The iPhone is designed to have some very specific Accessibility features that help people with a few hindrances to using the iPhone’s gestures and buttons normally.
The accessibility features can come in handy even under other circumstances. For instance, when the home button isn’t very responsive, one of the alternatives is to go for AssistiveTouch which puts a home button touch icon on the screen.
This is of course just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the accessibility tips for iPhone users.
AssistiveTouch is by far the best feature on the iPhone when it comes to accessibility. AssistiveTouch converts many of the ‘actions’ triggered by gestures (button-press, shake etc.) into touch-actions. So, in case you want to shake the iPhone but cannot, you can use an AssistiveTouch gesture.
AssistiveTouch can be turned ON from Settings → General → Accessibility and scroll down. Once you turn on, you have a small translucent button show up on the screen. You can move this around. Tap it and this screen pops up:
- When you tap the home button, the action simulates pressing of the home button.
- Siri of course opens Siri for voice commands.
- Tapping on Device opens up a few more options related to the iPhone like locking the screen, rotating the screen, increasing/decreasing the volume, taking a screenshot, opening the multitasking switcher etc.
Siri through Other Gestures
Siri, by default, opens when you press and hold the home button. However, you can change this behavior if you’ve jailbroken your iPhone and installed Activator. With Activator installed, you can actually change the trigger that opens Siri. Through Activator, you can open Siri via actions like swipe from top-to-bottom of the springboard. Or a three-finger tap etc.
LED Flash for Alerts
LED flash for alerts is a super simple accessibility feature. The LED flash on your iPhone can work as a flash for the camera, can work as a Torch (via apps or tweaks like TorchNC) but even more than this, it can also work as an indicator when you get a notification alert. Like a call or a message.
This particular feature is helpful when you can’t have your iPhone on vibrate or ring mode. This is not the usual case but in the rare event that your iPhone has to be totally silent, you can use this feature to know if there’s a call or message alert. The LED flash is short but bright enough to alert you well if you keep the iPhone face down.
Did you know that you can reduce/increase the font-size of the text on the iPhone? You can increase font size on Mail, Messages, Reminders, Calendars and almost everything else. To do this:
- Go to Settings → General → Accessibility Large Text and tap on a font size that’s comfortable for reading.
While making the text larger is useful for readability, there’s also the zoom feature that enables you to make everything larger on the iPhone. The zoom works in a simple way:
- Do a three-finger double-tap to zoom.
- Three-finger swipe to move around the screen
- Do a three-finger double-tap and swipe to change the zoom level.
- To enable zoom, all you have to do is turn ON the Zoom feature in Settings General Accessibility.
Speak selection, as the name suggests, is a way to let the iPhone speak out the text that you just selected. It’s not a powerfully useful feature for most of us but at times, it can be quite helpful. When you turn on Speak Selection, every time you hightlight text on your iPhone (in any app), besides the usual Copy, Cut and other options, you will see a ‘Speak’ option pop up. Tap this and the iPhone will begin speaking the text highlighted.
Within Speak Selection, you get to control the dialect and the speed at which the text is read out.
Configure Home-click Speeds
While the default home-button click speed (for double and triple-tap) is pretty decent, it might be troublesome for a few of us. In order to reduce this speed / response time, you can actually head over to the accessibility settings and change it from Settings → General → Accessibility → Home-click Speed. The option can be found way below so you’ll have to scroll down a lot. There are three options under this: default, slower, slowest.