accessibility

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'accessibility' How Tos

How to Set Up and Use Accessibility Shortcut in iOS 11

Apple includes a raft of accessibility options in iOS 11 to meet the various needs of its users, allowing them to customize their iPhone and iPad interface in several helpful ways. To make these features quicker to access, Apple also includes an Accessibility Shortcut feature in iOS 11 that, once set up, can be invoked using a triple click of the Home button (or Side button on iPhone X). This shortcut feature is ideal for users who could benefit from fast access to a customized menu of accessibility options. It's also a great solution if you just want a quick way to control a single accessibility mode, like Smart Invert for example, which remains the closest thing we have to an official "Dark Mode" in iOS 11. Here we'll show you how to set up Accessibility Shortcut for either use case.

How to Make Icons and Fonts Bigger on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch screen is small. So small that it can be difficult for some people to read messages and other text on the device. Also, even though the Home screen icons get bigger when they are centered on the screen, you might find yourself accidentally tapping the wrong one more often than you'd like. Apple has included a couple of accessibility features that make dynamic text larger on the screen, and there are options to make all of the icons stay big on the Home screen instead of shrinking and growing when they are not centered. We have a tutorial to show you how to enable these features. Reduce Motion The same feature that helps keep people from getting motion sickness in iOS 8 makes app icons larger on the Home screen on Apple Watch. It makes it a little bit easier to tap those tiny icons. On Apple Watch, navigate to the Home screen and then open the Settings app. Select General. Then scroll down to Accessibility. Tap Reduce Motion and toggle the switch to the on position. Or Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to My Watch. Select General, and then Accessibility. Tap Reduce Motion and toggle the switch to the on position. Now, the icons on your Home screen will remain at their fullest size instead of shrinking down as they move away from the center of the screen, as seen in the image at the top of this post. Tip: If an app is centered on the screen, you don't even have to tap it to open it. Instead, rotate the Digital Crown to open the app. The hard part is being able to tell which app is centered.

'accessibility' Articles

Google Adds Morse Code Accessibility Feature to Gboard on iOS

Google has added support for Morse code typing to its Gboard app for iOS, providing an accessible method of digital communication for people with disabilities. The customizable feature replaces the letters of the keyboard with large dot and dash keys to enter text, and offers text-to-Morse sequences to the auto-suggestion strip above the keyboard. Google has also launched a Morse Typing Trainer web game that teachers users how to communicate in Morse code using Gboard. Tania Finlayson, an assistive tech developer with cerebral palsy who works on the Gboard project, explained in a Google blog post how Morse code has helped her communicate more effectively: "At first I thought learning Morse code would be a waste of time, but soon learned that it gave me total freedom with my words, and for the first time, I could talk with ease, without breaking my neck. School became fun, instead of exhausting. I could focus on my studies, and have real conversations with my friends for the first time. Also, I did not need an adult figure with me every moment at school, and that was awesome."For existing Gboard users, the Morse code feature is delivered in an update (version 1.29). Gboard is a free download for iPhone available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Live Listen Coming to AirPods in iOS 12

Apple in 2014 introduced a Live Listen feature that's designed to allow the iPhone to pair with hearing aids and then serve as a remote microphone that beams the audio the iPhone picks up to the hearing aids. As noted by TechCrunch, Live Listen is coming to the AirPods with the iOS 12 update, letting iPhone users position their iPhones as a directional mic and have the audio relayed through the AirPods. With this feature, an iPhone user could, for example, put an iPhone on the table in a noisy restaurant and then have the voice of whomever is speaking routed to the AirPods as a stand-in for hearing aids for those who are hard of hearing or need a bit of extra help separating voices in a loud environment. Live Listen with AirPods is not going to replace a traditional hearing aid and people with hearing issues should still get a checkup from a doctor, but this feature is handy for people who need something in a pinch without carrying extra

Apple Backs New USB Standard for Using Braille Displays Across Ecosystems

Apple has voiced support for a new Human Interface Device standard that will bring versatile support and overall improve the technology of future USB-connected Braille displays [PDF]. Set forth by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), a non-profit organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, the new standard will help make it easier for blind and low-vision users to use Braille displays "across operating systems" and with "different types of hardware." This way, users won't be locked into one ecosystem and can more easily go about reading and interacting with their devices no matter the manufacturer. Additionally, the standard is set to simplify the development process by removing the need for Braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader. According to Apple's director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, the company is "proud" to help advance the new USB-IF standard. “Technology should be accessible to everyone and Apple designs all products with that in mind,” said Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple. “We’re proud to advance this new USB-IF standard because we believe in improving the experience for all people who rely on braille displays to use their Apple products or any other device.” A few other executives from other companies chimed in on the news as well, including Microsoft accessibility program manager Jeff Petty, who said, "Developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we

