Apple is known for being inclusive — creating technology that works for everyone! Their products are inclusive by design with built-in accessibility features to help users connect and create in the ways that work best for them.
And the accessibility enhancements that come with the new iOS 17 are no different. While the accessibility features are designed for people who live with disabilities, they make smartphones better for everyone.
Use Your Voice with Speech Accessibility
Live Speech is designed to support millions of people around the world who are unable to speak or who have lost their speech over time.
With Live Speech in iOS 17, Apple users can type what they want to say to have it spoken out loud during phone calls as well as in-person conversations. Users can also save commonly-used phrases for quicker access during a lively conversation with others.
In addition, Personal Voice is a simple and secure way to create a voice that sounds like you. All you have to do is read along with a random set of text prompts to record 15 minutes of audio. This speech accessibility feature uses on-device machine learning to keep your information private and secure.
That way, any time your iPhone or other Apple device speaks for you, it resembles your speech, not someone else’s. Plus, it integrates with Live Speech so users can speak with their own voice when connecting with loved ones.
Blind or Low Vision Support in Magnifier
Point to hear your way around — that’s what Point and Speak in Magnifier does for you. It makes it easier for users with vision disabilities to interact with physical objects that may have lots of text. As you point and move your finger over or under different buttons or elements, your iPhone or iPad reads the text out loud so you can perform everyday activities with more ease and independence.
Point and Speak is built into the Magnifier app and works great with VoiceOver and can be used with other Magnifier features such as People Detection, Door Detection and Image Descriptions. It helps users navigate their physical environment.
Assistive Access to Lighten Cognitive Load
Assistive Access makes it easier for people with cognitive disabilities to customize their iPhone or iPad to lighten the cognitive load. It offers a distinctive interface with high-contrast buttons, large-text labels and visual alternatives to text.
There are also customized experiences for Phone and FaceTime as well as Messages, Camera, Photos and Music. For example, if you prefer to communicate visually, Messages includes an emoji-only keyboard. There is also the option to record a video message to share with others.
You can also choose a more visual, grid-based layout for your Home Screen and apps — or a row-based layout if you prefer text.
“Accessibility is part of everything we do at Apple,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives. “These groundbreaking features were designed with feedback from members of disability communities every step of the way, to support a diverse set of users and help people connect in new ways.”
For a look at more of the new accessibility features included in iOS 17, check out https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/05/apple-previews-live-speech-personal-voice-and-more-new-accessibility-features/.