Apple Developing New Accessibility Features for iOS 18 and macOS 15

With every operating system release, Apple aims to make apps more accessible and easier to navigate by providing a variety of new accessibility features and settings. iOS 18 (Codename Crystal) and macOS 15 (Codename Glow) will be no exception, and work on accessibility-related enhancements is well underway.

iOS 18 Roundup Article
Through our industry sources, MacRumors has obtained information on some of the key accessibility improvements Apple has in store for its userbase. Apple is working on several new accessibility features along with improvements to existing settings, both of which should be available later this year.

Adaptive Voice Shortcuts

This feature will allow users to map a unique spoken phrase to an accessibility setting. Users will be given the option to create a custom phrase and select the accessibility setting they wish to toggle by speaking said phrase. By using Adaptive Voice Shortcuts, users will be able to toggle existing accessibility features such as VoiceOver, Voice Control, Zoom and so on.

New "Categories" Section for Live Speech

The Live Speech feature, which is already present in Apple's operating systems, will receive a new section for user-created categories. Users will be able to organize phrases into categories of their choosing. When creating a category, users will be given the option to name their category and choose from a selection of around 20 different icons. Once a category has been created, users will then be able to add their desired phrases.

More Apps Will Support Custom Font Sizes

Apple intends to expand app support for adjustable Text Size, which is an existing feature. Located within the "Display" section of the "Accessibility" settings pane, the option allows users to choose custom font sizes for individual apps and select their preferred font size for reading.

macOS Sonoma currently supports custom font sizes for the following five apps:

  • Calendar

  • Finder

  • Mail

  • Messages

  • Notes

With macOS 15, this feature will expand support to five additional apps:

  • Books

  • News

  • Stocks

  • Tips

  • Weather

Speaking to MacRumors, sources familiar with custom font sizes have said that Apple is internally testing an option to alter the font size of the menu bar within macOS, but it is unclear if the company will make this option available to end users. We were also told that Apple has additional accessibility features in the works, one of which utilizes on-device eye tracking, though further details were not available at the time of writing. More information should come to light as OS development continues in preparation for WWDC 2024.

It is important to note that while these features are in development, it does not necessarily mean we will see them later this year. Apple has been known to cancel various projects that do not meet their standards, for one reason or another. For additional information on what to expect with this year's new OS releases, check out our dedicated rumor roundup for iOS 18.

Related Roundups: iOS 18, iPadOS 18
Related Forums: iOS 18, iPadOS 18

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Top Rated Comments

turbineseaplane Avatar
20 weeks ago
From an accessibility standpoint it's a real shame they are going to kill off the only iPhone left with a home button

My older relatives (well into their 80's) would be totally lost without the one simple button to "save them" when they get lost on iOS (happens a lot).
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
20 weeks ago

if they don’t mind speaking to Siri, Siri can always take them to the home screen.
Oh my -- using Siri is way beyond them
They literally get lost in the Phone app
My Aunt gets stuck in the Contacts area and thinks some contacts in there are actual messages

It's ... rough
We are just hanging on here

I used to be able to count on Apple to worry about this type of user, but that ship sailed ages ago.
If the only option were the newer phones with all the swiping, they'd be done
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zhtfreak Avatar
20 weeks ago
This stuff and whatever else Apple is working on will probably get revealed in a press release for global accessibility awareness day like they have done the past few years.

I do wish Apple would engage more with their disabled users to better understand what they need. To me at least, it seems like within the blind and visually impaired community, there is a growing consensus that Apple's accessibility is slipping. People are generally not recommending a mac to a blind person because VoiceOver is sluggish even on AS Macs. VoiceOver frequently locks up using Safari, and says that Safari isn't responding--the equivalent of the spinning beach ball--yet it doesn't happen with VO turned off. I don't have a Mac anymore, but that's just one thing I read frequent complaints about.

Yes, people file bug reports about issues like this, sometimes quite a few times. But people feel they are not being acting upon.

I use VoiceOver all day every day on my iPhone and am greatful for it. But count me in the group of people that thinks that for once, Apple shouldn't put in any more fancy emojis and stuff with stickers and just focus more on fixing all the bugs.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fraserpatty Avatar
20 weeks ago

100%. I don’t know how old your family members are, but my 86 year old grandmother doesn’t understand Siri at all.
This is very disheartening. I am in my 70s and I have been programming Siri to be a lot of help for me as I get older and find using my iPad difficult to do. I thought just being able to talk to it would help me. Oh well.
Sorry about these difficulties for your family.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klasma Avatar
20 weeks ago
I have to say, the accessibility features are probably the single thing that keeps me on iOS/iPadOS.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fuzzball84 Avatar
20 weeks ago
Really happy to see these and other accessibility features... one of the OS features that makes a huge difference to those people with disabilities... or just making the devices easier for older people to use. It will happen to all of us, eventually.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)