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IOS 17 Adds 24 New Accessibility Features To Your IPhone - Do Not Ignore


Apple first teased new cognitive, speech, and visual accessibility tools for the iPhonein May, and they've now arrived with iOS 17. The iOS 17 adds 24 new accessibility features to your iPhoneand you shouldn't ignore them!

But there are more accessibility capabilities in Apple's latest software update than that — and they aren't just for disabled people.

While the new accessibility features on iOS 17 were designed for impaired people, as you'll see when you see them, they can assist everyone with an iPhone, just like older accessibility tools like Sound Recognition, LED Flash Alerts, Speak Selection, and Color Filters. Everything new is listed below:

Many of the new features are also available on iPadOS 17 for iPad.

Assistive Access

Assistive Access, which was originally seen being tested in the iOS 16.2 beta, is now available with iOS 17.

It's a new cognitive accessibility feature with a more visible interface that includes large text and buttons, visual alternatives to text, and targeted options for Calls, Cameras, Messages, Photos, Music, and other desired third-party apps. You may access it by going to Settings > Accessibility > Assistive Access.

Live Speech

Live Speech
Live Speech

If you don't want to or are unable to speak, Live Speech can perform the vocal work for you. Simply compose your message, and your iPhone will read it aloud.

It is compatible with phone and FaceTime calls, as well as in-person interactions. It's accessible via Settings > Accessibility > Live Speech. From there, you may select voices and preferred phrases to use when Live Speech is active.

Personal Voice

Personal speech, which is only available in English, converts your own speech into a digital voice that you may use with Live Speech. This is useful if you are at risk of losing your voice or simply wish to avoid speaking out.

Simply use 150 words to train Personal Voice, and your iPhone will generate and securely retain your distinctive voice.

Then, type to utilize Personal Voice via your speaker or in apps like FaceTime, Phone, and others. You may access it by going to Settings > Accessibility > Personal Voice.

Text Detection In Magnifier

Magnifier can read out all the text visible in your camera's field of vision when in Detection Mode on any Pro model since the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.

Tap the Detection Mode button in Magnifier, then select the new Text Detection button. In Detection Mode, select the cog or gear icon, then "Text Detection," to alter your choices for the feature, such as feedback and automatic flashlight.

Point And Speak In Magnifier

Magnifier can only pronounce the text you point at when in Detection Mode on any Pro model since the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, such as when entering an entry code or PIN on a keypad. Tap the Detection Mode button in Magnifier, then select the new Point and Speak button.

When pointing at text, hold your hand one foot away from your iPhone. Your hand should be parallel to your iPhone's rear camera so Magnifier can see your entire finger. Choose if you want Magnifier to detect text under or above the finger in the Detection Mode settings.

In Detection Mode, tap the cog or gear icon, then "Point and Speak," to alter the feature's preferences, such as feedback, position, and automatic flashlight.

Siri Speaking Speed

Most of you may not have a problem with Siri's speech tempo, but if it's too quick for you to understand or dragging you down because it's too slow, you can change it.

Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Siri > Speaking Rate and increase it from 80% to 200%, or 0.8x to 2x.

Pause Auto-Playing Animated Images

If you don't want to be overwhelmed with GIFs in Safari or Messages, you may turn this off to prevent animated images from playing automatically.

Instead, you can tap the image to play it whenever you like. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Motion > Auto-Play Animated Images and turn it off.

Prefer Horizontal Text

When using non-English languages on iOS 17, you can modify the layout to utilize horizontal text instead of vertical text where available. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Prefer Horizontal Text to enable it.

More Per-App Options

If you like complete control over how your apps display, you'll be pleased to learn that there are a few extra settings available via Settings > Accessibility > Per-App Settings. When you open an app's settings, you'll notice new options for "Auto-Play Animated Images" and "Prefer Horizontal Text."

Settings For Built-in Voices

You can customize the built-in voices for Spoken Content and VoiceOver by changing the pitch range, minimum and maximum words per minute speed, timbre, and sentence pause. You can see previews of your changes to help you find the ideal voice preferences.

Guide To Voice Control

If you've ever struggled with how to utilize Voice Control, iOS 17 now offers a guide with step-by-step videos to assist you. It is accessible through Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control > Open Voice Control Guide.

You can then browse through the available collections, which include Getting Started, Introduction to Dictation, Text Editing, and Navigation.

Voice Control Phonetic Corrections For Text Editing

You may now utilize phonetic corrections to select the proper word from a list of similar-sounding words while editing text with Voice Control, such as "do," "due," and "dew." Currently, this is only available in English, Spanish, French, and German.

Updated Voice Control Commands

There are new commands: under Settings > Accessibility > Voice Control > Commands.

  • Close Control Center
  • Close Notification Center
  • Open Voice Control Guide
  • Show names once
  • Put quotes around that
  • Put quotes around <phrase>
  • Put curly quotes around that
  • Put curly quotes around <phrase>
  • Put single quotes around that
  • Put single quotes around <phrase>
  • Put single curly quotes around that
  • Put single curly quotes around <phrase>
  • Put parentheses around that
  • Put parentheses around <phrase>
  • Put brackets around that
  • Put brackets around <phrase>
  • Put braces around that
  • Put braces around <phrase>

Some names have changed, including:

  • Start listening (was and still includes "Wake up")
  • Start listening to iPhone (was and still includes "Wake up iPhone")
  • Stop listening (was and still includes "Go to sleep")
  • Stop listening iPhone (was and still includes "Go to sleep iPhone")
  • Show names (now includes "Show continuously," which was previously separated)

Additional Back Tap Options

When you go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap, you'll notice two new options for "Dim Flashing Lights" and "Live Speech."

Buttons For Live TV On The Apple TV Remote

A new switch for "Live TV Buttons" may be found in Settings > Accessibility > Apple TV Remote. When this option is enabled, the Apple TV Remote will always display the guide and channel buttons.

Switch Control Virtual Game Controller

If you use external or native switches on your iPhone, such as screen taps, head motions, back tap gestures, and sound actions, you can now convert your favorite collection of switches into a virtual gamingcontroller.

VoiceOver Siri Voice Improvements

If you're unfamiliar, VoiceOver is an iOS gesture-based screen reader that provides audible descriptions of whatever's on your screen — even if you can't see it yourself.

It might be the battery level, who is calling, the app your finger is currently tapping, and so on. VoiceOver receives a noticeable improvement with iOS 17, with Siri voices sounding better now at high rates of speech feedback.

VoiceOver Braille Enhancements

If you use a Braille display with your iPhone, new options are available in iOS 17 via Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Braille.

Show till Dismissed:Keeps alert messages on your Braille display until you engage with them.

When your Braille display is connected, Sound Curtain disables all audio, including music, sound effects, and even VoiceOver. It will not turn off emergency alarms.

Enable Bluetooth on Start:Turns on Bluetooth automatically when VoiceOver is enabled, allowing your Braille display to connect.

VoiceOver's Verbosity Improvements

If you go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Verbosity, you'll notice a few more settings, as shown below. The options for verbosity influence how much detail is read back to you.

  • System Verbosity Notifications- Previously, you could only toggle "Always Speak Notifications" on or off in the VoiceOver settings. Now, hit "System Notifications" to customize which types of notifications appear when the phone is locked.
  • Predictive Text Feedback- You can now customize how VoiceOver displays or enters predictive text. Speak, Play Sound, Change Pitch, Braille, and/or Do Nothing are all options.

VoiceOver Audio Enhancements

VoiceOver on iOS 17 also has a new app feedback option that allows you to change between noises and haptics. Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Audio, then select "VoiceOver Sounds & Haptics" (formerly known as "Sounds & Haptics"). You'll see the new "Notification Appeared" app feedback option here.

VoiceOver Command Enhancements

When you go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Commands, you'll see a few new VoiceOver commands in the "All Commands" menu, such as:

  • Move to Item at Center (Basic Navigation)
  • Toggle Quick Nav (VoiceOver)
  • Toggle Sound Curtain (VoiceOver)

A new option has also been added to "Keyboard Shortcuts":

Toggle Quick Navigation

VoiceOver Rotor Enhancements

VoiceOver Rotor Enhancements setting option
VoiceOver Rotor Enhancements setting option
VoiceOver Rotor Enhancements items
VoiceOver Rotor Enhancements items

The "Rotor" and "Rotor Actions" menus in Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver have been unified into a single "Rotor" menu on iOS 17. In the new "Rotor" menu, look for "Rotor Items," which contains all of the selected rotor items.

You'll also notice a new "Change Rotor with Item" switch, which changes the selected rotor based on the VoiceOver emphasis with the switch enabled.

New Actions In AssistiveTouch

On iOS 17, AssistiveTouch has a few new features as well. Go to Settings > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Single-Tap to see the newly available items:

  • Double Tap
  • Long Press
  • Pinch
  • Pinch and Rotate
  • Rotate
  • Dim Flashing Lights
  • Live Speech
  • Continuous Horizontal Scroll (previously just Continuous Scroll)
  • Continuous Vertical Scroll (previously just Continuous Scroll)

The same is true for the Double-Tap and Long Press custom actions, with the exception of the previously available "Double Tap" and "Long Press" options.

Also, there are new options in the "Customize Top Level Menu" preferences:

  • Shortcuts
  • Dim Flashing Lights
  • Live Speech
  • Continuous Horizontal Scroll (previously just Continuous Scroll)
  • Continuous Vertical Scroll (previously just Continuous Scroll)

Other Minor Changes To Note

  • Accessibility Shortcut- You can now add Dim Flashing Lights, Live Speech, and Speak Screen.
  • AssistiveTouch- The unused icon ([+]) in "Customize Top Level Menu" in the AssistiveTouch settings has a much smaller plus (+) sign in the box. Before, it would expand across the whole box.
  • Background Sounds- Ringtones can no longer be chosen as alert tones for sounds.
  • Guided Access- Ringtones can no longer be chosen as alert tones for Guided Access Time Limits.
  • Haptic Touch- There's a new "Default" option in the Haptic Touch settings, in case you should ever forget whether "Fast" or "Slow" was originally selected.
  • Live Captions- Live Captions is no longer listed as being in beta.
  • Motion- The "Dim Flashing Light" switch in the Motion settings added another sentence to the description — "The video timeline will display when flashing lights occur in the content for supported media."
  • Shortcuts- There's now a "Set Left/Right Balance" action in the Shortcuts app, which lets you toggle or set a value for the slider available in Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Balance.
  • Voice Control- "Customize Commands" in the Voice Control settings is now just "Commands."
  • Voice Control- The import, export, and delete options for "Vocabulary" in the Voice Control settings are now inside the "Vocabulary" submenu instead of below it.
  • Voice Control- There's a new icon for Voice Control.
  • VoiceOver- "Sound Curtain" is a new Quick Settings option, and "Always Speak Notifications" is now called "System Notifications."

How To Download IOS 17?

USA Todaysaid that you have to go first to the Settings icon on your phone to download the latest software.

Select General, then Software Update.

This should display any available updates for your phone.

If the update does not install, it could be because your phone does not have enough storage space.

Tap on iPhone Storage in the General menu to see how much storage space your phone has.

This will also advise places to clean out to make room, such as removing your recently deleted photographs folder.

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Daniel Barrett

Daniel Barrett

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