Improved Accessibility in iOS 8

by Mark Miller and Rosemary Musachio

In our June blog post iOS 8 Accessibility Features Delivers in the Details, we gave you a sneak peek at the Accessibility features of iOS8 like improved zoom, greyscale, and a Braille keyboard.  If you’re an iPhone and/or iPad owner prepare to do a little dance and giggle with device in hand, iOS8 has rolled and it’s rockin’ the accessibility features.

Here is the rundown on what you’ll find behind the iOS8 accessibility tab:


  • Text size is now in the Accessibility settings. 
  • New Grayscale allows users to switch from the normal color view to a grayscale view.  The feature allows users with color blindness or vision sensitivity to view the screen in shades of gray.
  • New category for Speech controls
    • Speak Selection enables users to select text and have it spoken.  The feature may help someone who can understand a passage better if they hear it.
    • Speak Screen allows users to activate a synthesized voice to read the content on the current screen.  It is activated using a flickering motion.
    • Speak Auto-text lets users who are blind hear what has been auto-corrected so they can accept or not accept it.
  • Zoom control now lets users magnify a specific area of the screen as well as the whole screen.
  • Users can now set the zoom region to Window Zoom or Full Screen Zoom
  • Follow focus is part of the Zoom control that permits users to track focus as they type.
  • Zoom Keyboard magnifies the keyboard while the rest of the content on the screen remains at the same size.
  • Show Controller reminds users of zoom gesture controls, and appears on the screen.
  • A new slider providers users the option to set maximum zoom level.
  • VoiceOver Audio Ducking allows users to lower sounds from other sources, such as videos, so they can hear what VoiceOver is reading.
  • Compact Voice is now an option for speech dialect selection.  Compact Voice enables high voice quality.


  • Braille input capability has been added so users can type from an on-screen Braille keyboard. With the onscreen Braille keyboard, users can turn pages while panning, or scrolling.

Hearing Assistance

  • Options for subtitles and captions have been moved to media
  • An option for video descriptions is included.
  • Physical and Motor category is renamed to Interaction
  • The Incoming Calls function is renamed Call Audio Routing

Keyboard Accessibility

  • Supports multiple types of typing
    • Standard  keyboard layout
    • Touch keyboard layout
    • Direct Touch keyboard layout
  • QuickTypes predicts what users type based on what applications they use and to whom they write.

As always Apple has made great strides towards accessibility. For more information on iOS8 visit the iOS8 page on the Apple Website

Additional iOS Mobile Accessibility Resources

For more information on iOS accessibility go to:

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