50 Accessibility Features on Apple Devices

Apple devices offer a range of accessibility features to help users with various needs. Because technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone, every Apple device comes with a range of built-in accessibility features. The App Store provides a safe and trusted source of apps for accessibility that can streamline everyday tasks. Moreover, on-device machine learning adapts to user behavior and recommends helpful actions. The result is that everyone has access to great tools. Explore the powerful accessibility features on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch that can benefit you every day. Then add your favorites to the accessibility shortcut and share with a friend.

15 Hearing & Speech Accessibility Features

Volume can be controlled at the system level and external speakers attached if necessary for further amplification. Delve into the tools designed to enhance the sounds you hear, or stay connected without hearing a sound. These can help people who are deaf, have limited hearing or have unique hearing needs.

  1. LED Flash Alerts: The LED flash next to the camera lens on the back of your iPhone or iPad can blink when your device is locked and you receive a notification. On a Mac, you can toggle the setting to flash the screen when an alert sound occurs. When a Mac application attempts to play a system beep alert, macOS instead flashes the screen. Get visual alerts for incoming phone and FaceTime calls, new text messages, new mail and calendar events. With Dock Notification, the icons of running applications that need attention visually jump up and down in the Dock, providing visual notification in addition to an audible beep or flash.
  2. Hearing Aids: Use hearing aids, cochlear implants and sound processors designed specifically for Apple devices. After pairing your hearing aid, you devices automatically reconnect whenever they turn on so you can control it with your device. You can then stream audio from Siri, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Apple TV or make and answer calls.
  3. Headphone Accommodations: Whether you’re listening to music, watching a film or talking to a loved one, customize your audio to best suit your hearing needs using Headphone Accommodations . Amplify soft sounds and adjust certain frequencies to suit your hearing needs. Phone noise cancellation uses air pressure to reduce ambient background noise so you can hear better when you’re holding the receiver to your ear in noisy environments.
  4. Personalized Audio for AirPods Pro: AirPods Pro help you stay connected in noisy places to help you better engage with people around you. With Active Noise Cancellation, microphones detect external sounds, which are countered with anti-noise, canceling the external sounds before you hear them. Conversation Awareness automatically lowers the volume of your audio and enhances the voices in front of you, while reducing background noise. With Conversation Boost, microphones focus AirPods Pro on the voice of the person directly in front of you — helping you distinguish their speech from background noise.
  5. Live Listen: This is an assistive listening feature that helps you have conversations in loud places or hear someone speaking across the room. Just turn on the feature and move your Apple device towards the people you’re talking to. The device acts as a microphone that sends sound to your AirPods or hearing aids so you can hear what they’re saying more clearly.
  6. Health/Noise App: In the Health app, securely store your audiogram data which shows how loud sounds need to be in order for you to hear them. The Noise app tracks decibel levels of sounds around you and notify you when sound levels in your environment or headphones could negatively affect your hearing.
  7. FaceTime: Use the FaceTime video calling feature for sign language communications. Group FaceTime calls also detect when a participant is using sign language will make them appear more prominent within the call. Furthermore, anyone can join the call using a link even if using an Android or Windows.
  8. Scribble: Reply to a message by scribbling letters on your display, and your words automatically convert to typed text. Use your finger to quickly jot responses on your Apple Watch display, or write a message with Apple Pencil on iPad. If you’re nonverbal or prefer to communicate through handwriting, Scribble will help you get your point across.
  9. Sound Recognition: Sound the alarm without making a sound. Sound Recognition listens for certain sounds and uses on-device intelligence to notify you when they are detected. This feature recognizes 15 different sounds including animals, doorbells, alarms and crying baby. Moreover, you can use it to listen for sounds that are unique to your environment and you’ll receive a notification when a particular sound is detected.
  10. Mono Audio: Play stereo audio as mono and find the right balance for you. Stereo recordings usually have distinct left- and right-channel audio tracks. Mono Audio combines the left and right stereo channels into a mono signal played through both left and right speakers and headphones so all of the audio program can be heard
    in a streamlined fashion.
  11. Closed Captions: Closed captions are a text transcription displayed onscreen in sync with a video’s dialogue and action. In addition to transcribing speech in a scene, they also capture non-verbal communication, music and sound effects. Apple Music and Apple TV apps support playback of captioned music and video content. And with Live Captions, your M-chip Mac can provide real-time captioning of audio so you can follow conversations, audio and video.
  12. Type to Siri: Enable the accessibility mode “Type to Siri” to make requests by typing on the keyboard or text field on Apple Watch. Use the digital assistant to help with things you do everyday like searching the web, finding files, setting up reminders and turning on accessibility settings instead of speaking to Siri.
  13. Real-Time Text (RTT): If you have hearing or speech difficulties, you can communicate by telephone using Teletype (TTY) or real-time text (RTT)—protocols that transmit text as you type and allow the recipient to read the message right away. RTT is a more advanced protocol that transmits audio as you type text. Your iPhone can capture voice messages and provide auto-answer transcriptions for incoming calls.
  14. Live Speech: With Live Speech on iPhone, you can type and have your words spoken in person, on Phone and FaceTime calls. You can use Live Speech with any voice you choose, including your Personal Voice. Live Speech integrates seamlessly into FaceTime — just type your responses and your device speaks it out loud to others on the call.
  15. Personal Voice: If you’re at risk of speech loss or have a speech disability, you can create a personalized voice on iPhone to use with Live Speech. With Personal Voice, you can create a voice that sounds like your own for use in communication apps.

