Home Tech How to use your smartphone to counteract vision loss

How to use your smartphone to counteract vision loss

0 comment
Screenshot of the accessibility menu on an iPhone smartphone

If it has not appeared on your Android device, download the Reading mode Play Store tool. Gonna Settings > Accessibility and touch Reading mode and then Allow Turn it on. When you want to use it, simply tap the on-screen accessibility button. You can customize its appearance by using the gear icon at the bottom left, press the play button to read it aloud, and increase or decrease the text size by tapping the icon at the bottom right.

For a similar option on the iPhone, open a web article you want to read in Safari and tap the AA icon at the bottom left, then select Show reader. (Unfortunately, not all websites support Reader mode, so if the option is grayed out, chances are the website you’re on doesn’t support it.) AA Again, you can change the background color, font, and text size. You can also touch Website Settings and activate Use the reader automatically for the website you are visiting.

How to zoom in or out

Even after customizing your screen, there may be times when you want to enlarge something on the screen. Fortunately, there are built-in options to do just that. On iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Zoom to configure different magnification settings for text and other content on your iPhone screen. With Android phones, go to Settings > Accessibility and touch Increase to activate the shortcut. You can choose full screen magnification (including time zoom), partial screen magnification, and text magnification as you type.

What if you want to zoom in on objects or signs around you? The built-in camera app on your phone can zoom, but the clarity of the close-up will depend on the quality of your phone’s camera. You can pinch to zoom and the zoom levels appear as numbers (such as 2X) at the bottom of the camera view. If you hold down the zoom level, you’ll get pop-up controls that show the full range of zoom options. But any movement while zooming can make it difficult to read or examine details.

iPhone via Simon Hill

iPhone via Simon Hill

You can also use the Magnifier app on all iPhones. Swipe down on the home screen and search for it, find it in Utilities folder in your app library, or download it from the App Store. Point at what you want to see and zoom in using the slider. Tap the gear at the bottom left, choose Settings to decide which controls you want to include and select filters to make things more readable. We will discuss the practical Detection mode and some of the other features of the Magnifying Glass app in the “How to Identify Objects” section below.

There is no built-in equivalent in Android, but Android phone owners can choose from several popular magnifying glass apps on the Play Store, such as Magnifying Glass + Flashlight.

How to get audio descriptions

Screen readers describe what’s on your device’s screen and inform you about alerts and notifications.

The Android screen reader is called TalkBack and can be activated via Accessibility > Replicate > Use TalkBack. You can also say “Hey Google, turn on TalkBack” or use the volume key shortcut (press and hold both volume keys for three seconds). With TalkBack enabled, you can tap the screen and drag your finger to explore while TalkBack announces icons, buttons, and other elements. Simply double tap to select. To customize things like feedback detail, language, and volume, tap the screen with three fingers or swipe down and then right in one fell swoop (gesture support depends on your device and Android version). and select Conversation settings. You also can activate the virtual braille keyboard in these environments, since Google reinforced ready-to-use support for braille displays on TalkBack with the Android 13 update.

Google via Simon Hill

Google via Simon Hill

Select to talk is another Android feature that might be of interest. It provides audio descriptions of items on your screen, such as text or images, and allows you to point your camera at images or text to hear them read or described aloud in certain languages. Turn it on through Settings > Accessibility > Select to speak. Once activated, you can access it by swiping up with two fingers (swipe three fingers if TalkBack is activated). Tap an item or tap and drag to select multiple items and tap Play listen to them described.

Apple’s screen reader is called VoiceOver and you can find it at Settings > Accessibility, where you can set your preferred speaking speed, select speaking voices, configure braille output, and configure many other aspects of the VoiceOver feature. Tap Voice-over recognition have images, whatever is on screen in apps, and even text found in images described to you.

Apple via Simon Hill

If VoiceOver is more than you need, consider going to Settings > Accessibility > Spoken content, where you’ll find three potentially useful options. Activate Speak selection have a Talk The button appears when you select text. Activate talk screen to hear the content on the screen when you swipe down with two fingers from the top. Tap Write comments and you can choose to have characters, words, autocorrects, and more spoken out loud as you type.

To get audio descriptions of video content on an iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility and turn on Audio descriptions. On an Android phone, it is Settings > Accessibility > Audio description.

How to use voice commands

You can use voice commands to control your phone. On iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Voice control and touch Set up voice control to review your options and configure voice controls. On Android devices, go to Settings > Accessibility > Voice access and activate it. If you don’t see the option, you may need to download the Voice access application.

You can also dictate text on Android phones or iPhones by tapping the microphone icon whenever the keyboard appears.

You may also like