- Google’s Reading Mode app gets background playback.
- Read aloud articles while multitasking.
- Chrome’s desktop version will also have Reading Mode.
Enjoying podcasts and audiobooks on the go is easy with some of the best entertainment apps available. However, when it comes to consuming news and other text-based information, you typically need to read it yourself. In December of last year, Google introduced an app called Reading Mode to address this problem. And now, the app has received its first update since its launch, bringing background playback features.
As the name suggests, the Reading mode can read aloud any text displayed on your screen using a text-to-speech model, similar to Android’s TalkBack accessibility service or Microsoft’s Narrator for Windows. While it’s designed to make reading more convenient for accessibility purposes, anyone can use it to have articles read to them while they focus on other activities.
Reading mode is available as a standalone app on the Play Store and receives updates separately from the Android operating system. Recently, Google rolled out the first update (v1.1) for this app, as reported by 9to5Google. The update introduces the ability to continue listening to the Reading mode’s audio even when you switch to another app or turn off the device’s screen. This improvement makes Reading mode much easier to use. Previously, the app displayed an overlay on your screen while active, and playback would stop if you closed it or locked your phone. With the latest update, Reading mode now provides media player-like controls in the notification shade when active. These controls allow you to play and pause, as well as skip to the next sentence. The background playback feature is enabled by default in the new version, but you can disable it in the Reading mode settings if desired.
With the new media player-style controls, the Reading mode offers a podcast-like experience for listening to longer articles, which can be particularly useful for many. However, if you primarily do your reading on a computer, Google is also developing a Reading mode for Chrome on desktop. With all these tools at your disposal, you can get more things done in the real world instead of having to read everything manually.
The latest update for Reading mode is currently rolling out on the Play Store, although it may not be widely available just yet. If you prefer not to wait, you can try manually installing the update from APKMirror.