail siri voice and words containing apostrophes work fine.

Using an iPhone 8 and iOS 12.


Submitted by Labsii on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I believe that you are only testing VoiceOver. I am talking about general text to speech in apps (obviously most broken are apps whose primary function is this like Speech Central, NaturalReader, Voice Dream Reader, etc). As said if you use iOS 12, some of those apps and Apple voices there are serious problems in that, I could reproduce with several apps and several people confirmed this so I am quite certain it is a general problem.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

@Labsii here is something to check. I know that Voiceover has a setting where you can set the amount of punctuation read. I tried setting it to no punctuation and it did the same thing with all of the voices (I did not try Alex) at the time. Setting it to "some puncutation" fixed that problem for me. Perhaps there is a system setting somewhere that affects the general speech settings with punctuation. I have tried with Voice Dream Reader and have not had this issue.

Submitted by Labsii on Tuesday, October 2, 2018

In reply to by sockhopsinger

Voice Dream Reader by default uses its own voices so unless you have set the voice to some system voice you won't notice any problem, the same goes for NaturalReader

Submitted by Labsii on Saturday, October 13, 2018

I have found the exact test case when it happens, so it may not happen with every apostrophe in every text and that's probably why some of you couldn't notice the problem.

Anyway, I can conclude that in all English voices except Alex there is a serious problem that make them very hard to use on some texts and you may seriously consider whether to update to iOS 12.

If you encounter the problem you may want to use my text to speech app Speech Central as after I have found the exact cause of the problem now I was able to make a coding workaround that completely neutralizes it. Also I'll submit the bug report to Apple so hopefully it will be fixed in some of the next releases.

Submitted by Jeff on Saturday, October 13, 2018

You said you found the problem and how to reproduce it, but you didn't tell us what it was. You advise us to consider whether to upgrade to iOS 12, but if we don't use the apps where the problem occurs, then why not upgrade? You implied it does not happen in Voiceover or Siri and it doesn't happen in Voice Dream Reader, so it's not as serious as you make it out to be.

Submitted by Labsii on Saturday, October 13, 2018

The problem persists in every application that uses system voices, so it should affect VoiceOver and every single app that doesn't use its own voice.

Here is the sample where you can reproduce the error:
This won’t work.

Submitted by Mitchell on Saturday, October 13, 2018

I do not see the problem. I've tried with multiple voices, and it speaks correctly. This doesn't seem like a very serious issue. Are you on Ios 12 or Ios 12.0.1? That could be the issue, but I'm right now on IOS 12 and it works ⠋⠔⠑⠲

Submitted by Brooke on Sunday, October 14, 2018

I used your sample with 6 different English-speaking voices and didn't encounter the issue once.

Submitted by Jeff on Sunday, October 14, 2018

I tried the phrase you suggested and it worked fine for me with Tom as my Voiceover voice. I'm running iOS 12.0 on an iPhone 8.

Furthermore, I haven't experienced the problem while going through my Facebook timeline and there were definitely comments that contained contractions.