Accessibility Tips and Tricks

A range of assistive technologies — including VoiceOver, Guided Access, and AssistiveTouch — are built into iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Here are some tips for using them.


Read with fewer distractions

Use Safari Reader to reduce the visual clutter — like ads and buttons — on some web pages so you can focus on whatever you’re reading. Just tap the lined paragraph icon next to the web address in Safari.

Make your text bigger and bolder

Make the text on your screen bigger and bolder so it’s easier to read. You can enable Bold Text and Larger Type in Settings > General > Accessibility.

Increase background contrast

You can increase the contrast on some backgrounds to improve legibility. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility to reduce transparency, darken colors, and reduce white point.

Zoom in on text and images

Zoom allows you to magnify elements on the screen up to 1,500 percent and works wherever you are in iOS, from Mail and Safari to the Home and Lock screens. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility to turn on the Zoom feature. Choose between 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.

Turn on VoiceOver

The VoiceOver screen reader allows you to navigate and interact with your iOS device even if you can’t see it. You can turn on VoiceOver in Settings > General > Accessibility.

Draw letters instead of typing

With VoiceOver, you can draw letters on the screen and have them translated to text in Mail, Notes, and other applications.

Change the dialect for VoiceOver

You can change the dialect of VoiceOver on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch so it’s easier to understand. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Languages & Dialects.

Let Maps tell you where you are

In Maps, VoiceOver will tell you the direction you are traveling as well as your current location and nearby landmarks.

Let your camera talk you through the shot

In the Camera app, VoiceOver will tell you how many people are in your shot and where they are on the screen.

Get spoken photo descriptions

In Photos, VoiceOver will tell you the date of a photo, its orientation, whether it’s crisp or blurry, and how well lit it is.


Get personalized vibration alerts

You can create personalized vibration patterns for incoming messages and FaceTime calls. Under any name in your contacts, just tap Edit and then tap Vibration. You can also create new custom vibration patterns in Settings > Sounds > Ringtone > Vibration.

Have a conversation in sign language

Having a sign language conversation is easy using a FaceTime video call. To start a FaceTime call, tap the FaceTime button under a name in your contacts or on the screen during a regular call.

View closed captions

To turn on the captions in closed-captioned movies and TV shows, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and tap Subtitles & Captioning. You can even customize captions by size, font type, and color.

Physical and Motor Skills

Give input using your camera or other devices

Control your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch using third-party Bluetooth switches or with head movements and your device’s camera. You’ll find Switch Control in Settings > General > Accessibility.

Create your own input gestures

AssistiveTouch lets you create custom gestures to control your iOS device, allowing you to perform many actions using only one finger. AssistiveTouch is located in Settings > General > Accessibility.

Make the Home-click speed faster or slower

You can change the speed required to activate Double- and Triple-click Home commands. Just go to Settings >
General > Accessibility > Home-click Speed.

General Accessibility Features

Restrict iPad to a single app

Guided Access lets you temporarily limit your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a single app and control which app features are available — a great option for young children. You’ll find Guided Access in Settings > General > Accessibility along with instructions on how to use it.

Turn on an accessibility feature using your Home button

Accessibility Shortcut lets you quickly turn accessibility features on and off by triple-clicking your Home button. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut to select features you use the most.

Create your own keyboard shortcuts

If there’s a word or phrase you use often, create a custom keyboard shortcut and iOS will type it for you. To create shortcuts, go to Settings > General > Keyboard.