An iPhone screen with the Accessibility menu

Photo: Primakov (Shutterstock)

Your smartphone’s operating system has many great accessibility features designed to improve the lives of people with low vision, mobility, or hearing problems. If you have any of these issues, or know someone who is facing them, it is good to keep track of useful accessibility features that could help you – although they are worth knowing even if you don’t, there they can help you find new ways to do common tasks on your phone. Below we’ve rounded up the best of these features for Android and iPhone in one handy list.

Where are the accessibility settings on Android and iPhone?

Almost all functions for people with disabilities are in the Settings> Accessibility Menu on both Android and iPhone. While we’re going to discuss the best of these features, we can’t possibly cover every single option out there. For this reason, we encourage you to explore this settings page and look for other specific features that you may find helpful. Note, however, that some of them only work when you plug in an accessibility accessory such as a braille keyboard.

The best accessibility features for the visually impaired

There are some useful features on both platforms for visually impaired users. The most important of these is a Screen reader represent. As the name suggests, it configures your phone before it reads what is written on the screen. From the text in articles to the text used throughout the operating system, the screen reader feature is immensely useful for people with visual impairment.

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You can activate this option on the iPhone under Settings> Accessibility> VoiceOver. On Android go to Settings> Accessibility> TalkBack.

That Magnifying glass is another excellent iPhone feature in this regard. It uses your phone’s camera to zoom in on things around you and get a close look at them, a kind of magnifying glass. You can quickly adjust colors and contrast to optimize the image so it’s easier to see what you want to see. To enable this feature in iOS, go to Settings> Accessibility> Magnifier.

Unfortunately, Android didn’t have a similar feature built in, but you can use the camera app to zoom in manually or try a third-party magnifying glass app, e.g. Magnifying glass + flashlight.

It is also helpful to globally adjust the text size and colors on the screen of your smartphone to suit your needs. Go to on an iPhone Settings> Accessibility> Display and text size to make these optimizations; You can also find useful options here for people with color impairment, such as color filters that help you distinguish colors more easily. On Android, you can find similar options in Settings> Accessibility under the advertisement Under head.

The best accessibility features for the deaf or hard of hearing

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, your smartphone has many useful accessibility features to help you.

The most important of these is Live Transcribe, which is integrated in Google’s pixel smartphones and also as an app. is available Google Play Store for other Android smartphones. Live Transcribe automatically detects sounds around you and converts them to text. It supports multiple languages ​​and most importantly, it can alert you to certain non-language noises around you, like a crying baby or a smoke or fire alarm. The notifications appear either in the form of a flashing light or a vibration, which makes it easy to avoid important warnings.

While the iPhone doesn’t have a similar built-in app, you can try third-party options such as: Hearing aid and Live transcription. Some of these features are available through the iPhone’s sound detection feature, which you can configure by tapping. walk Settings> Accessibility> Sound detection. If you want an LED flash for warnings, you can configure this under Audiovisual in your accessibility settings.

If you have hearing loss in one ear, you should try activating it Mono audio on your smartphone. Stereo audio sometimes places part of the recorded sound in the left channel and another part in the right. Switching to mono audio ensures that all of the audio is available on a single channel, so you can put your headphones in one ear and not miss a thing.

On the iPhone, you can do this at. activate Settings> Accessibility> Audio / Visual> Mono Audio. On Android, this option is in the Audio & Onscreen Text in section Settings> Accessibility.

The best accessibility features for people with motor problems

If you are facing physical difficulties like motor impairment, there are some great options on both Android and iPhone that can make your phone easier to use. The AssistiveTouch button became very popular when people were concerned about sticky iPhone home buttons, and even in the era of the buttonless iPhone, it remains a great accessibility feature that lets you map useful functions – like taking screenshots with the pinch -Gesture, or starting the camera – on a single button on the screen.

You can activate this function by clicking Settings> Accessibility> Touch> AssistiveTouch on the iPhone. Go to the same page Customize top level menu to add or remove actions associated with this button. You can also configure what happens when you tap the AssistiveTouch button once, twice, or long-press it on the AssistiveTouch Page under the following menus: Single tap, Double tap, and Long press.

On Android, you can use the Accessibility menu to get similar functions. Go to Settings> Accessibility and choose Accessibility menu under the Interaction control Under head.

You should also consider enabling a shortcut to automatically answer phone calls after a pre-configured duration. Go to on the iPhone Settings> Accessibility> Touch> Audio routing for calls. Here you can choose which device should play audio from a call. So if you’d rather use a bluetooth headset or speaker, you can route the call audio right there. On this settings page you can also set a duration for the automatic acceptance of calls.

A similar option is available on some Android smartphones, but not all. You can search for it by the Dialer App, press the Three point symbol in the upper right corner and select settings. If the feature is available on your phone, it can be found under Call Settings.

After all, dictation is a great feature that lets you talk instead of typing. On the iPhone, you can activate it under Settings> General> Keyboard> Activate dictation. ON Microphone icon appears on both the keyboard and in text boxes, and you can tap it and start speaking. The phone then converts your speech to text.

Dictation is enabled by default on Android. You can beat that Microphone icon in the text field or directly above the keyboard to use the speech-to-text function.