Apple Previews New Accessibility Features Ahead Of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

There are features that will be helpful for those who are blind, deaf, with motor disabilities and more.

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Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day this Thursday 19 May, Apple has unveiled new software features designed for people with disabilities. This includes tools for navigation, health, communication, and more.

Door Detection For Those Who Cannot See

For users who are blind or have low vision, this feature helps users locate a door, understand how far they are from it, and describe the door.

It could tell if it is open or closed, and how to open it. Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door.

This new feature will be available on iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanner. 

They are the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd and 3rd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th and 5th generation).

Door Detection will be available in a new Detection Mode within Magnifier, Apple’s built-in app supporting blind and low vision users. 

Apple Watch Mirroring For Those Without The Dexterity

This feature helps users control Apple Watch remotely from their paired iPhone. With it, users can control Apple Watch using iPhone’s assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control, and use inputs including voice commands, sound actions, head tracking, or external Made for iPhone switches. 

Apple Watch Mirroring uses hardware and software integration to help users benefit from unique Apple Watch apps like Blood Oxygen, Heart Rate, Mindfulness, and more.

This feature is available on Apple Watch Series 6 and later.

Additionally the new Quick Actions on Apple Watch, a double-pinch gesture can be used to answer or end a phone call, dismiss a notification, take a photo, play or pause media in the Now Playing app, and start, pause, or resume a workout. 

Live Captions For Those Who Cannot Hear

Coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Macs, Live Captions helps users follow along with any audio content.

That includes conversations on a phone or FaceTime call, in a video conferencing or social media app, while streaming media content, or while talking with someone next to them.

Users can also adjust the font size of the captions.

When used for calls on Mac, users have the option to type a response and have it spoken aloud in real-time to others who are part of the conversation. 

Live Captions are generated on the device so user information stays private and secure.

According to Apple Live Captions will be available in beta later this year in English (US, Canada) on iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Macs with Apple silicon. 

It also noted that the accuracy of Live Captions may vary and should not be relied upon in high-risk situations.

Apple VoiceOver Will Be Able To Speak In More Than 20 Languages

Apple’s screen reader for blind and low vision users is adding support for more than 20 additional locales and languages, including Malay, Tamil and Mandarin. 

There are also dozens of new voices to choose from.

These new languages, locales, and voices will also be available for Speak Selection and Speak Screen accessibility features. 

Additionally, VoiceOver users on Mac can use the new Text Checker tool to discover common formatting issues such as duplicative spaces or misplaced capital letters, which makes proofreading documents or emails even easier.

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