iPhone & iPad Apps for the Blind &VisuallyImpaired

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Voiceover for iOS let voiceover be your guide

iPad paired with a Braille display in the Notes app.Braille Displays

iOS devices are fully compatible with many refreshable braille displays. You can connect a Bluetooth wireless braille display to read VoiceOver output, including contracted and uncontracted braille and equations using Nemeth Code. And braille displays with input keys can be used to control your iOS device when VoiceOver is turned on.

VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader that lets you enjoy the fun and simplicity of iOS even if you can’t see the screen. With VoiceOver enabled, just triple-click the Home button to access it wherever you are in iOS. Hear a description of everything happening on your screen, from battery level to who’s calling to which app your finger’s on. You can adjust the speaking rate and pitch to suit you.

iPhone showing VoiceOver speech output from It's Nice That web site in Safari: 'The intimidating landscapes of the Tour de France captured beautifully by Mark Leary.'

Text Input

Whether you’re composing an email or jotting a note, VoiceOver echoes each character on the keyboard as you touch it, and again when you enter it. Have VoiceOver speak each completed word. A flick up or down moves the cursor so you can edit precisely. To help you type more quickly and accurately, iOS supports multiple character inputmethods — including handwriting — and corrects misspelled words. Enable Speak Auto-text and you hear a sound effect and the suggested word spoken. Keep typing to ignore it, or tap the space bar to have your iOS device type it for you. Pair up an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, and VoiceOver talks you through inputting text in the same way.
iPhone showing the VoiceOver rotor set to move by headings in a Elle Decor web page.

The Rotor

iPhone showing VoiceOver working with autocorrection in the Messages app.
VoiceOver features a virtual control called the rotor. Turning the rotor — by rotating two fingers on the screen as if you were turning an actual dial — changes the way VoiceOver moves through a web page or document based on the setting you choose. When you’re on a web page, turn the rotor to hear settings like “headings,” “links,” and “images.” Then flick to choose how you navigate the page — for example, you can skip from one heading to the next. Move through documents with similar ease. The rotor has settings like “word” or “character” that let you choose how to navigate your text, which comes in handy for checking spelling and grammar. You can customize the rotor elements from a variety of options, including language.


Because VoiceOver is integrated in iOS, it works with all the built-in apps, including Safari, Mail, App Store, iTunes, Music, Calendar, Reminders, and Notes. You can also create custom labels for buttons in any app — including third-party apps. So it’s even easier to get to your news, word games, or anything else you love on your iOS device. And Apple is working with the iOS developer community to make even more apps compatible with VoiceOver. 

International Voices

VoiceOver includes built-in voices that speak over 30 languages: English (U.S.), English (UK), English (Australia), English (Ireland), English (South Africa), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), French (France), French (Canada), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Mainland China), Mandarin (Taiwan), Cantonese (Hong Kong), Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Flemish (Belgium), Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.