Vision-Focused Accessibility Efforts Made by Apple, Amazon, and Others Highlighted in New Report

A new article published last night by The Wall Street Journal takes a look into how accessibility-focused technology has the "potential to fundamentally change the mobility, employment and lifestyle of the blind and vision-impaired." The piece looks at advancements made by Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and other companies, including hardware and software like Amazon's Echo, Microsoft's Seeing AI app, and Apple's Siri. One blind individual, Mike May, discussed using dedicated accessibility technology like Aira, which provides users with special glasses that connect them to a human representative in real time who proceeds to describe the user's surroundings to them as they move around. Aira ranges from $89 for 100 minutes per month to $329 for unlimited access per month. While important for blind users to have technology focused entirely on their daily needs, advocate Mark Riccobono pointed out that introducing accessibility into existing devices, like Apple does, "may be an even bigger need." He points to the iPhone, which had accessibility built into it from the beginning. “I can go down to the Apple store and pay the same price and triple-click the home button and I have VoiceOver,” says Mr. Riccobono, referring to a feature where the phone will describe aloud what is happening on the screen. “That’s built in, it’s great, it doesn’t cost a penny extra.” Apple's devices have numerous features aimed at visually impaired users, including VoiceOver, display accommodations, the magnifier and zoom, resizable text options, and more. These features are available

Apple's Everyone Can Code Curriculum Expanding to Schools Serving Blind and Deaf Students

Apple today on Global Accessibility Awareness Day announced that its Everyone Can Code curriculum is expanding to schools serving deaf, blind, or visually impaired students, starting with various locations in the United States in the fall. Initial list of participating schools:California School for the Blind (Fremont, CA) California School for the Deaf (Fremont, CA) District 75/Citywide Programs (New York, NY) Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (St. Augustine, FL) Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Winnetka, IL) Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, MA) Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (Austin, TX) Texas School for the Deaf (Austin, TX)Everyone Can Code enables students of all ages to learn how to code with Apple's open source programming language Swift. The curriculum involves the iPad app Swift Playgrounds, which lets students use real code to solve puzzles and control characters, and the iBooks course App Development with Swift. Apple is celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day by making coding more inclusive for students across the country. Because when we say Everyone Can Code, we mean everyone. #GAAD https://t.co/Ew16JtxzJh— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 17, 2018 Apple has tailored Everyone Can Code to work with its accessibility features, ranging from its screen-reading technology VoiceOver to Switch Control, which enables switches, joysticks, and other adaptive devices to control what is on the screen.Apple collaborated with engineers, educators, and programmers from various accessibility communities to

Apple.com Updated With Focus on Accessibility Features of iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, and More

Apple today updated the front page and accessibility section of Apple.com in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The event is held on the third Thursday of May every year and was created to promote inclusion and usability of technology for anyone with a disability. This year, Apple is highlighting its own accessibility features right on the home page of Apple.com, stating that "Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone." On the main accessibility page, Apple has again posted its short commercial from 2016 about real people with disabilities who use its products in everyday life, narrated by Sady Paulson, who uses Switch Control on a Mac. Otherwise, the company has greatly expanded the web page to mark today's event. When you scroll down, each section is marked by accessibility features focusing on different areas of disability, beginning with vision. These include VoiceOver, adjustable display accommodations, Dynamic Type to upsize text, and Zoom to get a closer look at an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, or Apple TV screen. In the hearing section, Apple says it wants to "keep everyone in the conversation" with features like Live Listen that let users fine-tune MFi hearing aids to hear more clearly. The company also showcases FaceTime for those who use sign language to communicate, closed captioning for music and sound effects on all Apple devices, LED Flash for iPhone alerts, and Type to Siri for manually asking the AI assistant to perform any task. The last two sections focus on physical and motor skills as well as learning and

