Apple Assistive Access: free new features for cognitive, vision, hearing, and mobility accessibility

Help is at hand for people with cognitive, vision, hearing and mobility challenges

A screen shot of Apple's Assistive Access shown on an iPad and iPhone, displaying the simplified interface to access apps such as Photos, Camera, Music, Calls and Messages

Announced to coincide with Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple’s latest tools bring new features for cognitive, vision, hearing, and mobility accessibility to its platform.

The new tools includes Assistive Access, which is a customisable interface that simplifies apps for calling, messaging, taking photos and playing music, showing the most important elements of the apps so people can access them easily.

That can be anything from an emoji-only keyboard or video recording in Messages to a visual grid-based layout for Home Screens and apps.

The system has an easy-to-read interface, with high-contrast buttons and large text labels to help with identifying the relevant app.


Other tools announced include Live Speech and Personal Voice for iPhone, which gives users a voice; Live Speech can be used in phone and FaceTime calls, with the user typing what theft need to say and have it spoken aloud, while Personal Voice creates a voice for users at risk of losing their ability to speak that sounds like their own.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist