In a world filled with technology, slight enhancements to our everyday gadgets can really help those who struggle. Accessibility features are prominent on Apple products. They know just how crucial it is to provide a better experience for those with hearing and visual impairments, disabilities, learning and speech difficulties, and more.
The App store now has an Accessibility section, placed on the main “Featured” section. Designed to work with the Accessibility features on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Apple Watch, they help with everything from routine tasks to communication and language skills. Because of this, Apple products are the go-to product of choice in workplaces, schools, hospitals, and more. But what accessibility features are available? If you’ve never really explored this before, now’s the time for discovery!
For those who are blind or have poor vision, there’s plenty of functions on offer across these featured Apple products that’ll make things significantly easier. Whilst they vary across each device, there’s something here that’ll definitely help out.
Available on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, VoiceOver allows you to know what’s happening on your screen by reading it. Touch the screen and you’ll hear what’s under your finger. The standard multi-touch and gestures will then control your device.
We’re sure that plenty of you have tried out Siri at least once on your device. Apple’s virtual assistant is perfect for the visually impaired. Simply speak to Siri, and she’ll set you reminders, send you messages, find you any relevant information you require, schedule meetings and control the functions on your device.
If you can’t read the text on your screen, Speak Screen will read your email, iMessages, web pages, eBooks and more to you. You can ask Siri to turn it on for you, and away you go!
Another incredibly useful feature is Dictation. This allows you to talk instead of type. It’ll then convert your speech into text, so you can send your important emails, notes and messages without even tapping!
Although this is available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, this is particularly useful on the Apple Watch. The watch face is significantly smaller than these other devices, so being able to increase the font to a size more suitable for you is an incredibly useful feature.
Communicate face-to-face in real time over video calls on FaceTime. This is perfect if you rely on signing.
Many of us use our iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone to watch TV shows, YouTube videos and films. Luckily for the hard of hearing, there’s the closed captions option. Look out for the CC icon to watch with ease. These can be customised with different styles and fonts.
Audio Messages via iMessage
Click the audio button on iMessage to send audio clips. This is much easier than trying to type out a message yourself...and pretty quick too!
If you’re hard of hearing, tone alerts may not be audible. However, Apple devices offer vibrating alerts. Set them on text, email and phone calls, calendar events, alarms and more.
Apple-Approved Hearing Aids
Apple has worked with manufacturers to create hearing aids that specifically for the iPhone. These allow you to manage your hearing aid straight from your iPhone. You can find out more information here.
Physical & Motor Skills
iOS devices are built around Multi-Touch functionality, but this isn’t always 100% ideal for some. That’s where Assistive Touch comes in. This feature allows you to change gestures (such as pinch or tap), so that you can make the layout much more accessible. Many assistive devices are also supported so these functions become that much easier.
Predictive text helps you to complete your message based on words you might have used before. This speeds up the process of contacting someone, and also makes the whole thing a lot easier.
Third-Party Keyboard Support
Have a specially adapted keyboard? Thankfully, Apple devices will support them.
Learning & Literacy
Guided Access is perfect for people with autism or other attention and sensory difficulties stay focused on their task. This allows a parent, teacher, carer, etc. to limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button, placing time limits on apps, and more.
Speak Screen is perfect for people with a learning disability, such as dyslexia. It helps with reading, reading back the page to you. Words can be highlighted as they’re being read, so you can try to follow along. To fully customise your experience, you can adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate.
Find out definitions, commonly used phrases in Dictionary. It’s perfect for helping you with spelling, pronunciation, and grammar.
Want to discover more? Then check out this handy guide to the best accessibility tips and tricks from Apple.