Apple's Accessibility Efforts Highlighted in New Interviews Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Thursday, May 17 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and ahead of the event CNET has spoken to individuals with disabilities, accessibility advocates, and Apple's own director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, to discuss the company's efforts in this field. Showing off the wheelchair workouts on Apple Watch, two-time U.S. Paralympian Austin Pruitt explained how he uses a racing wheelchair in a stationary workout routine to help him keep in shape. Pruitt has cerebral palsy from the knees down, but he continues to compete in the Paralympic Games by racing in a wheelchair, and the Apple Watch has replaced bulky trackers in his workout routines. Photo taken by Sarah Tew via CNET He said he used to set up a bunch of trackers on his chair to log his workouts, but now uses just an Apple Watch instead. "This has everything," he told me. "This has my wheelchair and my walking, all in one." Apple added a "Wheelchair" setting to the Apple Watch in watchOS 3, allowing the device's activity options to be customized for wheelchair users. This means that controlling and pushing a wheelchair contributes to all-day calorie goals, "time to roll" notifications remind users when to be a bit more active, and new wheelchair-specific workouts provide customized sessions for users like Pruitt. According to Herrlinger, accessibility updates (like the wheelchair setting in Apple Watch) are something the company tries to add into its devices every year. "Every year we try to add in new things. We do look at how can we make it slightly better year over

Apple Submits New Accessibility Emojis to Unicode Consortium

Apple today submitted a new proposal [PDF] to the Unicode Consortium, suggesting the committee introduce a series of accessibility emojis in future Unicode releases. As outlined by Emojipedia, Apple has suggested emojis that include a guide dog, a hearing aid, a prosthetic arm and leg, sign language, a person in a wheelchair, and a person with a cane. Apple's full list of proposed emojis can be seen in its proposal document. Image via Emojipedia In its proposal, Apple says it is aiming to better represent individuals with disabilities to provide a more inclusive experience for all. Apple also says this is not an exhaustive list of "all possible depictions of disabilities," but is rather designed to be "an initial starting point."At Apple, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone and should provide an experience that serves individual needs. Adding emoji emblematic to users' life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one's own personal experience, but also to show support for a loved one. This new set of emoji that we are proposing aims to provide a wider array of options to represent basic categories for people with disabilities. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all possible depictions of disabilities, but to provide an initial starting point for greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe.To create the emoji suggestions, Apple

Apple Donates $250K to Sponsor 'Innovation Zone' in Accessibility-Focused Playground Coming to Sunnyvale

The Magical Bridge Foundation, which helps build playgrounds for children and adults with disabilities and special needs, this week announced that Apple will help fund the foundation's latest playground, located in Sunnyvale, California's Fair Oaks Park. Magical Bridge Foundation's playgrounds are located in select communities in the Bay Area, including Mountain View, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto, and Redwood City. Apple's contribution to the playground will come in the form of a $250,000 donation and mark the company as a sponsor of an "Innovation Zone" section of the park. Magical Bridge Foundation describes this area as "a dynamic space within the Sunnyvale playground for people of all ages and abilities to meet, learn, explore, create and build new and diverse relationships." Clockwise from top left: The Innovation Zone, Kindness Corner, Playhouse + Playstage, and Tot Zone Apple's sponsored Innovation Zone is said to lie "at the heart" of the new playground's leading edge concepts. Capturing the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley, the Innovation Zone provides unique and interactive play experiences utilizing technology, art and design that stimulates the full array of human senses in an entirely new way. “The dream to build magical spaces where people of all abilities can feel freedom of play has become a reality because companies like Apple and our other partners are so committed to this community, its residents and visitors,” Magical Bridge co-founder Olenka Villarreal said. “The joy is contagious. Magical Bridge Playgrounds are changing neighborhoods,

Cochlear Launches New Made for iPhone Hearing Implant in Partnership With Apple

As was announced back in July, Apple partnered with Australian company Cochlear to develop the Nucleus 7, the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant, which is able to stream audio from a compatible iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch directly to a surgically embedded sound processor. Cochlear's new Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is launching in Australia this week, and should soon also be available in other countries for customers who have profound hearing loss that can't be alleviated with traditional hearing aids and requires implant technology. Apple's accessibility engineering team worked with Cochlear to create a new form of Bluetooth low-energy audio that allows the implant to connect to the iPhone without draining significant amounts of battery life. Through an iPhone connection, patients who adopt the Nucleus 7 implant will be able to watch movies, listen to music, make calls, and more. In a comment to The Australian about the launch of the Nucleus 7 from Cochlear, Apple director of accessibility Sarah Herrlinger said the Cochlear project is something Apple is "passionate about." Creating the Bluetooth improvements and developing integrations across multiple companies with hearing aid products took two to three years to complete, says Herrlinger."It's something that we are really passionate about as a company," she said. "We consider it one of our core corporate values, an area where we put significant amount of time and energy ensuring our products work for everyone. "We started looking at this program around the concept of Bluetooth LE and how it would be a

