In their presentations, Apple often draw attention to how the company’s gadgets make life easier for people with visual, and hearing impairments, musculoskeletal disorders, and more. And indeed there are many such stories. This week before Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the company unveiled new Universal Access features that users will receive this year.

“Apple embeds accessibility into every aspect of our work, and we are committed to designing the best products and services for everyone. We’re excited to introduce these new features, which combine innovation and creativity from teams across Apple to give users more options to use our products in ways that best suit their needs and lives,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Accessibility Policy and Initiatives.

Yes, the iPhone will soon be able to help visually impaired people find the door to a new location. With the help of the leader, camera, and artificial intelligence, the smartphone will find the door and tell about its features (plates, cabinet number, special symbols, etc.), status (open/closed) and even give instructions on how to open it (push, turn the knob…). This feature will also appear on iPad models with a leader.

People with musculoskeletal disorders will be able to use the Apple Watch more conveniently thanks to the ability to duplicate the watch screen on the iPhone. Of course, with the ability to manage it. This will allow you to control Apple Watch features, such as voice commands, in any smartphone control option. Gestures will be added to the screen of the watch itself to quickly perform certain functions. For example, a double-pinch can answer a call, cancel a notification, take a photo, and more.

Hearing-impaired users will be able to use the Live Captions feature (subtitles in real time). They will be displayed during a FaceTime conversation, streaming of any content, browsing social networks, or live chat. The system will even support group calls, so the user will receive a transcript of the dialogue. All this will be processed exclusively on the user’s device, which allows you not to worry about privacy.

This year, Apple will significantly add to the Universal Access features: door recognition, duplication of the Apple Watch screen on the iPhone and more

VoiceOver for the visually impaired will support 20 new languages, including Ukrainian. Users will also be able to choose new voice options. And they will also add Text Checker on the Mac. It’s a tool for more accurate formatting of dictated text.  

Other features include:

  • Buddy Controller – the ability to control the game for one player with two controllers. In this way, a friend or caregiver of a person with a disability can help play games by splitting control in two;
  • Siri Pause Time will increase the waiting time of the voice assistant for the command;
  • Voice Control Spelling Modeis an option to enter characters when dictating, pronouncing them by letters (initially will work only in English);
  • Sound Recognition will help to recognize sounds that are specific to a particular environment, such as alarms, calls or sound indicators of devices;
  • Apple Books will add text customization options and new themes.