Apple Previews Innovative Accessibility Features Combining the Power of Hardware, Software, and Machine Learning
Software features coming later this year offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health, communication, and more
Using advancements across hardware, software, and machine learning, people who are blind or low vision can use their iPhone® and iPad® to navigate the last few feet to their destination with Door Detection; users with physical and motor disabilities who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control can fully control
“Apple embeds accessibility into every aspect of our work, and we are committed to designing the best products and services for everyone,” said
Door Detection for Users Who Are Blind or Low Vision
Door Detection will be available in a new Detection Mode within Magnifier, Apple’s built-in app supporting blind and low vision users. Door Detection, along with People Detection and Image Descriptions, can each be used alone or simultaneously in Detection Mode, offering users with vision disabilities a go-to place with customizable tools to help navigate and access rich descriptions of their surroundings. In addition to navigation tools within Magnifier,
Advancing Physical and Motor Accessibility for
Plus, users can do even more with simple hand gestures to control
Live Captions Come to iPhone, iPad, and Mac for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users
For the Deaf and hard of hearing community,
VoiceOver Adds New Languages and More
VoiceOver, Apple’s industry-leading screen reader for blind and low vision users, is adding support for more than 20 additional locales and languages, including Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.4 Users can also select from dozens of new voices that are optimized for assistive features across languages. These new languages, locales, and voices will also be available for Speak Selection and Speak Screen accessibility features. Additionally, VoiceOver users on Mac can use the new Text Checker tool to discover common formatting issues such as duplicative spaces or misplaced capital letters, which makes proofreading documents or emails even easier.
- With Buddy Controller, users can ask a care provider or friend to help them play a game; Buddy Controller combines any two game controllers into one, so multiple controllers can drive the input for a single player.
- With Siri® Pause Time, users with speech disabilities can adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request.
- Voice Control Spelling Mode gives users the option to dictate custom spellings using letter-by-letter input.5
- Sound Recognition can be customized to recognize sounds that are specific to a person’s environment, like their home’s unique alarm, doorbell, or appliances.
AppleBooks® app will offer new themes, and introduce customization options such as bolding text and adjusting line, character, and word spacing for an even more accessible reading experience.
Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day
SignTime will launch in
Canadaon May 19to connect AppleStore® and AppleSupport customers with on-demand American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters. SignTime is already available for customers in the US using ASL, the UKusing British Sign Language (BSL), and Franceusing French Sign Language (LSF).
Apple Storelocations around the world are offering live sessions throughout the week to help customers discover accessibility features on iPhone, and AppleSupport social channels are showcasing how-to content.
The Accessibility Assistant shortcut is coming to the Shortcuts app on Mac and
AppleWatch this week to help recommend accessibility features based on user preferences.
This week in
AppleFitness+℠, trainer Bakari Williamsuses ASL to highlight the features available to users that are part of an ongoing effort to make fitness more accessible to all, including Audio Hints, which are short descriptive verbal cues to support users who are blind or low vision, and Time to Walk and Time to Run episodes becoming “Time to Walk or Push” and “Time to Run or Push” for wheelchair users. Additionally, Fitness+ trainers incorporate ASL into every workout and meditation, all videos include closed captioning in six languages, and trainers demonstrate modifications in each workout so users at different levels can join in.
AppleMaps features a new guide from the National Park Foundation, Park Access for All, to help users discover accessible features, programs, and services to explore in parks across the US. Guides from Gallaudet University— the world’s premier university for Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind students — feature businesses and organizations that value, embrace, and prioritize the Deaf community and signed languages.
Users can explore accessibility-focused apps and powerful stories from app creators in the App Store®;check out the Transforming Our World collection in
Apple Books, featuring stories by and about people with disabilities; and learn about creative ways technology is advancing accessibility in ApplePodcasts®.
AppleMusic® will highlight the Saylists playlists, a collection of playlists that each focus on a different sound. Choosing one and singing along is a fun and engaging way to practice vocal sounds or speech therapy.
AppleTV® app will highlight the latest hit movies and shows featuring authentic representation of people with disabilities. Plus, viewers can explore guest-curated collections from the accessibility community’s standout actors, including Marlee Matlin(“CODA”), Lauren Ridloff(“Eternals”), Selma Blair(“Introducing, Selma Blair”), Ali Stroker(“Christmas Ever After”), and more.
- Door Detection and People Detection features in Magnifier require the LiDAR Scanner on iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd and 3rd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th and 5th generation). Door Detection should not be relied upon in circumstances where a user may be harmed or injured, or in high-risk or emergency situations.
AppleWatch Mirroring is available on Apple Watch Series6 and later.
Live Captions will be available in beta later this year in English (US,
Canada) on iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Macs with Applesilicon. Accuracy of Live Captions may vary and should not be relied upon in high-risk situations.
VoiceOver, Speak Selection, and Speak Screen will add support for Arabic (World), Basque, Bengali (
India), Bhojpuri ( India), Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Farsi, French ( Belgium), Galician, Kannada, Malay, Mandarin ( Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan), Marathi, Shanghainese ( China), Spanish ( Chile), Slovenian, Tamil, Telugu, Ukrainian, Valencian, and Vietnamese.
- Voice Control spelling mode is available in English (US).
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