Apple Used Bluetooth Low Energy Audio for Cochlear Implant iPhone Accessory

Late last month Apple revealed it had partnered with hearing aid company Cochlear to launch the first Made For iPhone Cochlear implant, which can stream audio from an iOS device directly to a surgically embedded sound processor. Now, in a new Wired article titled "How Apple is Putting Voices in Users' Heads – Literally", the company has offered up a few more details on how it was able to achieve the technical feat of transmitting high bandwidth data to such a low-powered device. To solve the problem of streaming high-quality audio without draining the tiny zinc batteries in hearing aids, Apple's accessibility team essentially had to create a more advanced version of the existing Bluetooth Low Energy profile. Bluetooth LE is only meant to be used to send low-bandwidth data signals, like getting heart rate monitor readings from wearables, so Apple developed a more advanced version called Bluetooth Low Energy Audio (BLEA), which can stream high quality audio whilst preserving the LE profile's battery-extending properties. Apple has had BLEA in the works for some time, and the profile appeared in patents dating back to 2014, but this is the first time Apple has spoken about using the profile in an actual consumer product. Sarah Herrlinger, Apple's director of global accessibility policy, summarized the company's efforts with the following comments: While our devices have been built to support hearing aids for years, we found that the experience of people trying to make a phone call was not always a good one. So we brought together a lot of people in

Apple Partners With Cochlear to Launch First Made for iPhone Hearing Implant

Apple has partnered with hearing implants company Cochlear to launch the first made for iPhone Cochlear implant, which can stream audio from a compatible iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch directly to a surgically embedded sound processor (via TechCrunch). Cochlear implants are reserved for people with profound hearing loss that traditional hearing aids can't help to alleviate, and consist of both an internal and external component. Thanks to the Apple-approved certification, patients can control the Cochlear implant directly from their Apple device and not have to download and launch a separate iOS app. Users can navigate to their iPhone Settings app, click General, and then Accessibility, and find their the Cochlear hearing implant -- with a Nucleus 7 Sound Processor -- listed for them under "hearing devices." Image via TechCrunch “The approval of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is a turning point for people with hearing loss, opening the door for them to make phone calls, listen to music in high-quality stereo sound, watch videos and have FaceTime calls streamed directly to their Cochlear implant,” Cochlear CEO Chris Smith said in a statement. “This new sound processor builds on our long-standing commitment to help more people with hearing loss connect with others and live a full life.” After being paired, users can control the implant's volume using their iOS device's volume controls, and any audio can be sent into the implant including phone calls and music playback. In addition, the external component of the Nucleus 7 is said to have a longer battery while being smaller

Apple Celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness Day With Stevie Wonder Concert

Apple yesterday held a concert at One Infinite Loop in honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This morning, CEO Tim Cook tweeted out a thank you to Stevie Wonder, who performed at the concert. Thank you to the incomparable Stevie Wonder for lifting hearts and celebrating accessibility with us! #GAAD pic.twitter.com/WvePkgte5R— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 19, 2017 The event marked one of Apple's traditional "Beer Bash" celebrations, which in the past have seen performances by Maroon 5, One Republic, Darius Rucker, and more, usually coinciding with a major milestone like the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh. Apple has been highlighting the importance of accessibility features throughout the week, beginning with a large collection of "Designed for" promotional videos that it posted on YouTube on Tuesday. The clips showcased features like VoiceOver and Made for iPhone hearing aids, accompanied by personal stories of how Apple fans with disabilities use each feature. Signed, Sealed, Delivered pic.twitter.com/CI38dIU8Vj— James Craig (@cookiecrook) May 19, 2017 On Wednesday, Tim Cook then sat down with three accessibility activists to discuss the company's accessibility features across its range of devices. Last October, Apple published an all-new accessibility website that brings all of these features to the forefront as a way to explain and celebrate how the company has built unique accessibility features into iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook Talks Accessibility With Three Accessibility Activists

