If you are blind or have low vision, a variety of assistive technologies in OS X — a built-in screen reader, screen and cursor magnification, and Dictation — help you get the most out of your Mac.
VoiceOver is the remarkable screen reader that comes standard with every Mac. But it’s much more than a text-to-speech tool. It tells you exactly what’s happening on your Mac, and lets you fully interact with it using gestures, a keyboard or a braille display. And it uses Alex, the voice of Mac, who speaks to you in a natural tone.
Learn more about VoiceOver
Zoom is a powerful built-in magnifier that lets you enlarge your screen up to 20 times, so you can better see what’s on the display. You can use it in 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. The hardware acceleration engine lets you boost the size of everything on your screen — text on a web page, family photos, a place on a map.
Dictation lets you talk where you would type — and it now works in over 40 languages. So you can reply to an email, search the web or write a report using just your voice. Navigate to any text field, activate Dictation, then say what you want to write. Dictation converts your words into text. OS X also adds more than 50 editing and formatting commands to Dictation. So you can turn on Dictation and tell your Mac to bold a paragraph, delete a sentence or replace a word. You can also use Automator workflows to create your own Dictation commands.
If a higher contrast or a lack of colour helps you better see what’s on your display, OS X lets you invert colours or enable greyscale onscreen. Once you set your preferences, they apply system-wide, so you get the same view in every app. You can also turn on Increase Contrast to enhance definition and reduce transparency in some apps.
OS X lets you magnify your cursor so it’s easier to see where you are and follow along as you move around your Mac. Set the cursor size once and it stays magnified even when its shape changes. And in OS X El Capitan, when you swipe back and forth on your trackpad or quickly shake your mouse, the pointer grows so it’s easier to locate.