If you are using an iPhone or iPad and your vision is compromised (or, ahem if you are over 50), you might find these options useful. With every version of iOS the accessibility options have improved and expanded.
The following is the sequence of steps I follow when setting up an iOS device for someone with vision issues; as always your mileage may vary, but even if you only catch yourself squinting at your phone from time to time – give these options a try.
Change your Wallpaper to Black
It is cool to have nifty images on your phone screen, but if you are having trouble reading the labels for your folders, then it may be time to use a black background. You may also want to do this for your lock screen so that notifications and buttons stand out more.
The easiest method is to take a black photograph and use it as your background. Set your device on a table, block the light and take a photo (you may need to turn off your flash first). Use this photo for your background by going to Settings>Wallpaper > Choose a New Wallpaper and selecting your new photo from the Camera Roll.
Choose the Set option and then select the Set Home Screen option
Improve Your View
Next go to Settings > General > Accessibility and select the following options:
- Larger Text, you can start by using the slider to set your preferred text size or you make things even BIGGER by turning on Larger Accessibility Sizes and using the slider again. This comes with a couple of caveats. 1) Text is not affected everywhere on the device – tho Apple is clearly working to change this, and third party apps are (slowly) coming around. 2) Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing and have text that throws off the formatting or wraps weirdly or overlaps illegibly. Again, these problems are gradually being worked on as apps are updated.
- Bold Text – turning this option on will require a reboot of your device, because EVERYTHING has to be redrawn. But this will make the typeface used far more readable.
- Button Shapes – turning on button shapes will make them easier to find. Now, if they were only used more consistently throughout the OS, that would be awesome.
- Increase Contrast and turn on Reduce Transparency and Darken Colors. This should also help text stand out more.
- On/Off Labels add the | 0 symbols to your toggles, and I say why not!
Use your Home button to Zoom IN
While you are still in Settings > General > Accessibility , move down to Accessibility Shortcut. Here you can customize the action of the Home button when your triple-click it. Choose Zoom
You’ll need to fine-tune Zoom’s behaviour, by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom
Don’t worry about turning Zoom on here, that is what your triple-click will do. Instead:
- Turn on Follow Focus and Smart Typing.
- You may choose to Show Controller, but I find there is a balance between clutter and helpfulness, for me this clutters the screen too much.
- Select Zoom Region and choose Window Zoom.
- Play with the Maximum Zoom Level slider, you’ll probably adjust this more later.
To turn the zoom window on triple-click your home button and the zoom window will appear, outlined in black with a small tab handle at the bottom.
This is a toggle, so a second triple click turns the zoom window off. And what is really great, is that you can interact with the screen through the window. Click on links and type in dialog boxes whatever you need to do. This window is not just for viewing!
Customize the Zoom Window
By touching the tab handle shape at the bottom of the zoom window, a customization menu opens up.
Through it you can:
- Zoom Out (turn off window)
- Change to Full Screen Zoom
- Resize Lens,
which will allow you to resize the Zoom Window with the handles provided.
- Choose Filter, which will set a colour filter on the Zoom Window
- Show Controller
- Change Magnification using the slider, which uses the setting from the Maximum Zoom Level, you set earlier.
Add a Magnifier to the Home Button
The new magnifier option isn’t for your screen, but rather for all the small print articles you need to read. From menus in dark restaurants to the label on a pill bottle, if you have your phone you can read it. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Magnifier
Turn on the Magnifier and Auto-Brightness.
Now when you triple-click your Home button, an Accessibility Shortcuts menu will pop up. Tap the action you want to perform.