Accessible to All: Visually Impaired Woman Reveals How She Uses Her iPhone, iPad

10.2 inch iPad Credit: N.Z. Photography
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Apple’s accessibility settings have been used for years by iPhone owners who want to tweak their phone’s abilities. Most tips and tricks focus on making things easier for everyone – however, only a few examine how those with hearing loss or vision impairment take advantage of the accessibility setting in iOS.

A recent BoingBoing article shows how the accessibility features many people use for convenience are critical for those with a visual impairment.

Kristy Viers kicked off a firestorm when she posted this fantastic video about using an iPhone with her visual impairment, shown below.

She then followed up that first video with a new in-depth video that shows how she uses the braille keyboard on her iPad and adjusts the rotors to optimize her input.

Apple and Accessibility

Apple has been committed to accessibility adding new features with each version of iOS, iPad, and macOS. The iPhone is so accessibility-focused that it has become one of the most popular assistive devices available.

“Over time iPhone has become the most powerful and popular assistive device ever. It broke the mold of previous thinking because it showed accessibility could in fact be seamlessly built into a device that all people can use universally.”

Sarah Herrlinger, Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives at Apple, to TechCrunch

Siri, VoiceOver, Voice Control, Text to Speech.. the list continues with features Apple has added to help people with all types of abilities to interact with their devices.

iOS 14 Accessibility features

Apple isn’t resting on its laurels, either. The company is continuing to improve accessibility. iOS 14, for example, is filled with accessibility features, especially for those with hearing and visual impairments.

  1. Background sound recognition will detect different noises like a doorbell, smoke alarm, and a crying baby. It then will send an alert so users can respond even when they cannot hear these noises.
  2. VoiceOver screen reader has been expanded to include reading text from images.
  3. When someone uses sign language on a group chat, iOS 14 will focus on that person, so it is easier to communicate with them.
  4. New headphone features allow the user to adjust the sounds to improve the audio and make it easier to hear.
  5. A new back tap feature lets users tap their phone back to access the notification cents and perform other actions.

These are only a few of the adaptive features that Apple has added to iOS 14. The company is currently distributing iOS 14 to developers and the public through its beta program. iOS is expected to officially become available this fall when the company releases its next-generation iPhone 12.

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