With the introduction of iOS 12, Apple overhauled its accessibility features and added a whole host of new options which make it easier than ever to customize exactly how your phone behaves in less-than-ideal usage scenarios. Whether it’s making content more reachable for those with small hands (this guy right here) or more important additions for the disabled like captions for the deaf or voiceover for the blind, knowing how to work with iOS 12’s dozens of accessibility features is essential for anyone who wants to get the most out of their iPhone or iPad.
Open Accessibility Features
To get to your Accessibility options, start by opening your “Settings” app. Next, scroll down and tap “General:”
From here you’ll see the option to open “Accessibility:”
Because there are so many accessibility options to choose from, rather than detailing them one by one, we’ll be grouping them together the same way Apple has, by the problem they’re attempting to assist with.
For those who are legally blind or just struggle with their vision in one fashion or another, iOS 12 pulls out all the stops, offering a host of different options that make it easy to read small text, increase the size of your icons, or use a voiceover screen reader for those who can’t see at all. Some of the most notable settings in this section include VoiceOver, Zoom (not to be confused with Magnifier), Larger Text, Bold Text, and Increase Contrast, which will make it easier on those with color-vision issues to discern what types of colors are being displayed on the screen.
Next, there’s the interaction section which will change how the phone behaves depending on various gestures and usability features like 3D Touch. The first important setting to note here is the AssistiveTouch feature, which will give you a more granular level of control over how the phone behaves when you activate the touch screen. Some users may have difficulty with the default gestures, so creating a custom gesture might be more helpful, while the AssistiveTouch button itself can be customized to do everything from bringing you back to the Home screen, switching apps, or even using Apple Pay if you have it set up on your device.
Other key accessibility options in this section include changing how the side button behaves, scaling the necessary pressure to activate 3D Touch, and customizing the Touch Accommodations section, which will change how the screen responds to your touch commands.
Finally, there’s the hearing section, which is an important component for users who are either hard of hearing or are completely deaf. Apple is known for its close collaboration with hearing aid vendors that have created Bluetooth-ready hearing aids, and this section is where you can customize how the phone behaves for the hearing impaired.
The MFi Hearing Devices menu will scan for any Bluetooth hearing aids in range and help you get them connected, while other settings like LED Flash for Alerts will make it so your phone flashes its onboard LEDs every time you get an alert rather than relying on audio or vibration alone.
A bit further down in this section you’ll also find the option to turn on “Subtitles & Captioning” for media, though it should be noted that this will only work for content that’s streamed or downloaded via the Apple iTunes store.
Say what you will about Apple and their iOS devices, but when it comes to accessibility features, the company is second to none. Apple has made a concerted effort to have their iOS devices be as accessible to all users as possible, and using the accessibility features in iOS 12 has never been easier thanks to the deep levels of customization that are available in this Settings menu.