Vision-Related Accessibility Highlights

Apple products, services and accessories are engineered with everyone in mind. In addition, the wireless Magic Keyboard features a QWERTY-based keyboard layout where keyboard keys (F and J) have discernible nubs to assist users in keyboard orientation. On the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, numeric keys are arranged in a 12-key keypad layout with the number five key being tactilely distinct from the other keys.

Accessibility features for Vision

If you’re visually impaired, have low vision or prefer larger text, these accessibility features help you control your devices or navigate your surroundings.

  • VoiceOver: VoiceOver is an industry‑leading screen reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device. Auditory descriptions of elements help you easily navigate your screen through simple gestures on a touchscreen. Audible caller ID uses the built-in VoiceOver screen reader and can play distinctive ring-tones and text-tones. VoiceOver supports audio ducking to allow screen reader information to interrupt other audio and provides auditory recognition of status indicators such as caps lock. VoiceOver also includes a screen curtain feature for additional privacy for screen reader users.
  • Braille: If you turn on Braille Screen Input in VoiceOver, you can use your fingers to enter contracted braille directly on the iPhone screen, without a physical braille keyboard. You can also toggle Nemeth Code, the standard for representing maths and science equations in braille. Even in braille, VoiceOver describes exactly what’s on your screen. Braille is automatically converted to text in a caption panel so sighted people can follow along with VoiceOver descriptions. Apple supports more than 70 Bluetooth wireless braille displays and braille tables for more than 25 international languages. And product documentation is available in embossed braille via third party providers.
  • Spoken Content: Speak Screen reads the content of your entire screen out loud to you, while Speak Selection lets you select and hear a specific range of text. Highlight words, sentences or both in a customized color and style as they’re spoken. You can also control the pace of the reading more precisely with Speech Controller.
  • Magnifier: Magnifier uses the camera on your iPhone or iPad to increase the size of any physical object you point it at. For those who are blind or have low vision Detection Mode in Magnifier combines input from the camera and LiDAR scanner to offer intelligent tools like People Detection, Door Detection, Image Descriptions, Text Detection, and Point and Speak. Available on iPhone 12 Pro or later, you can interpret your environment by detecting people or doors, getting image descriptions of your surroundings and reading text or labels around you.
  • Zoom: Enlarge the content on your screen to your liking. You can magnify the entire screen (Full Screen Zoom) or magnify only part of the screen with a resizable lens (Window Zoom). Zoom is a built-in magnification feature that works with VoiceOver so you can clearly see and hear what’s happening on your screen. And split-screen zoom on Mac lets you see content up close and at a distance simultaneously. If using Zoom with Magic Keyboard, the Zoom region follows the insertion point, keeping it in the center of the screen.
  • Display & Text Size: Text Size helps make text more legible and visible with simple font adjustments. Change the size and darkness of text to make it easier to read on your  screen.Larger Text lets you adjust the size using an accessibility slider, while Bold Text gives weight to the words on your screen. Additionally, you can opt for a zoomed appearance of apps during set-up.  You can also have your device underline text you can tap.
  • Dim Flashing Lights: Enjoy a comfortable viewing experience on your device. Dim Flashing Lights automatically darkens the video to help those who want to avoid bright flashes of light watch video content conveniently. You can also choose to reduce
    transparency and darken colors.
  • Dark Mode: Transform every element on your screen into a dark color scheme to make reading easier on the eyes. Light text against darker backdrops makes text easier to read in low light. To have screen colors become warmer as it gets dark out, use or schedule Night Shift.
  • Dictation: Let your device type for you. Turn your speech into text by tapping the microphone button. With Dictation, you can dictate text anywhere you can type it. Dictation automatically punctuates your text with full stops, commas and question marks as you speak. With support for over 60 languages, you can move fluidly between voice and touch, so you can type with your keyboard, move your cursor and add suggestions without stopping Dictation. Since dictation requests are processed on your device, no internet connection is required.
  • Audio Descriptions: If you can’t see your screen and your content includes audio descriptions, you can listen to an audio description—a separate audio track that narrates or describes the visual content of a clip, show, or movie. Watch movies with detailed audio descriptions of every scene on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. Just check for the AD icon under the movie title to hear the whole scene.
  • Hover Text: Hover Text makes it easier to view text on your iPad or Mac or while you’re watching Apple TV content. If a paragraph, text box, caption or footnote is too small to read, just hover over it with your pointer or Apple Pencil, and press the activation key for a bigger, high‑resolution version of your selection. You can even choose the fonts and colors that work best for you.
  • Reduce Motion: Turn on Reduce Motion to decrease the movement of onscreen elements. Some screen actions, such as moving between apps or launching apps, become visually simpler for motion sensitivity or to lessen strain on the eyes. Automatically pause images with moving elements in apps. If you’re sensitive to rapid movement, you can easily turn on the Pause Animated Images feature to stop motion in animated images, like moving images you encounter online, or GIFs in group chats. Dim Flashing Lights automatically dims when flashes or strobe effects are detected.
  • Change Colors: Apple provides the ability to customize color filters to support color blindness and other vision challenges. Without color perception for color coding, the accessibility options include;
    • Switch the display from color to grayscale
    • Invert light and dark colors displayed on the screen
    • Differentiate certain elements without color
    • Increase contrast of elements on the screen
    • Reduce the transparency of elements on the screen

