Modern society spends more and more time in front of smartphones and other devices running iOS or Android than those running OS X and Windows.  Both iOS and Android have a wide range of assistive technologies to address vision, hearing, and physical challenges.  These features make mobile devices easier and more fun to use even for those who don’t require them.  Here are 5 features on iOS that sometimes get overlooked. Unless otherwise noted, these features can be found by tapping Settings > General > Accessibility



5.  Bigger and Bolder Text

  1. This is the most utilized feature, by far.  Those with visual impairment may need larger text for reading, but bigger text can also reduce eye strain for easier reading on your iPhone or iPad screen. 


4.  Easier Reading in Safari

  1. To reduce clutter on a Safari webpage and to view the content in a larger font, use the Safari Reader feature. Just tap the lined paragraph icon next to the web address in Safari.  You can tap the aA icon on the far right of the URL bar to adjust things like text size, background color, and font.

iOS VoiceOver Enabled Handwriting

3.  Draw letters instead of typing

  1. The keyboard can be hard to work even for those without coordination issues. With VoiceOver enabled, you can draw letters on the screen and have them translated to text. 

2.  Create your own Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. This feature is especially helpful if there are words or phrases that you use often in common replies or in gaming.  Being a Game of Thrones Fan, I have keyboard shortcuts for the most common greeting in Bravos:  Valar morghulis “.vm” and Valar dohaeris “.vd” To create shortcuts, tap Settings > General > Keyboard.      

Siri Interface turning VoiceOver on


1.  Siri

This is my favorite accessibility feature of them all.  To interact with Siri,  hold 

down the Home button on your iPhone or iPad and tell Siri to make calls, type dictated text messages, read email and app notifications to you, or find a local eatery.  She can even turn on accessibility features for you; just ask her to turn on VoiceOver, Invert Colors, or Guided Access.  Siri can do so much more. Do some exploring and give her a try!

You can see even more accessibility features for iOS on Apple's Accessibility Tips and Tricks page.  Have an Android phone? No sweat! Check out the Android Accessibility Help Center!