Assistive Tech Tips: Part 2 – 10 accessibility features on iPhone and iPad

Last week I begun my three part blog series “Assistive Tech Tips”. The first part I shared “10 accessible gadgets for people with sight loss.” It was very well received and gained 82 views on the day of publishing and totalling this week to 143 views which is amazing!

Eenshot - Settings, general, Accesibility

This week I want to share with you 10 accessible features on my iPhone and iPad. The below list of features are available on both iPhone & iPad but I will be demonstrating on my iPad:

1. Voiceover

Screenshot - Settings, Voiceover

Voiceover is an audio tool that speaks aloud everything on screen. You simply place your finger anywhere on the screen and the voice will say what your finger is currently on. To select an item, simply double tap on it. To scroll, you can either use three fingers or double tap, hold then scroll up or down. To turn Voiceover on, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Voiceover. Here you can change the speaking rate, pitch and double tap speed. You also have a choice of different male & female voices. I use the Siri female voice. My only criticism of Voiceover is when I’m making or receiving pone calls on my iPhone, I cannot turn on loud speaker which I rely on due to not being able to hold the phone to my ear. Luckily I don’t use Voiceover full time so tend to keep it off for phone

2. Zoom

Screenshot - Settings, Zoom

Zoom is a magnification feature that zooms in and out of your screen. I use this when browsing apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Microsoft Word & WordPress. There is a circular controler that you press and a menu comes up with various options; Zoom in/out, choose region which means full screen or window screen, choose filters such as invert, grayscale & low light and hide or show zoom controller. You can also change the zoom percentage via a scroll bar at the bottom of the menu. To activate Zoom, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom.

3. Large TextScreenshot - Settings, Large TextWhen you use Large Text, menu options, emails and messages are enlarged. To access this feature go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Large Text and turn Large Text on. You can adjust the size in the scroll bar below.

4. Smart Invert

Screenshot - Setting, Smart Invert

For many visually impaired people, we like to read in different colours and backgrounds which are comfortable on our eyes. Personally I prefer white text on a black background. To change this you go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colours > Classic Invert. Moreover if your device is IOS 11 or above you can use a feature called Smart Invert where the text is white on black but photos, videos and icons are still the original colours. I discovered this feature from fellow blogger Glen at Well Eye Never.

5. Speech

Screenshot - Settings, Speak Selection, Speak Screen

When you’re reading a legthy article online, e-book or document and would rather not zoom in and scroll. Instead you can use the speech feature on your device. To turn this feature on, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech and turn on Speak Selection and Speak Screen. To use Speak Selection, highlight the text you want to read aloud, then select Speak in the options bar. Speak Screen is available with Siri & Assisttive Touch, both of which I’ll explain next.

6. Siri

Screenshot - Settings, Siri & search

Siri is a virtual assistant for IOS devices. You can ask it numerous commands including “what’s the weather like?”, “Tell me a joke”, “Search facts on Animals” plus much more. You can also ask it to “Speak Screen” where the Speech feature will come on and read aloud what is on screen. You can operate Siri in three different ways; by saying “Hey Siri”, holding the home button or using Assistive Touch. To set up Siri go to Settings > Siri & Search. (Unfortunately I couldn’t screen record this with the sound, so it was recorded on my iPhone)

7, Dictation

Screenshot - Settings, Enable Dictation

Dictation is a feature where you can dictate what you want to write. This feature can be used for emails, messenger, Facebook, Twitter and any other app. The dictation button can be found on the left side of the spacebar on the touch keyboard. To activate Dictation, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Enable Dictation. (Unfortunately I couldn’t screen record this with the sound, so it was recorded on my iPhone)

8. Magnifier

Screenshott - Settings, Magnifier

This accessibility feature isn’t specifically to access the device but a tool for visually impaired people to access external objects. The magnifier is connected to the camera and can zoom in on books, receipts and mail. To access it, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier.

9. Assistive Touch

Screenshot - Settings, Assistive Touch

Assistive Touch is an on-screen button that gives easy access to the devices external buttons. This includes the lock button, volume buttons, rotation, home button, screenshot, restart and speak screen. To enable this feature, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch

10. Accessibility Shortcuts

Screenshot - Assistive Touch

The final tool I want to share is the Accessibility Shortcut feature. Once you’ve decided which accessibility features you’d like to use, rather than going into the Settings app each time you want to enable or disable a feature, just add them to your Accessibility Shortcuts. To do this go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut, then select each feature you want to appear as a shortcut. Once you’ve done this, go back to your home screen and triple press the home button to open the Accessibility Shortcuts menu and select the feature you wish to turn on/off.

I hope this information is useful to those of you with IOS devices or to those of you considering an IOS device.

To those of you who do not have sight loss but require assistive technology on their IOS device, there are other accessibility features for a range of disabilities and needs. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility to find out more.

Next week is the final part of my “Assistive Tech Tips” series. In Part 3, I will be sharing my “Samsung Smart TV Accessibility Review”

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