Blind Apple engineer describes advancing Accessibility features for the blind

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 11, 2016

Mashable yesterday ran an interesting profile on 22-year-old Jordyn Castor, an Apple engineer who works on the company’s Accessibility team. Aside from other tidbits, the story reveals that Apple employs Accessibility engineers who themselves are users of those features as Castor has been blind since birth. Read More

 

How to enable and use screen zoom on your Mac

By Anthony Bouchard on Jun 30, 2016

There may be scenarios where you can’t see something on your Mac’s screen very well and having the ability to zoom in just a little bit closer to get a better look at something might be very useful.

Fortunately, OS X comes with built-in zoom features that can be enabled by the user, and in this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to get to them and talk about what you can do with them. Read More

 

Brand new ‘Accessibility’ section launches on Apple Online Store

By Christian Zibreg on May 5, 2016

Confirming earlier rumors, the Apple Online Store has begun selling accessibility-related accessories and peripherals via a dedicated Accessibility section, as first discovered by Amusement. At the time of this writing, the store listed about fifteen accessories separated into sub-categories such as Vision, Physical & Motor Skills and Learning & Literacy products, with more to be added at a later stage.

The iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac accessories listed on the Accessibility section were designed to help people with various disabilities operate their devices, learn, play, create music and more. Read More

 

How to convert text into a spoken iTunes track on Mac

By Anthony Bouchard on May 2, 2016

Whenever you want to save a block of important text to your Mac, you probably copy and paste it into the Notes app or into a text editor to save it as a text document. But, did you know you could save any body of text on your Mac as a spoken iTunes track instead?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to convert any highlighted body of text into a spoken iTunes audio track.

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Adding Emojis to your favorites list on your Mac

By Anthony Bouchard on Mar 28, 2016

Not too long ago, we showed you a keyboard shortcut you could use to bring up the Emoji picker from almost anywhere a text field could be accessed in the OS X operating system.

Being familiar with how to access your Emojis is one thing, but it’s also possible to add Emojis to a dedicated favorites list in the Emoji picker. This makes it easier for you to access your favorite Emojis at a later date without having to search too hard for them.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can add Emojis to your favorites list in the Emoji picker on your Mac. Read More

 

Get a taste of Siri on your Mac right now with this neat trick

By Timothy Reavis on Mar 1, 2016

Ever since Siri was announced in 2011, Apple users have been excited about the prospect of the digital assistant coming to OS X. More recently, rumors have indicated that a Mac version of Siri will ship with OS X 10.12 this fall. September is quite a long way off, but it’s possible to get a taste of Siri-like voice commands on your Mac right now, thanks to the accessibility features baked in OS X.

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Get your Mac to speak any selected text

By Anthony Bouchard on Feb 29, 2016

Your Mac, just like any iOS devices you own, comes with an ability to speak selected text. This comes in handy when you can’t see the text very well and would find it useful to have the text read out loud to you.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can make your Mac speak a selected body of text with ease. Read More

 

With this time-saving shortcut, you can quickly set some Mac display options

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2016

In addition to adjusting the screen resolution and choosing between the available display modes on your Mac, OS X’s System Preferences application gives you additional display options to play with.

If you use display zoom, a great feature for people with less than perfect eyesight who find themselves squinting at the screen all the time, or you want to quickly access common features related to making items on the screen easier to see and the display easier to read, use the following time-saving shortcut to quickly adjust these options. Read More

 

Apple Stores to begin selling accessibility-related accessories and peripherals in early-2016

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 21, 2015

According to the Japanese blog Macotkara, Apple Stores are expected to start stocking accessibility-related accessories and peripherals in the fiscal 2016 second quarter, which works out to the January-March timeframe. The report doesn’t detail which accessories Apple’s retail stores might carry beyond stating that they will be iOS/OS X-compatible. Read More

 

How to dim iPhone screen brightness levels below the normal threshold without jailbreaking

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 11, 2015

We’ve all been there before. It’s late, and it’s dark, but you still have to get a few more things to get done. You set your iPhone’s screen to its lowest possible brightness via Control Center, and you quickly realize that even at the lowest setting, the screen is way too bright for your eyes in such a dark environment.

What can you do in a situation like this? You could jailbreak and install a jailbreak tweak like Dim, but that’s not always an option, nor is it always desirable.

Fortunately, there is a way to quickly adjust screen brightness levels even lower than what’s possible via Control Center’s brightness slider. By leveraging some of iOS’ built-in accessibility features, you can set your iPhone’s screen brightness levels much lower than you think. Read More

 

How to jailbreak iOS 9 with Pangu on Mac using a virtual machine

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 14, 2015

If you’re running a Mac, you’ll need a virtual machine running Windows in order to jailbreak using OS X. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a Windows virtual machine and how to jailbreak iOS 9 on your Mac. It’s super easy, and takes less than 20 minutes to complete. Instead of waiting for a Mac tool, why not use a virtual machine and enjoy an iOS 9 jailbreak today?