In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which takes place tomorrow, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with three YouTubers to discuss the Accessibility features built into Apple's iOS and Mac devices. Each of the three YouTubers, who met Cook at Apple's campus for coffee, have shared their conversations with the CEO on their respective YouTube channels. All three, including legally blind filmmaker James Rath, deaf advocate and vlogger Rikki Poynter, and actress Tatiana Lee, who was born with Spina Bifida, talked about the Apple products that they use in their daily lives. The three interviews can be watched below. During his meeting with Poynter, Cook explained Apple's stance on accessibility and why the company goes to great lengths to make sure its devices are available to everyone.Apple is founded on giving people power to create things, to do things that they couldn't do without those tools. And we've always viewed accessibility as a human right. And so just like human rights are for everyone, we want our products to be accessible for everyone. And so it's a basic core value of Apple. We don't make products for a particular group of people. We make products for everybody. We feel very strongly that everyone deserves an equal opportunity and equal access. So we don't look at this thing from a return on investment point of view -- I've been asked that before. The answer is no, I've never looked at that. We don't care about that.In addition to Cook's meetings, Apple also recently published a series of "Designed for" accessibility videos, highlighting the

Apple Highlights Accessibility Features in New 'Designed for' Video Series

Apple today updated its YouTube channel with a series of Accessibility videos, highlighting the different ways the Accessibility features built into the iPhone and iPad are used to help people accomplish a range of tasks. In one video, for example, a sight impaired singer and drummer named Carlos Vasquez shares how he uses features like VoiceOver to promote his band on social media sites. Carlos is the lead singer, drummer and PR manager for his metal band Distartica. Using VoiceOver, with Screen Curtain on iPhone, he can hail a ride, take a photo, and get the word out about his band's album release while keeping his screen entirely black.Another video features a middle school band teacher named Shane, who uses Made for iPhone hearing aids along with her iPhone to listen to her students perform. Shane is a middle school band and choir director who uses Made for iPhone hearing aids in her classroom so she can hear every note.There are a total of seven videos on Apple's YouTube channel, each of which features a unique, personalized story highlighting the myriad ways Accessibility features benefit iOS users. Back in October, Apple also published a new Accessibility website that demonstrates the extensive Accessibility options that Apple has built into its products and how those features are used to make Apple devices accessible to

ReSound LiNX 3D Hearing Aid and iOS App Connect Users to Their Audiologists for Remote Fine-Tuning

Danish hearing aid company GN Hearing today announced the newest iteration of its IoT hearing aid solution, called the ReSound LiNX 3D, as well as new apps for the iPhone and Apple Watch. The major update to GN's new hearing care solution is a way for users to get their hearing aids remotely fine-tuned by their audiologist after an initial fitting at their local clinic, through a cloud-based infrastructure called ReSound Smart Fit. The original ReSound LiNX allowed users to adjust their own settings on the fly, but now they can request assistance wherever they are directly from the mobile app, and their doctor can make all the adjustments necessary "to provide a better hearing experience for the user." ReSound LiNX 3D is the only device with complete remote fine-tuning capabilities that allows users to stay in touch with their hearing care professional wherever they are, receiving hearing care and getting new settings via the cloud without having to schedule and travel for a clinic appointment. The unique cloud integration enables hearing care professionals to stay connected with users no matter where they are. Users will be able to share feedback about any hearing difficulty as the situation occurs, rather than trying to remember how to describe it during an adjustment visit to the clinic. Hearing care professionals will have the freedom to offer follow-up services remotely – saving time for both hearing care professionals and users, and creating opportunities for even higher user satisfaction. The ReSound LiNX 3D includes GN Hearing's 5th generation 2.4 GHz

Apple Highlights Autism Acceptance Month Through App Store, Retail Field Trips

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and Apple plans to mark the occasion in several ways, including a dedicated section in the App Store and retail field trips. According to Steven Aquino, a journalist who covers accessibility topics, Apple will offer field trips to retail stores that will host music events designed to include children with disabilities. Kids will be able to participate in the events using the Skoogmusic Skoog 2.0 Tactile Musical Interface, one of the many accessibility-oriented accessories Apple sells in its online store. Skoog is a tactile cube that lets children with disabilities control sound through touch. Along with special Apple Store events, Apple has created an Autism Acceptance App Store section that includes dozens of important accessibility apps organized into sections like Apps for Every Day, Apps for Learning, Books, Podcasts, and iTunes U courses. Some of the apps included are Proloquo2Go, :prose, Keeble Accessible Keyboard, Assistive Express, TouchChat HD, RocketKeys, and more. Accessibility has always been hugely important to Apple, and the company has aimed to make its devices accessible for everyone, with in-depth accessibility settings to meet a range of needs. Back in October, Apple launched a new Accessibility website that highlights accessibility features across all of its

macOS Sierra Addresses Dropbox Security Concerns by Explicitly Asking for Accessibility User Permission

