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 30 languages, including multiple voice options.
VoiceOver in Apps
VoiceOver is unique because it’s not a standalone 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 right away.
You can control VoiceOver using many of the same gestures you use with iOS. 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 and the Rotor
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 customizable 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 element of your choosing.
VoiceOver and Braille Support
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, and the VoiceOver description is presented to you in braille. It’s also the only screen reader that supports more than one braille display at a time. So in a meeting or class, you can present what’s on your screen to multiple braille users simultaneously. 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.
Watch movies with detailed audio descriptions of every scene on your Mac. Movies with audio descriptions are displayed with the AD icon in the iTunes Store.
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.
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 full screen or picture-in-picture, 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.
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.
If a higher contrast or a lack of color helps you better see what’s on your display, macOS lets you invert colors or enable grayscale onscreen. Once you set your preferences, they apply systemwide, 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.
New in macOS Sierra Reduce Motion
If you’re affected by the motion of screen elements, you can turn on Reduce Motion to decrease movement in areas like Spaces, Notification Center, and the Dock.
iTunes is compatible with VoiceOver, so you can navigate and play all the content in your iTunes library even if you can’t see the screen. Browse the iTunes Store as VoiceOver reads out headers, links, and other elements on the page.
VoiceOver Commands Charts
First-Level VoiceOver Commands
First-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Color
First-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Grayscale
Second-Level VoiceOver Commands
Second-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Color
Second-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Grayscale
Third-Level VoiceOver Commands
Third-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Color
Third-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Grayscale
Fourth-Level VoiceOver Commands
Fourth-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Color
Fourth-Level VoiceOver Commands Chart in Grayscale