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AssistiveTouch gets new customization options in iOS 9

By Sébastien Page on Sep 30, 2015

Introduced with iOS 5, AssistiveTouch is an accessibility feature that allows people with physical disabilities to perform various tasks using alternative on-screen buttons and gestures to simplify usage of the device.

Building up on an already robust set of accessibility features for its products, Apple has introduced new customization options for AssistiveTouch in iOS 9. Read More

 

Apple highlights apps for anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

By Cody Lee on Jul 23, 2015

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Apple has begun highlighting apps with specialized accessibility features. The curated section features apps such as TapTapSee, Color Identifier and more.

Apple has long been praised for its efforts to ensure iOS devices can be used by those with various disabilities, including vision, hearing and motor skill impairments. It also regularly spotlights third-party accessibility applications. Read More

 

Apple promotes Lisa Jackson to VP of environment, policy and social initiatives

By Cody Lee on Jun 23, 2015

Apple on Tuesday quietly announced the promotion of Lisa Jackson, formerly the VP of environmental affairs, to a new lead policy position. As noted by The Washington Post, Jackson’s bio on the company’s website now reads Vice President, Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

In her new role, Jackson will not only continue to oversee Apple’s efforts to minimize its impact on the environment, but she will also be responsible for the company’s education policy programs such as ConnectED, its product accessibility work, and its worldwide government affairs. Read More

 

App Store highlights apps for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

By Cody Lee on May 21, 2015

In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple has begun highlighting apps with specialized accessibility features. The curated section features apps such as Instapaper, which offers text-to-speech, and Workflow, which can automate complex tasks, and is featured on the front page of the App Store.

Apple has long been praised for the accessibility features in iOS. Grammy Award-winning artist, who has been blind for most of his life, famously took time out of a concert to thank Steve Jobs and company for their work, saying “there’s nothing on the iPhone or the iPad that you can do, that I can’t do.”

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How to make Apple Watch app icons bigger and easier to tap

By Jeff Benjamin on May 10, 2015

We’re still working our way through all of the Apple Watch settings for our complete Apple Watch Guide, but here’s something that Reddit user ineedlesssleep stumbled upon that I found particularly useful.

By turning on the Reduce Motion option in the Apple Watch preferences, you can make all of the app icons on your Apple Watch Home screen the same size. This means that all of the app icons will be big just like the app icons in the middle of the interface, and thus will be just as easy to tap.

I find that this option makes the Home Screen on Apple Watch simpler, as everything is larger and more consistent across the board. Watch our video demonstration inside to see what I mean. Read More

 

Apple’s VoiceOver receives Award from the American Foundation for the Blind

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2015

Apple’s VoiceOver technology has impressed the American Foundation for the Blind enough to award the company its Helen Keller Achievement Award for “breakthroughs in accessible technology.”

Part of Apple’s rich set of accessibility features available across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, VoiceOver for OS X and iOS is a gesture-based screen reader that lets visually impaired users navigate their devices via spoken word and gestures.

The organization has recognized not only VoiceOver, but other features that make the iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices accessible to people with vision loss. Read More

 

Slow UI animations on Yosemite? Try this simple tip

By Sébastien Page on Jan 28, 2015

I currently have two machines running Yosemite: one is a brand new Retina iMac, and the other is an older MacBook Air. Both these machines have been feeling incredibly slow in regards to general animations of the User Interface. One obvious way to test this is to bring up Exposé, which then turns both my Macs into stuttering slugs. While I can kind of understand why my old MacBook Air would behave like this, there is absolutely no excuse for my iMac to. Talking about this issue with someone at the Apple Store, I was offered an original workaround. Read More

 

Dropbox app gains larger photo thumbnails and more in latest accessibility focused update

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 17, 2014

Dropbox, the hot cloud-storage startup which a few years back turned down an acquisition offer from Steve Jobs, on Monday gave its mobile client for the iPhone and iPad significant new accessibility improvements to make sure it’s simple to get stuff done if your vision or hearing is impaired.

Based on both Dropbox’s own customer research and feedback from the AppleVis community, the improved software makes it easier for people with disabilities to use the app with Apple’s VoiceOver feature when logging in to Dropbox, navigating actions within the app and more.

The new accessibility features will be rolling out to users later today, the company said.

Dropbox is a free download from the App Store. Read More

 

New in iOS 8 Accessibility: better zoom, Grayscale

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 3, 2014

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… Read More

 
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