Apple has once again expanded the Accessibility options of the iPhone with iOS 15. While there are many new features added to help blind or visually impaired users, there have also been improvements for deaf, neurotypical, and physically disabled users. These features can enhance overall use for non-disabled users as well.
For people with vision problems, there is a lot to love about iOS 15. VoiceOver allows you to explore images and add image descriptions to your photos using Markup. And when you take photos, VoiceOver will tell you what is in the frame. You can also now control display and text settings in each app to make them easier to use.
The Background Sounds feature will help users shut out annoying and disruptive noises by streaming continuous sounds to mask those external distractions without affecting alerts or sounds as you are using your iPhone.
Updates were also made to Switch Control to allow for non-word sound use and Headphone Accommodations has even more control options. Even Memojis weren’t left out of the update with new options for customization including oxygen tubes, cochlear implants, and a soft helmet for headwear.
Let’s explore how to access and use these new features. And remember, you can use Siri to easily navigate and turn features on and off as well.
Explore Images and Use Camera with VoiceOver
Step 1. Go to the Accessibility menu in Settings.
Step 2. In the VoiceOver menu select VoiceOver Recognition. Note: VoiceOver must be turned on to use this feature.
Step 3. Tap the Image Descriptions menu and toggle the setting to On. Be sure to look at the VoiceOver commands so you will be able to fully use the feature.
Step 4. To use the feature, select an image and swipe up to hear options. You can use your finger to move around the photo and hear more options.
If you are not familiar with using VoiceOver, it might take some time to get used to. There is a practice option that will be available when you turn VoiceOver on, and I recommend using that to learn the commands.
When you use the Camera app with VoiceOver turned on it will automatically read what is in the frame and provide you with a list of actions.
Add Image Descriptions to Photos
To make your own images more accessible you can add a description for VoiceOver to use.
Step 1. Open the Photos app, or other supported image app, and select a photo to edit.
Step 2. Tap the Marker icon to open the Markup toolbar and then tap the Plus icon.
Step 3. Choose Description from the popup menu and enter your description of the photo. Tap Done to save your changes.
Change App Settings
Step 1. Under the Accessibility menu in Settings, choose Per-App Settings.
Step 2. Tap Add App and choose from the list of installed apps. You can only choose one at a time and once an app is selected you will be automatically returned to the previous screen.
Step 3. Select the app to edit and from the next screen adjust the settings as needed.
Adjust Text Size from Control Center
Step 1. In Settings, select Control Center.
Step 2. Scroll down to Text Size and tap the green plus icon.
Step 3. To access while using an app swipe down from the top right of the screen to open the Control Center and tap the AA icon.
Step 4. Use the slider to increase or decrease the text size. You can choose to apply the change to all apps or just the one you are using.
Play Background Sounds
Step 1. In the Accessibility settings, select the Audio/Visual menu.
Step 2. Choose the Background Sounds menu to bring up the options menu.
Step 3. Toggle the feature to On and choose your sounds and options as desired.
Apple already had a lot of Accessibility features and these new updates have made iPhones even more user-friendly for many people. Explore the options and customize your iPhone!
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