The Accessibility menu of your iPhone is more useful than you might realize. Very few users take the time to explore it, but it includes much more than just accommodations for disabled users. All iPhone users can find a ton of tweaks they may want to apply. Check out our top five accessibility hacks below.
Setting Up Accessibility Hacks
All of these accessibility hacks can be found in your iPhone’s “Accessibility” menu. You’ll find the “Accessibility” menu in the “Settings” app under “General.”
Some of our accessibility hacks also mention setting the “Accessibility Shortcut.” By triple-tapping the Home button (or the Side button on the iPhone X), you can invoke the accessibility shortcut to quickly activate or deactivate some of the accessibility hacks.
Set the accessibility shortcut at the bottom of the “Accessibility” menu. If you enable more than one shortcut, invoking the shortcut will expose a menu. In that menu you can select which of your selected accessibility shortcuts to enable or disable. If you only have one shortcut set, invoking the shortcut will turn that one shortcut on and off.
1. Decrease the Minimum Brightness Level
If you use your iPhone late at night, you might find even the lowest brightness level to be too bright. With this accessibility hack, you can effectively lower your iPhone’s brightness. This works by lowering the iPhone’s “white point,” darkening on-screen colors universally.
“Reduce White Point” is a great hack for your accessibility shortcut. Just be sure to turn it off when the sun comes up, or you’ll be squinting at a dark phone screen all day.
You can adjust the amount of reduction done under the “Display Accommodations” menu within the “Accessibility” menu. There you can also toggle “Reduce White Point” if your screen is always too bright. However, “Reduce White Point” doesn’t save battery life. It changes the on-screen colors, not the brightness of the screen.
2. Toggle “Smart” Dark Mode
While iOS doesn’t have a dark mode (yet!), it does have an accessibility hack that comes close. With “Smart Invert Colors,” you can intelligently invert the colors on your iPhone. This has the effect of darkening the screen and generally making text more legible, especially in very dark or very bright areas. Some users also just prefer light text on a dark background.
“Smart Invert Colors” is the better version of the old “Invert Colors.” That would make the entire interface negative, including images, app icons and every interface element. Thankfully, the new “Smart Invert Colors” is more selective with its inversions. It doesn’t invert things like images, icons and the interface elements of some dark-themed apps.
You can enable “Smart Invert Colors” in the “Vision” section of the “Accessibility” menu under “Display Accommodations.” You can also attach it to your accessibility shortcut for quick activation.
3. Grab the Top of Your Screen
As iPhones have grown, one-handed operation has become less realistic. The “Reachability” option can make this a little easier. It slides down the top of your screen to roughly midway, bringing menus and icons within reach.
“Reachability” is enabled by default. If you’ve disabled it, you can turn it back on in the “Interaction” section of the “Accessibility” menu. The function is triggered by tapping – but not pressing – the home button twice. Tap lightly, like you’re activating Touch ID.
4. Get a Persistent Shortcut Menu
You can use the on-screen “AssistiveTouch” button as a highly customizable shortcut button to a ton of iPhone functionality. Once you turn it on, the AssistiveTouch button always appears on-screen. You can slide the persistent button around the screen to keep it out of your way. When not in use, the icon fades to a lower opacity, and its idle opacity goes all the way down to fifteen percent.
Enable “AssistiveTouch” under the “Interaction” section of the “Accessibility” menu. From there you can adjust how the button responds when tapped. You can set the button to work just like the Home button or enable and customize its shortcut functionality.
5. Type to Siri
Turn on “Type to Siri” under the “Siri” menu to interact with Siri with your keyboard. For silent running, set “Voice Feedback” to “Control with Ring Switch.” This enables silent interaction with Siri when your phone is set to silent. You can still use the voice-activated version of Siri by saying “Hey Siri” out loud or speaking to Siri once she’s invoked, which will temporarily re-enable voice interaction. With this accessibility hack on, holding the Home button will bring up a keyboard and disable Siri’s vocal replies.
The “Accessibility” menu is full of other hacks that you can use to make your iPhone easier to use. Try out the accessibility hacks above to make your device more usable.