iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad has a great set of accessibility features that can be useful for just about anyone. You can zoom in on the screen, change the font size for some apps, have your iPhone speak text on web pages and in documents, use multi-touch gestures with just one finger, and even set custom vibration sequences.



Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMostNow. Let’s look at the accessibility options in iOS 5, many of which can be useful to anyone.
Accessibility settings are in the Settings path. Scroll down to general, then you go down to Accessibility. Many of these settings can be useful even if you don’t need them. Take a look at one as an example. For zoom, let’s turn that off. Now you can see here I double-tap with three fingers to turn it on. Now I can put three fingers on the screen and drag around and I can see a different part of the screen magnified. If I double-tap and drag up and down, I can change the magnification. Then I can just go in here and turn it off.
Now, you can use large text to change the font size in some apps like Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages and Notes. You can choose the font size here or leave it off for the standard size.
Now Speak Selection allows you to listen with a computer voice for text you have selected. Let’s say I get the Speak there, press that, and it will speak that text: “previous iPhone launches with long lines, sell-out of broken sales records at AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. A reported 4 million units have sold over the weekend. The downside”
Now here’s one I love. Turn on Custom Vibrations. Then you can go back to the Ring Settings, go into Sounds, and in addition to all the sounds you can set, you can also set vibration patterns. So you’ve got some standard ones, where you can see, just change to Alert, they also have Heartbeat, you also have SOS, Symphony, and you can assign these then to specific contacts. So one contact might have a Heartbeat vibration while another has an SOS vibration. In addition, you can create a new vibration by simply tapping out a series with your finger and then it will save it and then you can use that for a contact.
Now the way you assign it to a contact is just go into Contacts and select the contact you want, tap Edit, and under Vibration, now, you can change it to one of those standards there or you can create a new vibration right there in the Contacts.
Now if you go down to the bottom here, you’ve got something called Assistive Touch which is really interesting. Turn it on here, you see this dot that appears in the lower right hand corner. You tap this dot and this menu comes up and now you can tap on say, Gestures, and select the number of fingers that you want to use and now you’re scrolling with two fingers even though I’m only touching the screen with just one.
In addition, I can click on Device and there are certain things I can do and perform right here and I can also do an on screen Home button by doing that.
In addition, we have a set of favorites here that you can add to so I can tap there and then create a new gesture. For instance,I can do, say, three fingers like that,three finger tap and I can name it.
And, last but not least, under Accessibility,at the very bottom, I’ve got triple click on the Home button and you can determine what happens when you triple click. For instance, I can have a triple click turn on VoiceOver or turn on or off Assistive Touch or turn on or off the Asking function, which then will let me pick which one of those I want to choose.
Now, the most powerful Accessibility option is VoiceOver. But unless you need to use it, it would probably get more in the way than anything else, as it makes it harder to select items on the screen, but if you can’t see the screen, then it’s a fantastic tool for being able to use you iPhone.
This is all new is iOS 5, but it works on the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 probably with a 3GS as well and most of the functions are available also on the iPad.
Hope you found this useful. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMostNow.


9 Responses to “MacMost Now 621: Useful iOS 5 Accessibility Features”

  1. Whatchamacallit says:

    I was dying for the “Pinch” option for zooming. I’m so happy! I am disabbled and I use my iPod 3g with my headstylus.

  2. peter farrell says:

    followed your accessibility instructions to the letter,now my iPhone won’t work can you help reset does nothing can’t use phone only voice over is on
    peter

    • Just turn off Assistive Touch. You’ll probably have to tap around quite a bit if you are not used to using your iPhone in that way.

  3. chris caldwell says:

    This is a very helpful site. I just got the Iphone 4s, and called Apple yesterday to try and get some help. I couldn’t believe that the support person had no idea of how to set up Paypal or a GPS app. They kept telling me Paypal is not supported on the new operating system. I explained that I’ve used paypal for years with iTunes and how would I be able to purchase apps. He just kept repeating that it wasn’t supported. I googled and found 600,000 hits on this topic. A window pops up when trying to purchase an app that says “Paypal not supported on this device. Please go to your computer, log in to itunes and verify your payment method.” So I did. Apparently, there was an issue with a previous transaction being declined on iTunes. I simply re-entered my Paypal info as method of payment. Hit save, went to my iPhone, and bingo it worked. The point is, that apple tech support claimed that the new operating system didn’t support Paypal. That was wrong.

    So now, can anyone help me to understand how to mark and delete all emails simultaneously? I cannot find a solution. I use hotmail, and there are a 150 emails unread that I don’t care to read. I can’t believe that I would have to select each email separately. Makes me miss my droid already.

    Finally, I subscribe to audible and listen to audio books. On the droid, you just click the app, buy a book, and it starts playing. On the iphone, I kept getting a pop up that I needed WIFI in order to download the book. I’ve never had this on the droid, as long as I was in an area that I could get cell signal (sprint), I could listen to my book. Is there a setting that allows me to listen without being near a WIFI hotspot?

    Thank you,
    Chris

    • Hopefully deleting 150 emails isn’t something you need to do every day. So in that case I would simply log on to the Hotmail web site and do it there.
      Are you using the Audible app to listen to audio books? I do. But I have to admit that I don’t think I’ve tried download one while away from my wifi. I’m always home when purchasing my next book.
      If you are not using the Audible app, but are using iTunes instead, I would switch to the Audible app. Not only is it awesome, but it may help you get around this restriction.

      • chris caldwell says:

        Hello,
        Thank you for the response. I am using the Audible app. That’s what seems odd. On the droid, as long as I could make a phone call, I was able to listen. Seems that there was a setting on the old phone that allowed me to use the Sprint mobile network or WIFI. It would switch to WIFI when near a hotspot, but otherwise I could download as long as I could make a call.

        Regarding the 150 emails, I probably have 2000 that I’ve not read. Most are junk, etc. When I set up the email on the iphone yesterday, it immediately displays the unread emails. I’ll try deleting directly from hotmail, but not sure if that simultaneously removes them from my phone, too?

        Thank you,
        Chris

        • It should, but I’m not sure as I’m not a hotmail user. Not a fan either (Hotmail users seem to have a lot of trouble). I’m not sure how that kind of account works, whether it is a cloud account (IMAP) or old-fashioned account (POP). If it is like POP, then you are in for trouble as you’ll need to delete them all individually. Or, delete the account from your iPhone, then delete the message fro the server. Then re-establish the account with your iPhone.

  4. Beverly Bender says:

    Thank you, Gary, for your help. The icon is the Assistive Touch which I, unbeknowst to me, activated. But now I can tell my husband how to get one for his iPad. You’ve been very helpful.

  5. Marisa says:

    Thanks Gary. This was useful. We can’t figure out the Create New Gesture and Favourites, and haven’t found a more fulsome explanation anywhere.

Comments Closed.

Comments have been closed on this post as it is getting a bit old. If you would like to ask a new question, simply visit the MacMost Q&A Forum.