If you want your iPhone to let you read the screen, you don’t have to go very far. VoiceOver is a screen reader that has been built into Apple products since 2009. It helps people who can’t see by reading what’s on the screen.
VoiceOver basically works by reading out loud everything that is on the screen of your iPhone. Apple has added more information about people, objects, text, and other graphics to this feature over the years. It also uses gestures and haptics to let users explore their iPhone without ever having to look at the screen.
VoiceOver was made to help people who are blind or have low vision, but it can also be useful in other ways. For example, if you like to listen to your books instead of reading them, you can use VoiceOver with the Kindle app. This feature can also help people who have trouble moving around.
To enable VoiceOver:
- Click on Settings
- Click on Accessibility
- Under “Vision,” choose “VoiceOver.”
- Tap the VoiceOver switch to turn it on.
Remember that VoiceOver uses a different set of gestures than the standard ones to control your iPhone. For example, to interact with something, you have to double-tap it. With just one tap, you can choose an app, link, or menu button. And once you’ve turned on VoiceOver, you have to use this new set of gestures. There’s a bit of a learning curve, so practise a bit before diving in.
Your iPhone has a way for you to practise the gestures, thanks to Apple. After you turn VoiceOver on, you’ll see a new option called VoiceOver Practice right below the switch. Tap it, then double-tap the screen to start. VoiceOver will tell you what you are doing and what each gesture does while you practise. When you’re done, tap Done to choose it, and then tap it twice to leave.
TURN VOICEOVER ON AND OFF
You can turn VoiceOver on or off in a number of different ways. One easy way to do this is to open Siri and say “Turn on VoiceOver” or “Turn off VoiceOver” to Siri.
You can also make it so that triple-clicking the side button or home button (depending on your iPhone model) turns the feature on or off. Go to Settings > Accessibility, then scroll down until you see Accessibility Shortcut. Tap VoiceOver from the list of features that make the phone easier to use.
This is the bare minimum you need to get started, but VoiceOver can be changed in a lot of ways. In VoiceOver’s settings, you can change the rate at which it speaks, choose from a number of different voice profiles, and control what goes to braille displays. You can also change the “verbosity” setting, which controls how much speech feedback you hear (i.e., whether punctuation is read aloud, how links are handled, etc.). If you’re worried about privacy, you can also use a feature called Screen Curtain to hide your screen when you have headphones on.
If you’re new to VoiceOver and want more help, here are some quick links from Apple’s iOS Accessibility support guide and YouTube channel: