iPad Accessibility

The iPad comes with quite a few accessibility features already built into the unit. These features may prove to be very helpful to many special needs users, and a few might even be of aid to the average user.



iPad delivers a variety of innovative features that make it easier to use for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.




iPad features FaceTime video calling via Wi-Fi. Thanks to its high-quality video and fast frame rate, FaceTime is ideal for those who communicate using sign language or by lip reading. You can clearly see hand and finger gestures in detail, as well as facial expressions. So you can communicate from afar with the same range of emotion as when you’re face to face.  


Closed Captioning

iPad supports the playback of open captions, closed captions and subtitling. Captions appear onscreen, just like the closed captions you see on TV. You can buy or rent captioned movies from the iTunes Store and watch them on the go. You can also create your own movies with captions using a variety of tools and applications, including Compressor (sold separately).


iMessage app

iMessage app

Message with iMessage

Sending messages with iMessage is even better than texting. Because it’s unlimited.* And it works between you and anyone on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 6. So text all you want. Send videos, photos, locations and links to friends. And keep everyone in the loop with group messaging.


Visual Alert

Visual Alert

Visual Alerts

Apps such as Mail and the App Store also display visual badges indicating the number of unread messages and updates available. And important status information such as network connectivity, time of day and battery level are communicated visually on the screen at all times.

Headphone Jack

In addition to speakers, iPad includes a standard 3.5-mm audio headphone jack. You can plug in earphones, earbuds, noise-cancelling headphones and amplified speaker systems.

Bluetooth Audio

iPad supports Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Extended Data Rate) technology and works with Bluetooth wireless headsets and other compatible audio devices.

Mono Audio

iPad can route both right- and left-channel audio source material into both earbuds, enabling users with hearing loss in one ear to hear both channels in each ear. You can also adjust the volume balance between the left and right channels.

Physical and Motor Skills

The iPad includes a variety of innovative features that make it more accessible to users with impaired physical or motor skills.

Large Multi-Touch Display

Pinch and Zoom on the iPad

Pinch and Zoom on the iPad

iPad features a large, high-precision, touch-sensitive display that requires no physical force, just simple contact with its surface. You can also use the built-in Zoom function to magnify the entire screen, so it’s easier to touch smaller items on the screen such as links, buttons and images. Use Pinch and zoom on web pages and many other apps to zoom in and out.


Rotating the iPad screen - the Lock button

Rotating the iPad screen - the Lock button

Screen Rotation

iPad works in multiple orientations, so you can use it in portrait or switch it to landscape to suit your needs. With its built-in accelerometer, it automatically senses when the orientation has changed and adjusts the screen so it’s always right side up. You can also lock the screen orientation, so that it doesn’t change when you don’t expect it.


Predictive text

Predictive text

Intelligent Onscreen Keyboard with Predictive Text Entry

The onscreen keyboard appears when you need it and smartly adapts by displaying convenient keys such as “.com” and “@,” saving you keystrokes. The nearly full-size intelligent QWERTY keyboard includes advanced technologies such as autocapitalization and autocorrection that make it easier to type and avoid typos and misspellings. You can also have autocorrections and capitalizations spoken aloud to further assist you. iPad even learns as you type, so your speed increases almost immediately.

See Videos: Keyboard tips and tricks

External Keyboards

For those who require them, physical keyboards are an option. iPad supports the Apple Wireless Keyboard and most other Bluetooth wireless keyboards that use the Apple keyboard layout. Other Bluetooth keyboards may work too, although some unique or specialised keys may not be supported or work as expected.

Apple Stereo Headset Compatibility

iPad works with a variety of headsets, including Apple earphones and in-ear headphones that have a high-performance microphone capsule built into the cord. Control music playback or record your voice in compatible applications when you click the microphone capsule on your headset.

Assistive Touch

Assistive touch is an accessibility feature of the iPad which aims to enable people with physical impairments who may find traditional gestures and commands difficult, the ability to perform these using alternative simplified movements. This can include people who have limited mobility in their hands and fingers or people who use assistive devices such as a stylus or head pointer.

With Assistive Touch, users can tap the onscreen controls with just one finger or a compatible pointer or stylus, and replicate gestures such as a pinch and swipe, or commands such as adjusting the volume and locking the screen orientation. Users can also create and name custom gestures by recording the individualised movement to perform specific movements. This means that users are able to accomplish many more tasks independently with the limited movements that they have.



iPad includes an amazing screen reader along with other innovative accessibility features that make it easier to use for those who are blind or have impaired vision.


This is a gesture-based screen reader, and it allows you to enjoy the fun and simplicity of iPad even if you can’t see the screen. With VoiceOver, you use simple gestures to physically interact with items on the screen. Instead of memorising key commands or repeatedly pressing arrow keys to find what you’re looking for, just touch the screen to hear an item’s description, then gesture with a double-tap, drag or flick to control iPad.

Voiceover - Setup

Voiceover - Setup

Because VoiceOver on iPad allows you to interact directly with objects, you can understand their location and context. When you touch the upper-left corner of the screen, you hear what’s in the upper-left corner of a web page. And as you drag your finger around the screen, you learn what’s nearby, providing a sense of relationship and context.

VoiceOver on iPad also gives you information about your device — including battery level, network signal level and time of day. It even lets you know when the display changes to landscape or portrait orientation and when the screen is locked or unlocked.

Adjustable speaking rate

The speaking rate in VoiceOver is adjustable so you can set it to a speed that best suits you. VoiceOver uses distinctive sound effects to alert you when an application opens, when the screen is updated, when a message dialogue appears and more. And when VoiceOver is talking, the volume of background sounds and music is automatically lowered, ‘ducking’ under the voice, so you can clearly hear what VoiceOver is telling you. VoiceOver includes built-in voices that speak 36 languages.

How it works

Gestures used with Voiceover

With VoiceOver enabled, you’ll use a different but simple set of gestures to control iPad. For example, instead of tapping to activate a button, tap the button to hear a description of it, double-tap to activate it, and swipe up or down to adjust a slider. When an item on the screen is selected, a black rectangle called the VoiceOver Cursor appears around it. The VoiceOver Cursor is displayed for the benefit of sighted users with whom you may be sharing your iPad. In addition to touching and dragging around the screen, you can also flick left and right to move the VoiceOver Cursor to the next or previous item on the screen — no matter how big or small it is. By flicking, you can make precise choices about what you hear even if it’s difficult to place your finger on the item.

iPad Voiceover gestures - Navigate and Read

iPad Voiceover gestures - Navigate and Read

iPad Voiceover gestures - Activate

iPad Voiceover gestures - Activate

Entering text

When you’re typing text, such as an email message or a note, VoiceOver echoes each character on the keyboard as you touch it, then again to confirm your selection. You can also enable Touch Typing, which automatically enters the last character you hear when you lift your finger. You can even set VoiceOver to speak each completed word instead of — or in addition to — individual characters as you type them. Move the insertion point cursor left or right by flicking up or down within text. To help you type more quickly and accurately, iPad offers word prediction and spelling corrections. With Speak Auto-text enabled, you’ll hear a sound effect and the suggested word spoken automatically. Keep typing to ignore the word or press the Space key to have iPad type it for you.

The rotor

VoiceOver features an innovative virtual control called a rotor. Turn the rotor on by rotating two fingers on the screen as if you were turning an actual dial. This gesture changes the way VoiceOver moves through a document based on a setting you choose. For example, a flick up or down might move the cursor through text word by word. But when the character setting is selected, the same gesture will move the cursor through the text character by character — perfect when you’re proofreading or editing text.

You can also use the rotor to navigate web pages. When you’re on a web page, the rotor contains the names of common items, such as headers, links, form elements, images and more. You select a setting, then flick up and down to move to the previous or next occurrence of that item on the page, skipping over items in between.



With the iBooks app (available as a free download), you can download, organise and read e-books on your iPad. iBooks is fully compatible with VoiceOver, so you can have books read aloud in any of 33 languages. And you can tailor iBooks to suit the way you read. Read in either portrait or landscape orientation. Choose larger font sizes or different fonts. It also works with the white-on-black text setting. When you want to add new books, visit the iBookstore directly from your iPad and take advantage of VoiceOver to browse the store.

Wireless braille displays

iPad includes built-in support for refreshable braille displays that use Bluetooth wireless technology. You can use them to read VoiceOver output in contracted and non-contracted braille. In addition, braille displays with input keys and other controls can be used to control iPad when VoiceOver is turned on. Learn more about supported braille displays


While many iPad applications let you zoom in and out specific elements such as images in Mail or web page columns in Safari, Zoom lets you magnify the entire screen of any application you’re using to help you see what’s on the display. Zoom can be enabled on iPad using iTunes when you’re setting up iPad for yourself or someone else, or later, using the Accessibility menu in the Settings application. Zoom works everywhere — including the Home, Lock and Spotlight screens — even in applications that you purchase from the App Store.



Here’s how it works. Double-tap with three fingers to instantly zoom in and out 200 per cent. Or double-tap and drag three fingers to dynamically adjust the screen’s magnification between 100 per cent and 500 per cent. Even when zoomed in, you can continue using all the iPad gestures you’re familiar with — flick, pinch tap — to run your favourite applications.

Invert Colours

iPad invert colours

iPad invert colours

If you prefer higher contrast, you can change the display on your iPad to white on black. This reverse-video effect works in all applications and on the Home, Lock and Spotlight screens, and it can be used with Zoom and VoiceOver.

Speak Selection

Want to select text from websites, email, messages and more? Speak Selection lets you highlight text in any application by double-tapping it. Even if you don’t have VoiceOver enabled, Speak Selection will read you the highlighted text and give you formatting options like cut, copy and paste. Turn on Speak Selection in Settings.

Large Text

You can increase the font size to see up to 56-point text in alerts, Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages and Notes.

Audible Alerts

iPad lets you activate audio alerts for incoming and outgoing mail and calendar event requests. iPad also offers an audio option for confirming keyboard actions.

Selecting Voiceover options - Shortcuts



Headset Compatibility

iPad works with a variety of headsets, including Apple earphones and in-ear headphones that have a high-performance microphone capsule built into the cord. Control music playback or record your voice in compatible applications when you click the microphone capsule on your headset.


Accessible iPad User Guide

The iPad User Guide has been designed with accessibility in mind. Read the iPad User Guide in HTML format using a web browser with your favourite screen reader on a Mac, PC and iPad. Or listen to the iPad User Guide in ePub format using VoiceOver in the iBooks app on iPad.

iOS 7 Changes in Accessibility Options

iOS 7 has a font which is difficult to read with light backgrounds. This video covers how to turn on the following features to improve the legibility of your fonts, icons and labels in iOS 7: turn on Bold text,increase the contrast, change to a darker wallpaper, turn off the Parallax motion backgrounds, turn on / off labels and configure larger dynamic text