More on Accessibility Features in iOS 5

VoiceOver is not the only child in Apple’s accessibility family. New features for low-vision, hearing impaired and now also for motor disabilities.

Low Vision

Continuing with the family metaphor, low vision is probably not the favorite child of Apple. But some new features is added.

Zoom From Start

It is now possible to set-up the device without a computer or sighted assistance. Just do the regular 3 finger tap twice and a little dialog asks if you want to use Zoom or not.

Read Selected

You can now enable a preference to allow read selected text.

This works pretty much like on the Mac. When you have selected the text you want read for you a pop-up with the option ”Read” will appear. When you press it the a voice will read it with a pace of 30%.


This feature has been on the mac for a while and is great for elderly and low vision also for mentally challenged people.

What it does is, in Safari you now see a little button next to the reload button that says ”Reader”. Now when you tap it Safari strips out all other content except for the article. Which means no navigation, no ads, just the good part.


Besides making it a very fast and easy way to open the Camera app, with pressing home button 2 times on lock screen and tap the now appearing camera icon.

Pinching in and out on the screen will now zoom in/out very fast and easy. And to help you even further you can activate a grid to help you align the camera for the money shot.

You don’t even need to find the on-screen button to take a picture, you can now use the volume up button on your device or with a headset with that button.

If you still cant find the person you are trying to capture, just turn on VoiceOver and it speaks where and how many faces in the shot.

Mirror Screen

If you have a device with the ”A5” chip in it (iPad 2, iPhone 4S) you can mirror the screen wirelessly to an Apple TV in 1080P Full HD.

But don’t worry too much if you don’t have one of those fancy devices, be cause you can still use Apple’s 30-pin-connector to HDMI cable and do the same thing, and supposedly you can also use any 3rd party cable since Apple has opened up that to developers (NOTE: this has not been tested).

Even FaceTime works great for this.

Hard of Hearing

A lot of great new features for deaf and people hard of hearing.

Hearing Aid Mode

On iPhones you can now activate something called hearing aid mode. This will help if you have problem with too much static noise from the phone. So what it does is putting less power to the antenna which will decrease some signal reception, especially 2G/Edge, but also reduce irritating electrical noise.

Stereo Balance

You have had the ability to use mono sound, but what if you still have some hearing on one ear?

Now you can adjust the amount of sound that goes to which ear to get the perfect balance for you.

Custom Ring Indications

This is a really cool feature that makes it easier to see when and who is calling or sending a message.

You can now set individual vibrations to each contact! Why stop there you can also enable the LED flashlight on the back to make signals on incoming calls.

Motor Skills

So this is Apple accessibility’s new born. They now enable people with certain motor disabilities to access the world of iOS.

New Assistive Technologies

Apple says they now made it possible for more assistive technology to connect with iOS devices. As of now I don’t know which new AT or what kind but as long as it there, I am happy.

You can also set the default way to output incoming calls, to regular, speaker or headset.

Assistive Touch

This new feature is extremely impressive. It lets you record a couple of gestures and with an easy menu, access them with with a single tap.

You can have a menu, with access to many shortcuts and other helpful commands, floating on top of the screen at all time. Or have Assistive Touch on or off by pressing Home button 3 times, if enabled in the settings.


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