Quick Guide to Using VoiceOver on iOS

This is a short introduction to the VoiceOver screen reader for iOS, particularly geared toward sighted developers or instructors who never had any exposure to assistive technology software for users who are blind.

Start and Stop VoiceOver

  • Starting from iOS 7.0, tell Siri “Turn VoiceOver on” or “Turn off VOiceOver”.
  • Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> VoiceOver.
  • Set up as an “accessibility Shortcut” (Home tripple-click):
    1. go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility
    2. scroll down to the “Accessibility Shortcut” option and tap on it
    3. choose VoiceOver from the list of options (you can select more than one accessibility utility)
    4. tripple-click the HOME key from anywhere in the system to toggle VoiceOver on and off.

Essential VoiceOver Gestures (with VoiceOver on)

  • Swipe left and right from anywhere on the screen to move between the elements (think of the TAB and SHIFT+TAB keys on the keyboard).
  • Touch an element once to hear its name, type and a hint (if available). Please note, this gesture does not perform any action.
  • Double-tap on the element to activate it, e.g. to open an app, toggle a checkbox, focus into an edit field, push a button, etc.
  • To scroll left, right, up or down, swipe three fingers.
  • To stop or resume speech, tap once with two fingers.

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