iPadOS 17 – New Accessibility Features

Apple introduces new features for cognitive accessibility, along with Live Speech, Personal Voice, and Point and Speak in Magnifier


  • New software features for cognitive, speech, and vision accessibility are coming later this year.


Today, Apple provided a sneak peek of upcoming software features designed to enhance accessibility for individuals with cognitive, vision, hearing, and mobility challenges. These exciting updates also include groundbreaking tools for those who are nonspeaking or facing the risk of losing their ability to speak.

Apple collaborates closely with a diverse range of community organizations dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities. Through these partnerships, Apple develops accessibility features that have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. Later this year, iPhone and iPad users with cognitive disabilities will benefit from Assistive Access, empowering them to navigate their devices with greater ease and independence. For individuals who are unable to speak, Live Speech enables them to communicate during calls and conversations by typing messages that are then spoken aloud. Additionally, Personal Voice allows those at risk of losing their ability to speak to create a customized synthesised voice, enabling them to maintain a sense of identity and connection with loved ones.

At Apple, we’ve always believed that the best technology is technology built for everyone,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Today, we’re excited to share incredible new features that build on our long history of making technology accessible, so that everyone has the opportunity to create, communicate, and do what they love.
Accessibility is part of everything we do at Apple,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives. “These groundbreaking features were designed with feedback from members of disability communities every step of the way, to support a diverse set of users and help people connect in new ways.

What’s new?

These forthcoming accessibility advancements from Apple reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that individuals of all abilities can fully embrace the transformative power of technology.

  • Assistive Access Supports Users with Cognitive Disabilities. Assistive Access uses innovations in design to distill apps and experiences to their essential features in order to lighten cognitive load.

  • Live Speech and Personal Voice Advance Speech Accessibility. With Live Speech on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, users can type what they want to say to have it be spoken out loud during phone and FaceTime calls as well as in-person conversations. Users can also save commonly used phrases to chime in quickly during lively conversation with family, friends, and colleagues.  For users at risk of losing their ability to speak — such as those with a recent diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other conditions that can progressively impact speaking ability — Personal Voice is a simple and secure way to create a voice that sounds like them.

  • Detection Mode in Magnifier Introduces Point and Speak for Users Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision. Point and Speak in Magnifier makes it easier for users with vision disabilities to interact with physical objects that have several text labels.


Additional features

  • Users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can seamlessly connect their Made for iPhone hearing devices to their Mac computers, enhancing their auditory experience.
  • Voice Control now includes phonetic suggestions to assist users who rely on voice typing. When multiple words sound similar, such as “do,” “due,” and “dew,” Voice Control provides convenient options to select the correct word for accurate text editing.
  • Switch Control empowers users with physical and motor disabilities to transform any switch into a virtual game controller, enabling them to indulge in their favorite games on iPhone and iPad.
  • Mac users with low vision can now enjoy enhanced accessibility with the improved Text Size feature, which offers easier adjustment options across various apps including Finder, Messages, Mail, Calendar, and Notes.
  • Now, you can have a more enjoyable browsing experience on Safari and a smoother messaging experience on Messages as images with moving elements, like GIFs, are automatically paused.
  • VoiceOver will use Siri voices to sound even more natural and expressive, even at high rates of speech feedback. You now have the flexibility to customize the rate at which Siri speaks to you, with options ranging from 0.8x to 2x.


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