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Apple announces iOS 18 accessibility features, including eye tracking

Apple today previewed many new accessibility features coming later this year with software updates including iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, and visionOS 2. The announcement comes a day before World Accessibility Awareness Day.

iOS 18 hover typing feature
Key new accessibility features for iPhone and/or iPad will include:

  • Eye tracking
  • Musical haptics
  • Voice shortcuts
  • Vehicle movement cues

Mac users will have the ability to customize VoiceOver keyboard shortcuts and Mandarin support for Personal Voice, while Vision Pro will get system-wide live captions, reduced transparency, Intelligent reversing and low flashing lights.

Eye tracking

iPadOS 18 eye trackingiPadOS 18 eye tracking
Apple claims that Eye Tracking on iPhone and iPad will allow users to navigate system interfaces and applications with just their eyes:

Powered by artificial intelligence, Eye Tracking gives users a built-in option to navigate iPad and iPhone with just their eyes. Designed for users with physical disabilities, Eye Tracking uses the front-facing camera to configure and calibrate in seconds, and with on-device machine learning, all data used to configure and control this feature is kept secure on the device and are not. not shared with Apple.

Eye Tracking works on iPadOS and iOS apps and requires no additional hardware or accessories. With Eye Tracking, users can navigate through elements of an app and use Dwell Control to activate each element, accessing additional functions such as physical buttons, swipes, and other gestures only with their eyes.

Musical haptics

iOS 18 Haptic MusiciOS 18 Haptic Music
When this feature is enabled, the iPhone’s Taptic Engine will play “refined taps, textures, and vibrations” that match the music’s audio:

Music Haptics is a new way for deaf or hard of hearing users to enjoy music on iPhone. When this accessibility feature is enabled, the iPhone’s Taptic Engine plays refined taps, textures, and vibrations over music audio. Music Haptics works on millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog and will be available as an API allowing developers to make music more accessible in their apps.

Voice shortcuts

Voice Shortcuts will allow iPhone and iPad users to assign “custom utterances” that Siri can understand to “launch shortcuts and perform complex tasks.”

iOS 18 Voice ShortcutsiOS 18 Voice Shortcuts

Vehicle movement cues

vehicle movement signalsvehicle movement signals
This feature is designed to reduce motion sickness when looking at an iPhone or iPad screen in a moving vehicle:

Along with vehicle motion cues, animated dots at the edges of the screen represent changes in vehicle motion to help reduce sensory conflict without interfering with the main content. Using sensors built into iPhone and iPad, Vehicle Motion Cues recognizes when a user is in a moving vehicle and responds accordingly. The feature can be set to appear automatically on iPhone or can be turned on and off in Control Center.

Read our standalone coverage of this feature to learn more.


CarPlay sound recognitionCarPlay sound recognition
CarPlay will benefit from voice control, color filters and sound recognition.

Sound recognition on CarPlay will allow drivers or passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing to activate alerts to be notified of car horns and sirens.

Live subtitles on Vision Pro

Vision Pro live captionsVision Pro live captions
visionOS 2 will support live captions, allowing deaf or hard of hearing users to follow spoken dialogue in live chats and in app audio.

More features

iOS 18 Hover TypingiOS 18 Hover TypingHover typing will display larger text when typing in a text field.

Apple outlined many more accessibility features coming to its platforms later this year:

– For users who are blind or visually impaired, VoiceOver will include new voices, a flexible Voice Rotor, custom volume control, and the ability to customize VoiceOver keyboard shortcuts on Mac.
– Magnifier will offer a new Reader mode and the ability to easily launch Detect mode with the Action button.
– Braille users will benefit from a new way to start and stay in Braille screen input for faster control and text editing; Availability of Japanese language for braille screen input; multi-line braille support with Dot Pad; and the ability to choose different input and output tables.
– For visually impaired users, Hover Typing displays larger text when typing in a text field, as well as in the user’s preferred font and color.
– For users at risk of losing the ability to speak, Personal Voice will be available in Mandarin Chinese. Users who have difficulty speaking or reading full sentences will be able to create a personal voice using shortened sentences.
– For non-speaking users, Live Speech will include categories and simultaneous compatibility with Live Captions.
– For users with physical disabilities, Virtual Trackpad for AssistiveTouch allows users to control their device using a small region of the screen as a resizable trackpad.
– Switch Control will include the ability to use iPhone and iPad cameras to recognize finger gestures as switches.
– Voice Control will offer support for custom vocabularies and complex words.

Apple is expected to unveil iOS 18 and more at its WWDC developer conference on June 10, and software updates will be widely released later this year.

News Source : www.macrumors.com
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