Apple this week has not only updated its popular operating systems with iOS 15.5 with new features and security patches, but the firm also revealed a number of additional accessibility features that will be available later this year for the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac ecosystems.
Upcoming accessibility features
Door Detection: Through its built-in Magnifier app, Apple already lets users find people in front of them. This year, the firm will add a useful new feature to it called Door Detection. The feature will let people with iPhones or iPads that have LiDAR measure how far away a door is, tell if it’s open or closed, and read what’s written on it. This would make it easier for people with sight impairments to get around on their own.
Apple Watch Mirroring: The Apple Watch will soon have AirPlay. With this accessibility feature, people will be able to see the screens on their Apple Watches and control them with their iPhones. Since the screens on these wearables are small, many people will find it easier to look at the larger preview on iOS. Only the Series 6 along with newer models will be able to use this feature.
Offline Live Captions: Live captions are actually coming to iPhones, iPads, and Macs, thanks to Apple. Users will be able to see a live transcript of calls, videos, and audio from other apps. Even during group FaceTime calls, the company will give credit to each person who speaks. Live Captions will be improved for macOS users by letting them type their insights and have their computers read them aloud. Live Captions will only work with an iPhone 11 or later, an iPad with the A12 Bionic chip or perhaps a later model, or a Mac with the M1 chip. Since the feature can be used without an internet connection, the company has only made it available on newer devices with faster processors that can handle the task.
VoiceOver Adds New Languages and More: VoiceOver, Apple’s top-of-the-line screen reader for blind and low-vision users, now works in more languages and places. It also includes dozens of new voices suited for assistive features in other languages. New languages, regions, and voices are coming to Speak Selection and Speak Screen. VoiceOver users on Mac can use the new Text Checker tool to find common formatting errors like extra spaces or capital letters that are in the wrong place. This makes it easier to proofread.
- A Buddy Controller merges any two gaming controllers into one, so numerous controllers can direct a single player’s input.
- With Siri Pause Time, people with speech difficulties can control how long Siri takes to respond to their queries.
- Voice Control Spelling Mode allows letter-by-letter input.
- A person’s house alarm, doorbell, or appliances can be recognized by Sound Recognition.
- The Apple Books app will have more themes and ways to change things, like making text bold and changing how far apart lines, characters, and words are.
Furthermore, this week, Apple is also celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day with special sessions, collections put together by experts, and other events.
Apple didn’t say exactly when these features will come out. We think they will be part of iOS 16, though, which will be announced at its upcoming WDDC 2022 event, which is scheduled for June 6, 2022. Find more about these features here.