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Game-Changing iPhone Features That Make Life With a Disability Easier


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Maybe you currently manage a disability, such as low vision or chronic pain, and needing daily assistance can make you feel like a burden. Or perhaps you broke your arm and now struggle to use your phone or computer in the same way as before.

Luckily, the iPhone was built with accessibility in mind, so you don’t have to slow down despite your limitations. In fact, this little device might provide more freedom and independence than you’ve ever imagined before! Here are some game-changing features that can make the iPhone your personal assistant in life.

Accessing accessibility

Do you struggle to set up accessibility features because chronic pain prevents you from tapping the screen? Or are these tools new to you, and you wish you had the experience to start implementing them?

The good news is that Apple has a variety of pathways to try. Under the “Settings” app on the home screen, there’s a tab labeled “Accessibility.” From there, you can customize your iPhone.

If you have low vision or otherwise struggle to enable these features yourself, Apple has a 24/7 disability line available, or you can give them a call. As long as you can give the Apple representative the code needed to screen share your device, he or she can guide you through the process. Alternatively, you could head to your local Apple store, where a staff member can assist you in person.

Regardless of your disability, there are plenty of ways to get your iPhone’s accessibility features up and running.

Related: Employing Individuals with Disabilities May Solve Your Talent Crisis

Relying on your hearing only

Transitioning to the iPhone can be frightening if you rely on prominent buttons you can feel under your fingers. Voice features may also be anxiety-inducing since they can seem too complex to be of use.

However, digital assistants have come a long way over the years. While you may be familiar with Siri, you might not realize how much she can do when your vision is impaired. Siri works with tons of applications from the App Store, including visually impaired ones like Money Reader.

Maybe you’re tired of constantly asking people, “Hey, is this a dollar?” With Money Reader, Siri can identify all your bills. Siri also works with apps that take photos, blow-up images and send emails. There are apps available for every type of disability, many of which are compatible with Siri. Check out the App Store to find which ones keep you the most efficient.

Customizing based on your disability

If it’s difficult to use your fingers or arms, the cluttered buttons and links on your smartphone are probably too tiny and sensitive for you. You may be thrilled to learn that your iPhone’s controls can be fully customized to your physical and motor capabilities.

Let’s say you’re trying to activate the number “three” on your keypad using the AssistiveTouch feature. If you have shaky hands, perhaps you would prefer to use the single-touch option. That way, the moment you lift your finger off the number “three,” it selects three. Alternatively, if you have big fingers that cause you to press the “two” and the “three” simultaneously, you can tell AssistiveTouch to respond only to a double tap instead.

Maybe you don’t have any mobility in your hands, but you have good mobility in your head and neck. The iPhone offers another great feature called SwitchContol, which can create switches based on your left and right head movements. With these iPhone controls, you can confidently make full use of the iPhone, even contacting friends and coworkers without much hassle. 

Related: What a Foldable iPhone Could Look Like

Finding your focus

While searching the web, do you have trouble focusing on the task at hand? Are busy web pages too distracting when paired with your cognitive disorder?

Luckily, the iPhone has options that can center your attention. If listening is easier than reading, Speak Selection will read highlighted text out loud. You could also use Speak Screen, which will read an entire news article with just a swipe.

Perhaps you love reading, but blinking pop-up ads are over-stimulating and exhausting. In this case, try Safari Reader, which displays text without all that extra noise. Now, you can peacefully read articles and text to your heart’s content.

Seeing is believing 

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you may dread purchasing specialized devices for simple phone calls. Thankfully, Real Time Text (RTT) is available for the iPhone and can make your life a whole lot easier.

Do you want to call a friend and get a message across quickly? With RTT, your friend can see a live transcript of every word you type to them. After the call, you can go into your call history to find full transcripts of your conversations. On the topic of messages, do you sometimes miss messages on your device because you can’t hear the notification? With visual alerts, your lock screen will flash brightly to notify you of new messages.

Life with a disability comes with many daily challenges. You may feel scared of transitioning to new technology, like the iPhone, or frustrated by your loss of independence. However, the iPhone can be your greatest ally in maintaining your autonomy. Consider checking out those features on your own or give Apple a call. You may be surprised at all the ways you can personalize your smart device without missing a beat.

Related: How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone or iPad | PCMag

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