iOS – iPad & iPhone

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iOS is the operating system that runs on Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Apple is generally credited with creating the first popular consumer accessible touch screen device with the inclusion of the VoiceOver screen reader in the iPhone 3GS.

Current versions of iOS contain a number of accessibility features closely related to the features found in OS X, the desktop and laptop Apple operating system. Features include:

  • VoiceOver screen reader providing touch-screen access to blind users with gesture support
  • Zoom magnifier which can be used in full-screen mode or a particular area
  • Inverted colour scheme
  • Greyscale support to assist people who have difficulties seeing certain colours
  • Closed caption support for video playback
  • Stereo ability to push audio into one ear
  • Mobility support via on-screen keyboard
  • Hardware keyboard support
  • Assistive Touch to adjust the sensitive of the touch screen for people with a mobility impairment
  • Switch control recipes customizing now switch combinations can provide input for people with a mobility impairment

Comparison with Google Android

The accessibility of iOS is generally considered superior to Google Android devices due to the product being more established and consistency between products. However, recent versions of Android have become notably more accessible and are significantly more affordable than Apple products, making Android a viable alternative for users willing to compromise on accessibility features to purchase a more affordable device. Another advantage of Apple iOS products is their strong consumer support groups such as Applevis, which relies on crowdsourced reviews to evaluate the accessibility of particular apps with the built-in accessibility features.

Further information on the accessibility features of Apple products can be found in the Accessibility section of the Apple website. The iMore website also contains a comprehensive guide to accessibility for the iPhone and iPad.

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