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IOS accessibility; what is VoiceOver?

IOS offers many assistive technologies; that is what makes apple products so special to me. Yes, they are expensive to afford but for someone who extensively relies on assistive technology like a screen reader due to my print disability; one cannot compromise.

If you have an IOS device; you can get to the accessibility settings by the following method:

Settings/ accessibility

On this screen you will find all the available accessibility settings; but the one we are going to talk about is under the Vision heading called VoiceOver - which is a screen reader. This option for accessibility is mainly used by someone who is totally blind; where as someone who has a little vision; may end up using the magnifier. In your phone; if you have no visual impairment the toggle button for VoiceOver will show as OFF. Since I am using it, my setting will show ON; but there is nothing much to talk about this. It's just a toggle button to turn VoiceOver ON/OFF. However, what is important to talk about is the settings under VoiceOver.

If you are daring to experiment; you can replicate the instructions below:

1. If you toggle VoiceOver to ON; immediately your phone will start to speak!

2. Don't follow your eyes on the screen after this; instead your ears; use the gesture swipe right, left to move from one item to the other and single finger double tap to activate/ interact with what you heard (use this gesture to toggle VoiceOver OFF;if you are startled)

3. You must understand the concept of Focus; if you are in a word document; you know what a cursor is and it's need; to tell you where your focus is in the document. Likewise, Focus of VoiceOver is the last item it spoke

4. Everything else on the page is to help you customize VoiceOver; which includes speech rate/ pitch/ voice etc.

5. If you are still wanting to experiment; under the toggle switch there is an option to get a demonstration and practice VoiceOver; double tap to launch when in Focus

I really don't want to bore my readers to death on a technology they will not use; but I believe this is required to know that such a technology exists and in any event if you have a friend/ family member/ elderly who is having trouble using their smart device, due to poor OR no sight; you can educate them on this assistive technology that comes built into their IOS device!

P.S. android has it's own assistive technology for blind users called Google Talk Back; not as impressive as apple's VoiceOver on IOS

Below is a video; demonstrating VoiceOver features from apple accessibility:



  1. Great blog. My husband uses voiceover. He and I are still learning it.

  2. Interesting insights. It seems like some UX issue but sometimes the whole functionality is not well tested and released into production.


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