The moment I downloaded the new iPadOS 13 update, I immediately went to the accessibility section to see if anything new had been added- my favorite part of new software updates. I was beyond excited to find out that lots of new accessibility updates had been added to iPadOS 13, and today I will be sharing the new accessibility settings I’m enabling or disabling in iPadOS 13 as a user with low vision.
The dedicated accessibility menu
The first major change I am excited about is the new dedicated accessibility menu! Accessibility is no longer hidden in the general settings menu and is now listed between the “Home Screen & Dock” and the “Wallpaper” settings menus. From there, the accessibility menu looks similar to the way it did before, with settings divided by accessibility categories such as vision, physical and motor, hearing, and general accessibility settings.
- How To Make iPad Accessible for Low Vision
- How To Use VoiceOver For Beginners
- Ten iOS Shortcuts For Vision Impairment
Universal dark mode and light modes
My friend blew up my phone in the middle of class with their excitement over the new dedicated dark mode. They had previously been using Smart Invert for everything as they find it easier to read on a darker background with glaucoma, but now they can apply a universal dark theme to everything.
To apply a light mode/dark mode, go to the “Display & Brightness” menu and choose between a light or dark appearance. All apps will be switched to a dark theme when this is selected.
Magnifier isn’t new in iPadOS 13, but many of my friends have been noticing this feature for the first time in the Vision section. Magnifier allows users to use their device camera to magnify items around them, and can be activated by triple clicking the home button. New to iPadOS 13, users can choose different color filters as well as brightness/contrast settings, allowing their device to act as a portable video magnifier.
Do you love the idea of a screen reader but do not need one all the time? Spoken Content is a great way to allow for a screen reader to be activated as needed, either displaying as an option when highlighting text or by speaking the screen by swiping from the top with two fingers. I like that the voices and speech rate can also be customized, outside of the VoiceOver menu. It reminds me of the Select-to-speak setting on my Android.
Differentiate without color
Within the Display & Text Size section under the vision section, users can now choose to have information differentiated without relying solely on color. This is not just good design practice, but also a fantastic resource for people who do not have normal color vision.
Increase icon size
Did you know you can increase the size of icons on the home screen. I have the “Bigger” view enabled under the section “Home Screen & Dock”, and have discovered that it is much easier to locate apps this way.
Disable autoplay for iMessage and videos
I’ve asked my friends not to use iMessage effects because the sudden animations can sometimes give me vertigo. Autoplay for iMessage effects and videos can now be disabled under the motion section, which is amazing for people who may have adverse reactions to certain types of animations or lights.
In iPadOS 13.2, users can now add the brand new accessibility emoji to messages and social media. New emoji include guide dogs, blindness canes, wheelchairs, and many more. No need to download anything, these emoji are available in the emoji keyboard in the new update.
I love all of the new accessibility updates that are being added to iPadOS 13, and am still in the process of learning about some of the other new settings, including Voice Control. Until then, I highly recommend that other low vision users check out these new settings in iPadOS 13 and see which ones will work best for them.