Can I keep VoiceOver on my iPad while using a Bluetooth speaker?

iOS & iPadOS

I have an iPad Pro 9.7 running iOS 10.0.2. I just purchased a Bluetooth speaker. Is there any way to keep VoiceOver on the internal speakers while listening to audio on the Bluetooth speaker? I assume not but hope I'm missing something.




Submitted by Tom Kingston on Saturday, October 22, 2016

Of course I did several searches before posting this question and didn't find a definitive answer. But as soon as I made this post I thought of one more phrase to try and got the answer. So unless a magic trick has been discovered you can ignore this post.


Submitted by Siobhan on Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hi Tom. Ok you can't dangle the steak in front of the dog, then yell when he takes a bite. ;) seriously if you're talking about audio destination, that's where I thought you were going with this. What speaker did you buy? I had a bose dock, but it has the old 30 pin connector. I've yet to find something. I might look into klipsh speakers.

Submitted by Tom Kingston on Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hey Siobhan. Yes, audio destination is what I thought would allow me to choose the output for VoiceOver so I didn't have to deal with it on Bluetooth.
The speaker I bought is a Vifa Oslo. It's not a dock and it's not cheap: 550 bucks. But I'm an audio engineer and used to listening to everything on reference monitors. So I'm quite picky.
Vifa is an old Danish company that until only a few years ago only made the actual speaker drivers themselves. Most folks don't realize that the majority of speakers have drivers made by the relatively few companies that actually make them. The rest of what defines a speaker is in the cabinet design, materials, amps, crossovers, etc.
I did look at Klipsh because of course they're a great speaker company. But I've looked at so many I can't even remember other than to say they didn't land on my short list in the end. But again, being an engineer and used to listening to flat response studio monitors I wanted to get as close to that as possible. And the Vifas are as close as I can get in Bluetooth.
Although if money is no object B&O has a nice 3000 dollar monster that may be just what you're looking for. ;)

Good luck,

Submitted by Macky on Sunday, October 23, 2016

Airplay is the key. Assuming your speaker has an auxiliary input if you buy an apple airport express or similar device then you can use airplay to send the sound to the speaker whilst keeping the voyceover audio coming from your phone or ipod. There are cheaper solutions than the airport express but I went down the express route and their's a dedicated app from apple for set up and settings. There is still no way to split the audio in this way via bluetooth unfortunately. Hopefully it is something that could be considered in a future ios update. hth

Submitted by Siobhan on Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hi Tom. Umm hell no on the 3000 dolar one, just no. ;) I don't know what i want to do, 550 seems a bit steep considering I'd use it for audible stuff, music around the house, my condo's not that large, so I'm afraid something that expensive would be to much. i love base, to quote a songstress "If I can't feel it in mychest, i'm in the wrong damn place." ;) I'll keep looking until I find something right. Thanks for the help, though you lost me in your tech mumbojumbo but I think you wanted it that way. :) I'm no dummy, that sounded a little to technical for me. Anyway I'll look into that pseaker just to see what you're talking about.

Submitted by Tom Kingston on Sunday, October 23, 2016

In reply to by Macky

Thanks, Macky.
I wanted to go Airplay. But from all the reviews I read I couldn't quite figure out if it's as plug-and-play as Bluetooth. Many of the speakers have apps that you have to use in order to access services like Spotify and so on. And then they talk about having to tap an Airplay icon in other apps. So I didn't know if there were any situations wherein you can't get audio out to Airplay speakers, for example, cruising through YouTube.
I'd also prefer to keep it wireless rather than using the auxiliary input from my router. Although that isn't carved in stone. I have a high-end pair of small powered speakers and if I could find just an Airplay receiver for those it would be great. Then I could have the best of both worlds with the Oslo for portability and the powered speakers in my living room.
Thanks for any clarification.

Sorry for getting too techie, Siobhan. Studio reference monitors are just transparent speakers: what goes in comes out. Most consumer speakers have what we call a smile curve. If you look at the frequency response of the speaker on a horizontal line it will look like a smile because they boost the treble and bass. We all like a little more sparkle in the highs and a little more umph in the lows. But the sound varies greatly from speaker to speaker. This is why the closest we can get to putting out a sound that will work on all speakers is to use speakers that do nothing to the sound.
If you like big bottom end I'd forget the Vifa speakers. They do have a "late night" setting you can turn on which adds a smile curve because the highs and lows fall off on any speaker when you turn it down for quiet listening. And on the Vifas this is all it's designed for. You can turn it on and crank it up. But when you just start to feel the thump you'll start to overload the speaker. And the app is quirky in this regard as well. It often has to be reloaded and sometimes can't find the speaker.
You might want to check out the new Harman Kardon Go + Play 2016. I think it's about 300 bucks. Here's a link to a YouTube review comparing it to the JBL Extreme.

Submitted by Luke on Sunday, October 23, 2016

I'm sorry. I don't really have anything to contribute, but I just want to express my frustration and confusion that such a seemingly simple feature is still not possible. Voiceover remains on iOS device while other audio goes to Bluetooth speaker. What is so complex about that, Apple? Could it be a limitation with the Bluetooth specification itself?

Submitted by Tom Kingston on Sunday, October 23, 2016

I agree, Joe. It makes no sense. It is possible because when I'm using my Bluetooth speaker and VoiceOver is locked to it if I use Siri the bebop sound and Siri's reply come out of my iPad speakers. So I don't get it either.

Submitted by Siobhan on Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hi Tom. Wow that does have the punch I'm looking for. I listen to a lot of rock, both live and studio produced, so I'm realy looking for that rip the roof off, sound. I might've just found it. Are there any other speakers to look at? I've listened to a few reviews, and I'd say 300 is right around my price point. Unless santa wants to cough up that huge one. ;) Anyway I appreciate you explaining things in a way I can understand not sounding like i'm dumb or something. ;) I hope to find something soon.Hi Tom.

Submitted by Tom Kingston on Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hey Siobhan,
There are so many Bluetooth speakers it's a trip to find what you want. But as with most technology it gets better each year. So newer models tend to be considerably better. Although that is not a hard rule to follow.
One brand that caught my attention was BEOPlay, the portable division of Bang & Olufsen. You can check them out at
Check out the A1 or A2. I would also go to YouTube and search for "Review Bluetooth speaker" and "clavinetjunkie".
Clavinet Junkie has done reviews of many Bluetooth speakers. And he knows what he's talking about. In most of his reviews he compares the speaker he's reviewing to another that is similar. It's sometimes surprising how good we think a speaker sounds until we hear it back to back with another. He often points this out by saying things like, notice how the vocals are kind of buried on this one and very clear on that one.
Have fun.

Submitted by Mitchell on Sunday, January 29, 2017

In my case, I would probably watch a video or read a guide that explicitly states what you need to do from a VoiceOver perspective. The reason for this if it says "click on the giant i tab" the UI label for VoiceOver would probably not say "the giant i tab." Just my two cents worth.