Apple Unveils New Customizable Accessibility Features

Apple, accessibility

Apple launched previews of new software features to help users with disabilities navigate their products, according to a Tuesday (May 17) company press release.

The updates include customizable tools and relies on advancements across hardware, software and machine learning, helping blind and low-vision people use their iPhone and iPad to navigate the last few feet to their destination with Door Detection. The feature will be available in a new Detection Mode within Magnifier, Apple’s built-in app.

Users with physical and motor disabilities who rely on assistive features including Voice Control and Switch Control can now control Apple Watch from their iPhone with Apple Watch Mirroring, and use inputs including voice commands, sound actions, head tracking or external Made for iPhone switches as alternatives to tapping the Apple Watch display.

The Big Tech firm also said it was introducing Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, and Mac that allow deaf or hard-of-hearing users to follow along more easily with any audio content, such as on a phone, during FaceTime call, browsing a social media app, streaming media content or having a conversation with someone next to them.

Apple is also expanding its support for screen reader software VoiceOver, with more than 20 new languages as part of software updates, available later this year across Apple platforms.

Related: Apple May Revamp Services to Focus on Streaming, Ads

According to a PYMNTS report, Apple is also looking into a grocery ordering service that will focus on nutrition and may include a nutrition tracking element that isn’t on other services. It might also be able to integrate into the Health app, adding nutritional data directly.

PYMNTS wrote that Apple will likely add updates for Apple Fitness+ and Apple Pay as well.