iOS 8 (Accessibility, Grayscale 001)

Over the years, both iOS and OS X platforms have adopted a number of great accessibility features to help tailor how Apple’s mobile and desktop devices work for people with disabilities.

If you’re color blind or have low vision, a brand new Accessibility option in iOS 8 replaces the colors with a range of gray shades from white to black, as used in a monochrome display or printout.

That’s not all, as iOS 8 includes additional screen zoom options and more. I’ve detailed this changes for you right after the break…

Similar to the existing Invert Colors option in iOS 7, the new Grayscale feature in iOS 8 extends to everything you do in iOS 8. When enabled, it doesn’t matter if you enjoy your apps, play games or watch video – the screen will be all grayscale.

iOS 7 (Accessibility, Vision 001)iOS 8 (Accessibility, Vision 001)
Left: iOS 7 Accessibility options. Right: the new Grayscale option in iOS 8.

And if you like zooming in iOS 7 (enable in Settings and then double tap with three fingers on the Home screen to invoke), you’ll love a much-improved zoom in iOS 8.

For starters, you can now tell iOS to zoom everything but the keyboard. This is quite handy for entering information into web fields as vision impaired users can now zoom in on tiny labels and text fields and yet be able to use the keyboard.

iOS 7 (Accessibility, Zoom 001)iOS 8 (Accessibility, Zoom 001)
Rather Spartan zoom settings in iOS 7 (left) and new controls in iOS 8 (right).

In addition to this, Apple has moved around several options found inside the Accessibility section of iOS 8’s Settings app. For example, Subtitles & Captioning – previously nested under the Hearing section – now has its own place, labeled as Media. The Video Description switch is new in iOS 8, too.

iOS 7 (Accessibility, Subtitles and Captioning)iOS 8 (Accessibility, Subtitles and Captioning)

Same goes for various accessibility settings related to physical devices. iOS 7 groups these under the Physical & Motor section, rechristened to Interaction in iOS 8.

iOS 7 (Accessibility, Interaction)iOS 8 (Accessibility, Interaction)

For those wondering, using the new grayscale option won’t increase your battery life as the LCD screen tech iOS devices use requires backlighting to illuminate the screen.

On the other hand, cranking the brightness all the way up can have adverse effects on your battery performance.

So, how do you like the grayscale option and new zoom features in iOS 8?

And do you care about accessibility at all?

  • Visra

    You put Grayscale but not Black Theme….Deep breathes….deep breathes. Must. Calm. Down.

    • Luke O’ Sullivan

      I think it’s a lot easier for them to put a grayscale effect on screen than it is for them to recolour all bright objects to dark…

      Saying that, I still wish iOS had a dark theme like Yosemite.

      • Anthony Nguyen

        Hopefully, iOS 9 will have a nightmode/dark mode.

    • I wish they made something similar to the Eclipse jailbreak tweak, that would just be perfect!

  • Dean Johnson

    Samsung had the “ultra battery saving thing” and in a video they said that they only used a grayscale and didn’t turn off cellular and stuff. Does the battery last longer on iOS with this turned on?

    • CAS

      I wonder the same thing.

    • It possibly can last longer but this is not the goal of this feature.

      • Dean Johnson

        BTW, does everyone has the standard Beta 1 battery issues? Not sure if my battery is getting worse because it’s old or if it’s the beta

      • rockdude094

        Its usually normal for beta softwares to cause vicious battery loses b/c many of the new features are not programmed to run efficiently.

      • Dean Johnson

        I know that, but I wasn’t sure if my iPhone 4S’s battery is dying on me or if ti’s the beta. Probably both, since my phone is already 3 years old

      • rockdude094

        Could be both factors simultaneously effecting your phone

      • ClaudieX X

        Other brands are using grayscale mode to reduce battery consumption…

      • Yunsar

        It won’t really, Samsung uses an OLED display in which the individual pixels themself illuminate. The black pixels are of true black colour because they are not illuminated, and that is why the black pixels increase battery life. Apple uses an LCD display, in which the whole backlight is on regardless of which coloured pixels are in front of it.

    • Why grayscale would save battery?

      • CS

        Screen isn’t showing bright colors and stuff. Require less power

      • Makes sense. Thanks!

    • mickey

      Doesn’t this only apply for amoled screens where black is essentially off?

      • Dean Johnson

        I don’t know. That’s why I asked

      • mickey

        Don’t believe you get any significant power savings with blacks on an LCD screen.

  • Matt

    The grayscale must increase the battery.

  • Ryan

    Sounds a little like f.lux

    • ClaudieX X

      But Flux is for non damage the eyes with the brilliance of a radiant white. and this is for people with visual problems that do not assimilate well the colors

  • Alberto Espinal

    Its still beta 1 but they have to fix one thing that is in settings is that when you go to for example into the message settings and when you come out it throws you back to the to the top of the settings page instead of continuing at the same level of settings but i hope they realize and fix it!

  • Lhu

    grayscale = less battery power to be used?

    • Noe padilla

      Makes sense but i don’t think apple made this “gray scale” feature run efficiently.

  • Noe padilla

    If you guys want a cool theme and you have IOS 8 beta 1 go to settings-> general-> accessibilty-> grayscale-. invert colors ON. You’re welcome!

  • Ioannis Gman

    As a virtual impaired person, i use zoom not for fun but in every day life and has been the best thing that has happen to me since i first discovered it. since i have a dev account tried both beta 1 and beta 2. found out something that didn’t like in the zoom feature.. if you tap withe there fingers once there is a black menu with many options, this is quite annoying since if i am browsing a page and would like when i have the page zoomed to move around so i cans ee the rest of the text, by accident this black menu box appears..i hope there is a way to disable it?

  • JL Cassells

    Does anyone know if the grayscale mode will cut out blue light like F.lux and have similar benefits when using an iphone at night?