How to Use Accessibility on iPhone
Accessibility & Technology

10 Things To Know About iPhone Accessibility

Aug 26, 2021

10 Things To Know About iPhone Accessibility

The iPhone is quite possibly the most adopted device ever, for people with vision loss. This is because it is accessible out-of-the-box, even if you can’t see the screen at all. If there is one good reason to use an iPhone, there are a hundred good reasons. Here are the top 10.

1. Live accessibility support is always available.
Apple has an Accessibility Support line that you can reach at 877-204-3930. This line is dedicated to addressing the needs of customers with visual, hearing, motor and learning impairments. Don’t go at it alone, call for help 24/7.

2. VoiceOver makes it possible to use the iPhone even if you can’t see the screen.
VoiceOver is the intuitively designed, gesture-based screen reader that enables people with low vision or total blindness to fully access the iPhone. Touch or drag your finger around the screen and VoiceOver tells you what’s there. Swipe left or right to move from one element to the next. Double-tap to activate a link. VoiceOver is speech output; you do not speak to it, it speaks to you. Click for a list of VoiceOver Gestures.

3. Siri is ready to follow your voice commands.
Siri, your virtual assistant, will send text messages, place calls, schedule a meeting, and even turn VoiceOver on and off. Communicate hands free with “Hey Siri”  and Siri will always speak responses, so ask a question and hear the answer spoken. Learn more at these links on OE: 10 Things Siri Will Do If You Ask and 10 MORE Things Siri 

4. Dictation turns your speech to text.
Whenever there is a keyboard, there is the option to dictate instead of typing. Tap the microphone key and speak as your words are converted to text. The microphone key is located at the lower right corner, whenever the keyboard is on screen. Now you too can be a dictator! Get started with this step-by-step tutorial.  Are You A Dictator?

5.  Speak Screen reads to you upon request.
Turn on Speak Screen in Accessibility Settings, under the heading: Spoken Content.  Once turned on, swipe down with 2 fingers or ask Siri to “Speak Screen” and the page will be read to you aloud. Turn on Speech Controller and an expandable button will appear on every page, allowing you to adjust voice speed, go back, pause or go forward. Click this link to learn more about The Freedom of Speech

6. Make the screen easier to see.
A simple adjustment to Display and Brightness or Accessibility Settings can make your screen easier to read. Try more or less bright, increase the size of text and consider making it bold.

7. Zoom in for a closer look.
The easiest way to zoom into, or magnify, text or images onscreen is with the default Pinch gesture. Place thumb and index finger on screen and pinch out to expand the screen to get close up.

8. The camera turns into a magnifier with light.
Turn on the Magnifier in Accessibility Settings and the iPhone’s camera will increase the size of anything you point it at, up to 15x. See details more clearly, and use the flash to light the object. More about this on OE at: Using the iPhone Magnifier

9. Safari Reader makes web pages easier to read.
Tap the AA (Accessibility) button in the upper left corner, to reveal list of Format Options and click on Show Reader View. This feature magically removes ads and other elements that clutter the page, leaving only the content you want to read without distractions.

10. Spoken feedback and image recognition assist your photography.
Using VoiceOver, the camera will say how many faces and where they are in the frame. Hear where and when the photos were taken, and touch the image with 3 fingers to hear description or read text in the photo.

Previously published on February 4, 2020, and updated on August 26, 2021

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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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