Apple’s Door Detection uses advancements in hardware, software, and machine learning to help people who are blind or low vision use their iPhone and iPad to navigate the last few feet to their destination.
This is one of several innovative software features unveiled Tuesday with new ways for users with disabilities. These include Live Captions, Apple Watch Mirroring and more.
The other day I was walking with music blasting through my AirPods when I almost stepped in front of a speeding ambulance.
Luckily, the magical Sound Recognition feature on my iPhone was turned on and my AirPods recognized the wailing sirens. They silenced the music and piped the sirens into my ears instead, saving my bacon. It was amazing and quite magical.
Your iPhone can also listen and alert you for crying babies, running water, knocks on the door, barking dogs and more.
The iPhone is renowned for its many accessibility features. Accessibility settings can make text on the screen bigger, buttons easier to identify, animations less jarring and sound easier to hear.
An accessibility feature that is useful for everyone is Spoken Content. You can have your phone read out loud anything you have on-screen. This feature was designed for people who have trouble reading small text, but you will find it handy even if you don’t — in lots of situations.
You can have recipes read to you while your hands are busy cooking, quickly hear how to pronounce a word you don’t know — that’s what I use it for most of all — and more. You can even hear what you’re typing as you write.
One of the upgrades to Accessibility in iOS and iPadOS 15 is a new Background Sounds feature that plays relaxing audio tracks to help you stay calm and focused, and to block out background distractions.
An iPhone and AirPods can be used to listen to conversations without people knowing. Such iPhone spying is really just a tricky use of the Live Listen feature built into iOS.
And, even if you’re not a budding James Bond, knowing about this trick could keep someone from eavesdropping on you. Here’s what to do if you want to use your iPhone to spy on someone. (Or what to watch out for if you don’t want to fall victim to iPhone spying.)
iOS and iPadOS 15 give you the ability to specify accessibility settings for individual apps. The change lets you adjust things like text size, increase contrast, invert colors and more only where you need to.
Reachability remains alive and well in iOS 14 — even if you have an iPhone without a Home button. The feature, which makes even the largest iPhone models easier to operate with one hand, is super-simple to use with just a quick flick of the thumb.
However, Reachability is disabled by default, so you’ll need to turn it on. Here’s how to enable and use Reachability in the latest iPhone firmware.
Apple plans to release software updates this year that will make its devices far easier to use for people with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities.
The features include AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch, which offers astonishing new ways for people with limited mobility to control the smartwatch without tapping its screen. The new feature uses Apple Watch’s array of sensors to interpret the wearer’s movement into interactions.
Cupertino showcased AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch — which lets users maneuver a cursor on the wearable’s screen simply by clenching their fist and pinching their fingers together, among other things — in a remarkable video. (We embedded the video below — definitely watch it.)
But AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch is just the beginning of Apple’s latest big push into accessibility.
Apple just overhauled its Accessibility website, emphasizing all the ways these built-in features can make using your iPhone and other gear easier to use. The updated Accessibility page is now headed up by a banner advertising “built‑in features that work the way you do. Make them yours, and make something wonderful.”
It goes on to describe the various tools — broken into Vision, Mobility, Hearing and Cognitive categories — that Apple offers users as built-in features within its software.
Apple has partnered with Washington D.C.’s Gallaudet University — the world’s leading university for deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind students — to offer all students and faculty Apple devices. Learners and teachers alike will receive an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and SmartFolio for iPad Pro.
The offer is also available to students and teachers at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet’s partner program for students in grades K-12.