10 Motor-Related Accessibility Properties

Apple includes accessibility features to assist users who do not have fine motor control and can’t perform simultaneous actions easily. When you use iPhone with one hand in Portrait orientation, you can use Reachability to lower the top half of the screen so it’s within easy reach of your thumb.

  1. Switch Control: Switch Control is an assistive technology for anyone with limited mobility. Switch Control makes it easy and efficient to control your device with a variety of adaptive switch hardware, wireless game controllers or even sounds. You can use item, point and manual scanning to navigate sequentially through onscreen keyboards, menus and the Dock. Sound actions for Switch Control let you use simple mouth sounds — like a click, a pop or “ee” — to navigate sequentially and perform actions onscreen. And the same switch or sound actions you use to navigate and control your iPhone and iPad can be turned into a game controller. You can remotely control your other Apple devices without adjusting any switch connections. With Platform Switching, you can navigate your iPad, Mac, or Apple TV using the same switch that you use to control your iPhone.
  2. Voice Control: Navigate your device hands-free with just your voice and switch between dictation, spelling and command modes. Speak commands to perform gestures, interact with screen elements, dictate and edit text, and more. If you have difficulty setting up Voice Control, get personalized help at Mac & More Solutions in Nairobi, Kisumu or Eldoret.
  3. Sticky Keys: Use Sticky Keys to press and hold modifier keys, such as Command and Option, as you press another key. If Sticky Keys are enabled, a visual ideograph is displayed to indicate the state of the keys being
    pressed.
  4. Slow Keys: Use Slow Keys to adjust the time between a key being pressed and activated. Key Repeat adjusts the repeat interval and delay.
  5. Mouse Keys: With Mouse Keys on your Mac, you can move the mouse pointer and press the mouse button using the keyboard or a numeric keypad. When Mouse Keys is on, you can’t use the keyboard or a numeric keypad to enter text.
  6. Shortcuts: Get help with everyday tasks when you use Shortcuts to automate tasks. Choose ready-made shortcuts from the Gallery or build your own using different apps to run multiple steps in a task.
  7. Back Tap: Back Tap lets you double‑tap or triple‑tap the back of your iPhone to perform a range of custom tasks automatically. Use Back Tap access your favourite accessibility features faster, perform actions like taking screenshots, or run shortcuts.
  8. Dwell Control: Your Apple device can perform a selected action when you hold the cursor still on a screen element or an area of the screen. Hot Corners perform a selected action—such as take a screenshot, opening Control Center, activating Siri or using a shortcut—when the cursor dwells in a corner of the screen.
  9. Apple Watch Mirroring: Apple Watch Mirroring allows you to see and control your Apple Watch screen from your paired iPhone. You can use touch or assistive features like Voice Control, Switch Control, and more on your iPhone to interact with Apple Watch.
  10. AssistiveTouch: AssistiveTouch helps you use iPhone if you have difficulty touching the screen or pressing the buttons. Use AssistiveTouch without any accessory to perform actions or gestures that are difficult for you. If certain gestures, like pinch or two-finger tap, don’t work for you, swap them with a gesture that does or create a touch that’s all your own. AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch helps those with upper-body limb differences use hand gestures such as clench, double clench, pinch, and double pinch to control apps and experiences across Apple Watch.