Following Dropbox-related security concerns that surfaced earlier this month, developer Phil Stokes has confirmed that macOS Sierra now explicitly requires apps to ask for user permission to access Accessibility (via Daring Fireball). Users can give access to an app, or click "not now" to deny the request. Concerns were raised after it was demonstrated that Dropbox appears in System Preferences > Security & Privacy under Accessibility, despite the fact that users were never prompted to grant access to the features. More details can be found in our previous coverage and in a Dropbox support document.Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Dropbox never does any evil on your computer. It remains the fact that the Dropbox process has that ability. And that means, if Dropbox itself has a bug in it, it’s possible an attacker could take control of your computer by hijacking flaws in Dropbox’s code. Of course, that’s entirely theoretical, but all security risks are until someone exploits them. The essence of good computer security and indeed the very reason why OSX has these kinds of safeguards in place to begin with is that apps should not have permissions greater than those that they need to do their job.At the time, Dropbox said it was working with Apple to reduce its dependence on elevated access in macOS Sierra, and would respect when people disable the app's Accessibility permissions, but now a much-needed safeguard exists regardless. In a new blog post, Dropbox still recommends that Mac users running macOS Sierra update their Accessibility permissions, if

Apple's Dedication to Accessibility Highlighted by Story of Blind Engineer

Mashable today shared the inspiring story of Jordyn Castor, the 22-year-old Apple engineer who has been blind since birth and now plays a central role in improving the company's Accessibility features. Castor was born 15 weeks early and weighed just under two pounds – small enough to be held in the palm of her grandfather's hand. She defied doctor's predictions and survived those first weeks, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Apple engineer Jordyn Castor works on Accessibility features for the blind (Image: Apple) A former college student at Michigan State University, tech-savvy Castor was introduced to Apple at a Minneapolis job fair in 2015, a gathering she attended nervously knowing that representatives of the Cupertino company would be there. Castor told Apple reps how amazed she was by the iPad she had received on her 17th birthday. "Everything just worked and was accessible just right out of the box," she said. "That was something I had never experienced before." Her passion made an immediate impression, and she was hired as an intern, with her work focusing on VoiceOver support. At the end of her internship, she won a position as an engineer on Apple's accessibility design and quality team. Castor has since been a driving force behind accessibility, in particular on Apple's Swift Playgrounds, an introduction-to-coding program geared toward kids. She's been working to make the program accessible to blind children, who have been waiting a long time for the tool, she told Mashable. "I would constantly get Facebook messages from so

Accessibility at WWDC: Dwell Control, Taptic Time, Software TTY, and More

Apple on Tuesday hosted a WWDC 2016 session called What's New in Accessibility that provided an overview of new assisitive technologies and features added to iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3. Physical and Motor Skills Switch Control can now be used to interact with the tvOS interface using a single physical button, such as a switch on a wheelchair. There is both a cursor interface that highlights elements on the screen and an alternative interface with an on-screen remote. Accessibility users that already use Switch Control with an iOS device or Mac can automatically use the function on tvOS without re-pairing a switch. Dwell Control is a new feature for macOS Sierra that enables users to control the cursor on Mac using assistive technologies and hardware like a headband with reflective dots or eye movements. When the cursor dwells on a certain location, a timer appears that expires and invokes a mouse click or other customizable actions. Vision Apple has made display and color adjustments and introduced the option to tint the entire display on Mac, Apple TV, and iOS devices, which can significantly increase contrast and reading ability. Taptic Time is a new VoiceOver feature on watchOS 3 that uses a series of distinct taps from the Taptic Engine to help someone tell time silently and discreetly. Magnifier is a new systemwide iOS 10 feature that enables users to use the camera to magnify objects in their physical environment. Various color filters, such as grayscale and inverted grayscale, are supported to increase contrast. Hearing