New Accessibility Features for iPhone, iPad, & More-Coming this Fall!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

[Image description: 4 people wearing masks take a selfie in front of a painting of the Mona Lisa; the Mona Lisa is wearing a mask too! End image description.] Image source

By Jen Mullins, BS, CTRS, MATP Staff

This past Monday Apple announced that it will be releasing its iOS 14 update in the fall.  Note: OS is the abbreviation for operating system.  In general, an OS is the software that runs your device.  I’ve been learning about some of the new accessibility settings that are included in the update and I’m excited about the possibilities!  Here are a few that seem particularly useful:

[Image description: A pair of Apple AirPods next to a silver iPhone. The iPhone is turned over and the camera and back of the phone are visible. End image description.] Image source

I have a hearing disability and also use Apple’s AirPods headphones so I am very interested in the updates Apple is making in the settings for hearing features together with Apple’s headphones (AirPods Pro, second-generation AirPods, select Beats headphones, and EarPods).  Users will be able to customize the audio settings for what’s right for them. Users can set up to nine unique profiles.  We’ll be able to create (and save!) a setting for when watching a movie, a setting to use during phone calls, and more!

Your device will be able to detect if someone on a FaceTime call is using sign language during FaceTime chats between multiple people. When it detects the person signing, it will make their window more prominent in the call; making it easier for participants to see the sign language interpreter.

[Image description: A person smiles while looking at the screen on their iPhone. The person is shown sitting in bed while sun shines on them. End image description.] Image source

[Image description: A dog has their mouth open; implying that they are barking. The wear a yellow hat and stand in front of a pink background. End image description.] Image source

Your device will be able to listen for 14 different sounds and alert you when it hears these sounds.  Sounds include a door knock, doorbell, sirens, smoke detector alarm, dog barking, a crying baby, and more.

When you double or triple tap the back of your device, you will be able to make actions happen (supposed to work even if you have a case on your device).  You can set your “Back Tap” to turn on your device’s Magnifier, have Siri read the text on the screen aloud (like read a text message aloud), turn on VoiceOver, and other commands.  Back Tap should also work when paired with additional software & devices; for example, by using Apple’s HomeKit you could create a shortcut that turns on or off all the lights in your house, then activate it by double-tapping the back of your device.

If you’re interested in learning more about iOS 14, I included a few links below.  Comment and share which settings you are most excited about in the update!