 

 Cognitive Accessibility Features

Apple includes many features to assist users with limited language, cognitive and learning abilities. If you need support to stay focused or to streamline tasks, these tools can help make your day-to-day easier.

  • Guided Access: Guided Access helps you stay focused on a task by temporarily restricting iPhone or iPad to a single app, and allowing you to control which app features are available. Whether you’re a parent, teacher or trying to help yourself focus, you have all the options you need to customize your experience.
  • Screen Time: Screen Time gives you a report showing how your device is used, apps you’ve opened, websites you’ve visited, how many times a device was picked up or received a notification. You can set limits and restrictions for what you want to manage — on your own device or a child’s device. When you schedule downtime, only phone calls and apps that you choose to allow are available. What’s more, you can set communication limits, communication safety, screen distance and app limits.
  • Focus: A streamlined setup for Focus lets you select the apps or people you want to receive notifications from by either allowing or silencing them. Set up and activate different Focus areas like Do Not Disturb, Work, or Sleep to silence device notifications that may disturb or distract you in the moment. You can even set a Focus area to turn on at a certain time or location or when you’re using a specific app.
  • Background Sounds: Background Sounds help minimize distractions and increase your sense of focus, calm, and restfulness to the tune of distant rain or ocean waves. Choose from balanced, bright, and dark noise and ocean, rain, and stream sounds to continuously play in the background and mask excess environmental or external noise. These sounds can also mix into or duck under other audio and system sounds that are playing through your device.
  • iCloud Keychain: Keychain remembers things so you don’t always have to keep track of every password and user name. It autofills certain information on any approved device, so sign-ins and checkouts stay simple and secure. You can also share a set of passwords with your trusted contacts. iCloud Keychain keeps passwords up to date for everyone in the group, and keeps you in control of who has access to them.
  • Safari Reader: Safari Reader is an assistive technology feature that strips away ads, buttons, and navigation bars, allowing you to focus on all the content you want — and none of the clutter. Adjust the font, font size, and background color to fully customize your viewing experience. You can also have text read aloud while you’re using Safari Reader. For compatible sites in Safari that offer Reader view, simply tap Listen to Page in the Page Settings menu or say “Siri, read this.”
  • Find My Network: Find My can do more than help you find a lost device. You can easily share your location with friends and family in the Find My or Messages app, allowing you to check in on family members, find friends in a crowded place, or help them locate their missing Apple devices. You can use Check In on iPhone to automatically notify a friend that your iPhone has arrived. Similarly, if a friend sends you a Check In but their iPhone hasn’t arrived as expected, you can view their location, battery percentage and cellular signal. Set separation alerts in case you accidentally leave a device behind. Further, set up Trusted Locations, which are locations where you can leave your device without receiving an alert.

The Apple Authorized Service Providers at Mac & More Solutions can help you find the perfect apps for your individual needs and lifestyle. You can also reach us via email, telephone, or WhatsApp to assist you by integrating Apple products and helping you thrive. Need a hands-on demonstration? We are here to help. Book a demo appointment below and our experts will reach out to provide both online and in-person Apple Support.

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