Apple Watch Accessibility Features: VoiceOver, Mono Audio, Grayscale, Taptic Engine and More

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Apple has outlined the Apple Watch's built-in accessibility features for vision and hearing on its website, with four of the primary assisitive technologies being VoiceOver, font adjustment, mono audio and the Taptic Engine. The accessibility features can be accessed using the Apple Watch directly or through the Settings app on a paired iPhone.

Apple Watch Accessibility
For the visually impaired, the Apple Watch features VoiceOver, a gesture-based tool that uses the device's built-in speaker to communicate what is appearing on the screen. VoiceOver is compatible with built-in apps and available in 14 supported languages. Apple Watch users can also activate Larger Dynamic Type to adjust the size of the font or choose Bold Text to make the text heavier.

Apple outlines six other assistive technologies for the visually impaired: zoom, grayscale, extra large watch face, reduce transparency, on/off labels and reduce motion. Zoom is controlled using the Digital Crown on the side of the Apple Watch, while the other accessibility features must be enabled through settings.

Apple Watch Accessibility Features
Apple Watch also supports mono audio for people that are deaf or have hearing loss in one ear, enabling users to play both audio channels in both ears and adjust the balance for greater volume in either ear. Apple Watch also features the Taptic Engine for haptic feedback, giving your wrist a gentle tap every time a notification comes in.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

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68 months ago

I guess I still don't understand why the watch would be paired with headphones or store music when it must be paired with a phone that does both as well.


The example I can think of is when you're running or working out and don't want to bring your phone.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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68 months ago
XL watch face is maybe my fav Watch face I have seen to date.
Will likely look at rocking this option. Come June.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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68 months ago
Just heard a friend of mine the other day mention something about how they didn't understand how blind or deaf or other impaired people can use computers. Here's a great example. Good to see these types of options being implemented.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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68 months ago

I wonder if they can somehow implement the taptic engine with accessibility features. There's gotta be something there to help say people who are deaf.


A killer feature for blind folks (so it can be done discreetly), is if the taptic tapping could tap out the time. e.g. 2:53, two taps for 2, brief pause, 5 taps, brief pause, 3 taps. Something like that. They'd then be able to 'see' the time and others wouldn't hear it speaking.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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