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Apple Unveils Groundbreaking Accessibility Features, Empowering Users with Disabilities

TLDR: Apple announces new accessibility features for iPhone, iPad, CarPlay, and visionOS, including Eye Tracking, Music Haptics, Vocal Shortcuts, and Vehicle Motion Cues. The company also celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day with free sessions, curated collections, and more, reflecting its commitment to inclusive design and empowering all users.

Apple has announced new accessibility features coming later this year, including Eye Tracking, Music Haptics, Vocal Shortcuts, Vehicle Motion Cues, and more. These features combine the power of Apple hardware and software, harnessing Apple silicon, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to further Apple’s decades-long commitment to designing products for everyone.

Eye Tracking Comes to iPad and iPhone

Powered by artificial intelligence, Eye Tracking gives users with physical disabilities a built-in option for navigating iPad and iPhones with just their eyes. Using the front-facing camera, Eye Tracking sets up and calibrates in seconds, and with on-device machine learning, all data used to set up and control this feature is kept securely on the device.

Eye Tracking works across iPadOS and iOS apps, allowing users to navigate through app elements and use Dwell Control to activate each element, accessing additional functions such as physical buttons, swipes, and other gestures solely with their eyes.

Music Haptics Makes Songs More Accessible

Music Haptics is a new way for users who are deaf or hard of hearing to experience music on iPhone. With this feature turned on, the Taptic Engine in iPhone plays taps, textures, and refined vibrations to the audio of the music.

Inclusive experience.

New Features for a Wide Range of Speech

With Vocal Shortcuts, iPhone and iPad users can assign custom utterances that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete complex tasks. Listen for Atypical Speech, another new feature, gives users an option for enhancing speech recognition for a wider range of speech, using on-device machine learning to recognize user speech patterns.

These features provide a new level of customization and control for users with acquired or progressive conditions that affect speech, such as cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or stroke.

Vehicle Motion Cues Can Help Reduce Motion Sickness

Vehicle Motion Cues is a new experience for iPhone and iPad that can help reduce motion sickness for passengers in moving vehicles. Using sensors built into iPhone and iPad, Vehicle Motion Cues recognizes when a user is in a moving vehicle and responds accordingly, displaying animated dots on the edges of the screen to represent changes in vehicle motion without interfering with the main content.

CarPlay Gets Voice Control, More Accessibility Updates

Accessibility features coming to CarPlay include Voice Control, Color Filters, and Sound Recognition. With Voice Control, users can navigate CarPlay and control apps with just their voice. Sound Recognition allows drivers or passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing to turn on alerts for car horns and sirens. Colour Filters make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use for users who are colorblind.

Accessibility Features Coming to vision

This year, accessibility features coming to visionOS will include systemwide Live Captions, support for additional Made for iPhone hearing devices and cochlear hearing processors, and updates for vision accessibility such as Reduce Transparency, Smart Invert, and Dim Flashing Lights.

Apple Vision Pro offers a flexible input system and an intuitive interface designed with a wide range of users in mind, with features like VoiceOver, Zoom, Color Filters, Guided Access, Switch Control, Sound Actions, and Dwell Control.

Game-changing accessibility.

Additional Updates

  • VoiceOver will include new voices, a flexible Voice Rotor, custom volume control, and the ability to customize VoiceOver keyboard shortcuts on Mac.
  • Magnifier will offer a new Reader Mode and the option to easily launch Detection Mode with the Action button.
  • Braille users will get new features for faster control and text editing, Japanese language availability for Braille Screen Input, support for multi-line braille with Dot Pad, and more.
  • Hover Typing shows larger text when typing in a text field for users with low vision.
  • Personal Voice will be available in Mandarin Chinese for users at risk of losing their ability to speak.
  • Live Speech will include categories and simultaneous compatibility with Live Captions for users who are nonspeaking.
  • Virtual Trackpad for AssistiveTouch allows users with physical disabilities to control their device using a small region of the screen as a resizable trackpad.
  • Switch Control will include the option to use iPhone and iPad cameras to recognize finger-tap gestures as switches.
  • Voice Control will offer support for custom vocabularies and complex words.

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Apple

Throughout May, Apple is introducing new features, curated collections, and more in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day:

  • Select Apple Store locations will host free sessions to help customers explore and discover accessibility features.
  • Shortcuts add Calming Sounds, which plays ambient soundscapes to minimize distractions, helping users focus or rest.
  • The App Store will showcase incredible apps and games that promote access and inclusion for all.
  • The Apple TV app will honour trailblazing creators, performers, and activists who passionately share the experiences of people with disabilities.
  • Apple Books will spotlight lived experiences of disability through curated collections of first-person narratives by disabled writers.
  • Apple Fitness+ workouts, meditations, and trainer tips welcome users who are deaf or hard of hearing with American Sign Language, and Time to Walk now includes transcripts in the Apple Podcasts app.
  • Users can visit Apple Support to learn how their Apple devices can be customized using built-in accessibility features.


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