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Why won't the app play or record sound?

Most web browsers and operating systems require the user to give permission before a web app or web page is permitted to use the microphone. Typically, they will prompt you to allow or deny the first time the app needs to record sound. If you decline, you may not be prompted again, with the result that trying to record may either provoke an error message, or simply record silence.

If you can play sound, but not record, check your browser or device privacy settings (in most cases you can find these by searching for "Privacy" or "Microphone" in the settings).

There is a particular issue on iPad and iPhone, that you may see "www.specialiapps.org" Would Like to Access the Microphone every time, even if you have already allowed it. A workaround is to find Safari in the device Settings, scroll down to Microphone, and change access from Ask to Allow. Be aware, though, that this setting applies to all web apps and web pages.

If you can't hear sound, check the device's volume control and mute button. When the device is muted, some apps may still produce sound, while others won't.

Our apps all have their own settings, some of which control when they play recorded audio and/or use text-to-speech voices. Refer to our User Guides for details.

Why is the app text and audio in the wrong language?

By default, the language used by the app depends on the language and region format set for your device in its Settings. So, for instance, if the language is set to “Español”, the app will use Spanish text and a Spanish spoken voice. If the language you select isn't supported by the app, then English is used.

On Apple devices, to hear a British English voice instead of American, set your device's language to “British English”, not “English” (which is American). In Special Words, to hear an Australian voice, set the device's language to “Australian English”. If the device's language is set to “Nederlands”, you will hear Dutch, unless the region format is set to “België”, in which case you will hear Flemish (Vlaams).

If you change the device language, our apps may not reflect this automatically - you can use Reset > Flush Cache in the apps to force them to pick up the change.

An alternative to changing the device language is to set the language within the app's own Settings. This also allows you to choose a language supported by the app but not the device. In our Special Words app, you can also specify a different language for each profile.

Can I change the font in the app or make it use capital letters?

Each of our apps has a font setting, where you can choose fonts supplied as standard on the device, as well as the additional fonts supplied by Special iApps (Special Letters, OpenDyslexic and Inter). Additional fonts installed on the device by the user are generally not accessible to web apps. However, most of our apps allow you to install any font files you may have directly into the app, so they can be used.

Several of our apps have a Capital Letters setting, as well as text size settings.

My child has impaired hearing, how can I make the sound louder?

The built-in speaker in most mobile devices isn't very loud. We recommend connecting your device to a pair of portable speakers - there are many models available, some are sold on the Apple Store. Beware of cheap speakers - you may be disappointed by the volume and sound quality - we suggest trying or reading reviews before buying.

Alternatively, we find connecting to a Hi-Fi system works well - you would typically need a cable with a 3.5mm (1/8") stereo jack plug at one end and 2 phono plugs at the other end.

The sounds I recorded don't sound as clear as the built-in ones, what can I do?

The device's built-in microphone may pick up stray sounds. Try to record your voice in a quiet room. Speak clearly, but don't talk directly into the microphone or you may overload it. Your device may have a set of earpieces that have a microphone built into their cable - this can be better.

For the very best results, use a good quality external microphone - you may need an adapter cable specially designed for connecting the microphone to your device. Not all Android devices support external microphones.

How can I improve the sound quality when using text to speech (TTS)?

When our apps use text to speech (synthesised voices), they rely on the voices provided by the device. To hear the the most life-like simulated speech, if using an Apple iPad or iPhone, it is usually worth using one of the Enhanced voices that you can easily download to your device from Apple (free of charge), rather than the basic voice or voices that came with the device. You can download and choose between available voices from Apple using the device's Settings, under Accessibility > Spoken Content > Voices.

If multiple simulated voices are available on iOS, the app will normally use whichever you have selected as the device's default for your language. However, if you have selected a language-voice combination with a particular gender for a profile or a collection in those of our apps that offer this choice, the app will will preferentially select a male or female voice accordingly, if possible.

On Android, you can install voices, and in some cases select gender, from Language and input > Text-to-speech output, in the device's Settings.