Apple announces new accessibility features: Door Detection, Apple Watch Mirroring, Live Captions
iOS 16 is the next big OS update from Apple that would come with the new iPhone 14 series in the fall of this year. That, however, doesn’t stop Apple from unveiling a set of cool accessibility features that will come with the update (via 9to5Mac). Check out the new accessibility features you will be able to enjoy in the fall on your iPhone (if it is in the iOS 16 supported iPhones list).
Apple previews a number of new accessibility features coming to iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch later this year
The company has shared a preview of some exciting new accessibility features that it will officially release later this year. According to Apple, these new features bring additional ways for users, including users with disabilities, to “navigate, connect, and get the most out of Apple products.”
Door detection and Apple Watch Mirroring are showcased here
Apple Watch Mirroring and Quick Actions
First off, if you have Apple Watch, you will be delighted to hear that there will be a new Apple Watch Mirroring feature. It is going to make the Apple Watch more accessible than ever for people who have physical and motor disabilities. But what exactly does this feature do? Well, Apple Watch Mirroring allows you to control your Apple Watch with iPhone’s features like Voice Control and Switch Control, to use inputs including voice commands, sound actions, or head tracking. On top of that, there is an external Made for iPhone switches that you can use as alternatives to tapping the Apple Watch display.
To make these wonders happen, Apple Watch Mirroring uses a hardware and software combo, including “advances built on AirPlay”. Thanks to this new feature, you can more easily access things like Blood Oxygen, Heart Rate, Mindfulness, and basically any other feature present on your Apple Watch.
Additionally, you can also enjoy new Quick Actions for Apple Watch. A double-pinch gesture will be able to answer or end a phone call, dismiss a notification, take a photo, play or pause media, and start, pause, or resume a workout.
This feature is based on the AssistiveTouch tech on Apple Watch. AssistiveTouch allows you to control Apple Watch with gestures like a pinch or a clench, without having to tap the display!
Another useful feature that will be coming with the new iOS is Door Detection. It pretty much detects doors, helping you locate a door at a new destination. It will allow you to know how far you are from a door and indicate whether the door is open or closed. And, on top of that, if the door happens to be closed, the feature will give you info on how it can be opened (whether it is a push door, whether you will need to turn a knob or pull a handle).
If this is exciting, how about that: Door Detection will be able to read signs and symbols around the door, such as room numbers or accessible entrance symbols. For those of you who are interested to know how this is possible, Apple explains that the feature uses a combination of LiDAR, the iPhone’s (or iPad’s) Camera, and machine learning. Awesome, if you ask us!
With the new update, Apple will also have Live Captions for the deaf and hard of hearing community. The feature captions audio content in real-time, and guess what – it includes FaceTime calls and any other social media or video app, media content, and even “having a conversation with someone next to them.”!
Other features coming in the fall
Apple has not stopped there, and it has announced some more cool features coming for accessibility in the fall. Those are:
- Voice Over – Apple’s screen reader for blind and low vision users gets support for more than 20 additional languages (including Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese).
- Buddy Controller – a feature that allows you to ask a care provider or a friend to help you play a game (two game controllers into one single player).
- Siri Pause Time – for users with speech disabilities, it allows you to adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request
- Voice Control Spelling Mode – you can dictate custom spellings using letter-by-letter input
- Sound Recognition – can be customized to recognize unique sounds specific to a person’s environement
- Apple Books – the app gets new themes and introduces customization such as bolding text and adjusting line, character, and word spacing.