Every Mac is built with assistive technologies to support people who are blind or have low vision. The VoiceOver screen reader describes exactly what’s happening on your screen. Hover Text lets you instantly magnify a selection of text. And Display Accommodations support colour blindness and other vision needs.

Hover Text Quickly boost the size of what you’re reading.

Hover Text on Mac

Hover Text makes it easier to view text on your display. If a paragraph, caption or headline is too small to read, just hover over it with your cursor and press Command. You’ll get a dedicated window with a large, high-resolution version of your selection. You can even choose the fonts and colours that work best for you.

Hover Text on Mac

VoiceOver Hear what’s happening on your screen.

VoiceOver on Mac

VoiceOver does more than tell you what’s happening on your Mac. It helps you make things happen. It gives you auditory descriptions of each onscreen element and provides helpful hints along the way — whether you prefer using gestures, a keyboard or a braille display. And it supports more than 35 languages, including multiple voice options.

VoiceOver Integrated throughout macOS and every built‑in app.

VoiceOver is unique because it’s not a stand-alone screen reader. It’s deeply integrated in macOS and all the built-in apps on Mac. And as developers update their apps to take advantage of the accessibility interfaces provided by Apple, their apps can start working with VoiceOver straight away.

VoiceOver on Mac

VoiceOver Improved PDF, web and message navigation.

We’ve refined VoiceOver to make it easier to navigate PDFs, websites and messages. In Safari, improved conformance with HTML5 accessibility standards allows for more consistent navigation of websites. VoiceOver is now better at reading aloud tagged PDFs and email messages. If you start reading a website in a different language, VoiceOver can automatically switch to the voice for that language.¹ And you can add customised commands and workflows to your MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Audio Descriptions Hear the details in every scene.

Watch movies on your Mac, with detailed audio descriptions of every scene. Movies with audio descriptions are displayed with the AD icon in the iTunes Store.

VoiceOver Navigate VoiceOver with simple gestures.

You can control VoiceOver using many of the same gestures you use with iOS and iPadOS. Touch the trackpad to hear a description of the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously and flick to move to the next item. Enable the VoiceOver Trackpad Commander, and the trackpad surface will represent the current window or document, so you can navigate quickly to any corner or edge with a tap.

VoiceOver A virtual controller with customisable commands.

VoiceOver features a virtual control called the rotor. Turning the rotor — by rotating two fingers on the trackpad as if you were turning an actual dial — lets you access an array of fully customisable commands. Use it to browse web pages more efficiently and intuitively. The rotor lists common elements like “headings”, “links” and “images”, and lets you navigate directly to the one of your choosing.

VoiceOver Plug-and-play support for braille displays.

VoiceOver is the first screen reader to provide plug‑and‑play support for refreshable braille displays. Plug in or sync one of over 100 compatible displays, supporting more than 80 international tables, and the VoiceOver description is presented to you in braille. You can edit seamlessly in Grade 2 Braille, viewing your edits in the context of the actual line of text. Optimised for fast braille typists, VoiceOver makes working in braille easy and efficient. Converting between braille and text happens automatically, so you see only Grade 2 Braille. And for sighted users who sit alongside you, there’s an onscreen braille panel that displays both braille and plain-text versions of the descriptions spoken by VoiceOver.

Dark Mode Working hard gets easier on the eyes.

Dark Mode transforms the desktop and built-in apps with a new dark colour scheme that helps you focus on your work.2 The fine points of your content take centre screen as toolbars and menus recede into the background. Light text against darker backdrops in Mail, Safari Reader, Calendar and more makes everything easier to read in low-light conditions. And the Accessibility preferences for increased contrast and reduced transparency work with Dark Mode enabled.

Dictation You say it. Mac types it.

Dictation lets you talk where you would type — and it 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. macOS also comes with more than 50 editing and formatting commands. 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.

Siri Streamline the things you do every day.

Siri on Mac

Siri helps you do more with your desktop.3 Ask Siri to send messages, track down files, create reminders, search the web, and even turn VoiceOver and Invert Colours on and off without interrupting what you’re doing on the keyboard. And because Siri is integrated with VoiceOver, you can ask it to find a file and hear the answer read aloud. If you prefer to communicate by typing, you can easily set Siri to “Type to Siri” mode.

Siri on Mac

Zoom Make your screen up to 20 times bigger.

Zoom Display on Mac

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 zoom in Full Screen or Picture in Picture view — allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. A shortcut key lets you pan the screen without moving the pointer while zoomed in. macOS can also flash the screen for offscreen notifications or speak text under your pointer. The hardware acceleration engine lets you boost the size of anything on your screen — text on a web page, family photos or a place on a map.

Zoom Display See content up close and at a distance simultaneously.

Now with macOS Catalina, if you have two displays, you can keep one zoomed in close while the other stays at a standard resolution. So you can tackle everyday work or give a presentation more efficiently.

Zoom Display on Mac

Cursor Size Magnify your cursor so it’s easier to use.

macOS 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 when you swipe back and forth on your trackpad or quickly shake your mouse, the pointer grows so it’s easier to locate.

Contrast and Colour Options Invert colours or enable colour filters.

macOS lets you invert colours, enable greyscale or choose from a range of colour filters to support different forms of colour blindness or other colour vision deficiencies. You can select a common preset or fine-tune the colour tint and hue to customise a display setting that works for you.

Reduce Motion Decrease the movement of onscreen elements.

If you’re affected by the motion of screen elements, you can turn on Reduce Motion to decrease movement in areas like Spaces, Notification Centre and the Dock.

Music, Podcasts, Books and TV Navigate and play with VoiceOver.

Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Apple Books and the Apple TV app are compatible with VoiceOver, so you can navigate and play all the content in your library even if you can’t see the screen.4 Browse the apps as VoiceOver reads out headers, links and other elements on the page.

Resources

Support

External Resources

The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Explore instructional videos with tips on using vision accessibility features in macOS.

Learn more about the Hadley Institute instructional videos at their website

AppleVis.com

Join a community of Apple users who are blind or have low vision.

Learn more about AppleVis.com at their website

Mac-cessibility Network

Get information on using Apple products from those who are blind or have low vision.

Learn more about Mac-cessibility Network at their website

Enable accessibility features on Mac.

  1. In the Apple menu, select System Preferences.
  2. Select Accessibility. Then select and turn on the features you want to use.

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