If you are blind or have low vision, you can use VoiceOver, an advanced screen reader, to get the most from your iOS device. And Siri and Dictation help you type, launch apps, and read your calendar.
VoiceOver is a revolutionary screen reader that lets you know what’s happening on your Multi-Touch screen — and helps you navigate it — even if you can’t see it. Touch the screen to hear what’s under your finger, then use gestures to control your device. VoiceOver works with the apps that come with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Learn more about VoiceOver
If you have a hard time reading the text on your iOS device, use Speak Screen to read your email, iMessages, web pages, and books to you. Turn on Speak Screen and swipe down from the top with two fingers, or just tell Siri to Speak Screen and have all the content of the page read back to you. You can adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate, and have words highlighted as they’re being read.
Siri, Apple’s intelligent assistant, helps you do the things you do every day.1 All you have to do is ask. Say something like “Tell Jay I’m running late” or “Remind me to make reservations for Saturday.” Siri can send messages, place phone calls, schedule meetings, and even turn on and off VoiceOver, Guided Access and Invert Colors. And because Siri is integrated with VoiceOver, you can ask where the nearest sushi restaurant is and hear the answer read out loud.
Dictation lets you talk where you would type. Tap the microphone button on the keyboard, say what you want to write, and your iOS device converts your words (and numbers and characters) into text. So it’s easy to type an email, note, or URL — without typing at all.
Zoom is a built-in magnifier that works wherever you are in iOS, from Mail and Safari to the Home and Lock screens. And it works with all apps from the App Store. Turn Zoom on for full screen or picture in picture mode, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. You can adjust the magnification between 100 and 1,500 percent and access multiple filter options in either mode. While you’re zoomed in, you can still use all of the familiar gestures to navigate your device. And Zoom works with VoiceOver, so you can better see — and hear — what’s happening on your screen.
When you activate Larger Dynamic Type, the text inside a range of apps in iOS 8 including Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, Music, Notes and Settings, and even some third party apps, is converted to a larger, easier‑to‑read size. And you can choose bold text to make the text heavier across a range of built‑in applications.
Invert Colors and Grayscale
If a higher contrast or a lack of color helps you better see what’s on your display, iOS lets you invert the colors or enable grayscale onscreen. Once you set your filter, the settings apply systemwide, even to video, so you get the same view no matter what you’re seeing.
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can communicate in a variety of ways with iOS features like FaceTime video calling and unlimited texting. And assistive technologies such as closed captions and mono audio help you enjoy your content.
FaceTime video calls let you communicate in more ways than one. Catch every gesture and facial expression — from raised eyebrow to ear‑to‑ear smile. Thanks to its high‑quality video and fast frame rate, FaceTime is ideal for people who communicate using sign language. And because Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch all come equipped with FaceTime, you can talk to iOS and OS X users across the street or across the globe. As if you’re face to face.2
Innovative iOS technologies make the Multi-Touch screen easily accessible to those with physical or motor challenges who find it hard to tap or use gestures. And features like Siri let you control your iOS device just by talking.
iOS devices are remarkably intuitive and easy to use. And AssistiveTouch lets you adapt the Multi-Touch screen of your iOS device to your unique physical needs. So if you have difficulty with some gestures, like pinch, you can make them accessible with just a tap of a finger. Or create a custom gesture. And if you have trouble pressing the Home button, you can activate it with an onscreen tap. Gestures like rotate and shake are available even when your iOS device is mounted on a wheelchair. And iOS devices also support a number of third‑party assistive devices that help you interact with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Siri, Apple’s intelligent assistant, helps you do the things you do every day.1 All you have to do is ask. Say something like “Tell Lucy I’m running late” or “Remind me to make reservations for Saturday.” Siri can send messages, place phone calls, schedule meetings, and more. And Siri is integrated with VoiceOver, so you can ask where the nearest sushi restaurant is, and hear the answer read out loud. You can even use Siri to turn on Invert Colors and Guided Access.
Built directly into iOS, Switch Control is a powerful new accessibility technology for anyone with impaired physical and motor skills. Switch Control allows you to navigate sequentially through onscreen items and perform specific actions using a variety of Bluetooth-enabled switch hardware.
Dictation lets you talk wherever you would type. Tap the microphone button on the keyboard, say what you want to write, and your iOS device converts your words (and numbers and characters) into text. So it’s easy to type an email, note, or URL — without typing at all.
If there’s a word or phrase you frequently use, create a custom shortcut — and iOS will type it out for you. For example, “appt” can expand to “appointment” or “cyl” to “Call you later.” Keyboard shortcuts make it easier and faster to type your name, email address, home address, or any other text that you commonly type.
Tap to choose the perfect suggestion for your next word — predictive text adjusts results based on who you’re talking to and what you’ve said before.4
Support for Third Party Keyboards
Swipe rather than type, or go old school with the classic keyboard layout. iOS 8 opens up the keyboard to developers. And now that new keyboards are available, you can choose your favorite input method or layout systemwide.
iOS devices are fun and powerful learning tools for people with attention challenges or other cognitive and learning disabilities. You can minimize visual stimulation to help with focus, limit access to a single app, and tap to easily access text-to-speech tools and definitions.
Guided Access helps people with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay focused on the task (or app) at hand. With Guided Access, a parent, teacher, or therapist can limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button, and limit the amount of time spent in an app. You can even restrict access to the keyboard or touch input on certain areas of the screen. So wandering taps and gestures won’t distract from learning.
We all learn in different ways. Some of us learn better when more than one sense is engaged simultaneously. If you have a learning disability like dyslexia, Speak Screen can help with reading. Turn on Speak Screen and swipe down from the top with two fingers, or just tell Siri to Speak Screen and have all the content of the page read back to you. You can also have words highlighted as they’re being read, so you can follow along. Even the voice’s dialect and speaking rate can be adjusted to suit your needs.
Say you’re reading an article on astronomy and are stuck on some terminology. Just look it up — dictionary definitions are integrated into iOS. Get quick access to definitions and commonly used phrases to help with spelling, pronunciation, and grammar.
For some students, navigating the web can be a sensory overload. Safari Reader reduces the visual clutter on a web page by removing distractions. It strips away ads, buttons, and navigation bars, allowing you to focus on just the content you want. And Safari Reader works with Speak Selection and VoiceOver, to provide auditory reinforcement for what you're seeing.
People with speech impairments can also benefit from iOS features. FaceTime lets you communicate visually, whether you use sign language, gestures, or facial expressions. iMessage lets you chat with others via text. And Speak Selection helps with speech development by speaking the words you’re reading. Or you can compose your own text and have your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch speak for you. There are also over 100 third-party speech apps that can turn your iOS device into a powerful augmentative communication device. Learn more about third-party apps