Android & iOS Apps

Apps for the Blind

Accessible mobile apps are applications, or specialized programs, downloaded onto mobile devices for smartphones and tablets, that have accessibility built in or may be built to be compatible with screen reading or screen magnification software that are built into or installed on the device. Many of the apps listed here include optical character recognition (OCR), object recognition, GPS and route finding, or text-to-speech features.

People with visual impairment may need to practice using their devices to add convenience to their daily activities.

Types of apps listed here

  • Built-in Accessibility of Devices

    • iOS

    • Android

  • Accessibility Apps

  • Scanner, Reader and Writer Apps

    • Reader, Scanner and OCR Apps

    • Audiobook / eBook Reading Apps

    • Writer, Notetaker, Brailler and Dictation Apps

  • Magnifier Apps

  • Navigation, Mobility and Orientation Apps

  • Office and School Apps

    • Meeting Apps

    • Talking Calculator Apps

    • Education Apps

  • Job Apps

  • Lifestyle Apps

    • Health Apps

    • Social Network Apps

    • Object Exploration and Recognition Apps

    • Daily Chores Apps

    • News Apps

    • Music, Games, and Entertainment Apps

    • Shopping Apps

    • Currency Reader Apps

iOS

If you are blind, you can communicate in a variety of ways with iOS features. For vision loss, you can use VoiceOver, an advanced screen reader, to get the most from your iOS device. And Siri® and Dictation help you type, launch apps, and read your calendar. Last but not least is Zoom, a built-in magnifier that works wherever you are in iOS, from Mail and Safari® to the Home and Lock Screens; Large Text, where you can increase the font size in your iOS apps up to 56 points; and Invert Colors, where a higher contrast can help you better see what’s on your display. Learn more about the built-in accessibility of iOS from:

Accessibility for iPhone and iPad

Accessibility — also referred to as inclusivity — is all about making the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad work for as wide a range of people as possible. That can include the very young, the very old, people brand new to computers and mobile devices, and also people with disabilities and special needs.

With iOS, Apple has added features to specifically help those with:

  • Visual impairments, including blindness, color blindness, and low vision;

  • Auditory impairments including deafness in one or both ears;

  • Physical or motor skill impairments, including limited coordination or range of motion

  • Learning challenges, including autism and dyslexia.

It also includes general features, like Siri and FaceTime which can provide significant value for the blind or the deaf. Many of these features can be found in Settings, all of them can be found on the iPhone and iPad. Here are links to instructions on various settings:

Source: Accessibility for iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide

Built-in Apps / Features

The following Apps and / or Features are built into an iOS to help accessibility. These are briefed on right:

  • Siri

  • VoiceOver

  • Speak Selection

  • FaceTime

  • Dictation

  • Zoom

  • Font Adjustment

  • Invert Colors and Grayscale

  • Braille Display

Further Reading:

Siri®


Siri®, an intelligent assistant by Apple®, helps you do the things you do every day. All you have to do is ask.


Say something like “Tell Jay I’m running late” or “Remind me to make reservations for Saturday.”


Siri® can send messages, place phone calls, schedule meetings, and even turn on and off VoiceOver, Guided Access® and Invert Colors.

Speak Selection


If you have a hard time reading the text on your iOS device, use Speak Selection to read your email, iMessages®, web pages, and books to you. Highlight text in any application, tap Speak, and Speak Selection reads the selected text aloud.



FaceTime

Connect with family and friends around the world with FaceTime. Make audio and video calls from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to other iOS devices or even a Mac.

Features

  • Reach contacts using their phone number or Apple ID.

  • Make both video and audio calls.

  • Enjoy Group FaceTime with up to 32 people at once.

  • Use effects to become an Animoji, place stickers, and much more right in your FaceTime call.

  • Use the front-facing FaceTime camera to show your face, or switch to the back camera to show your friends what you see.

  • Create Favorites for quick access to key people in the Phone app.

  • FaceTime calls are integrated into your recent calls list in the Phone app.

  • FaceTime works over Wi-Fi (iPhone 4 or later) and cellular (iPhone 4s or later).

iOS

VoiceOver


With VoiceOver—a gesture-based screen reader—you can use iPhone even if you can’t see the screen. VoiceOver gives audible descriptions of what’s on your screen—from battery level, to who’s calling, to which app your finger is on.


When you touch the screen or drag your finger over it, VoiceOver speaks the name of the item your finger is on, including icons and text. To interact with the item, such as a button or link, or to navigate to another item, use VoiceOver gestures.


Turn VoiceOver on or off


VoiceOver changes the gestures you use to control iPhone. When VoiceOver is on, you must use VoiceOver gestures to operate iPhone.


To turn VoiceOver on or off, use any of the following methods:



Learn and practice VoiceOver gestures

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver.

  • Turn on VoiceOver, tap VoiceOver Practice, then double-tap to start.

  • Practice the following gestures with 1, 2, 3, and 4 fingers:

  • Tap

  • Double-tap

  • Triple-tap

  • Swipe left, right, up, or down

  • When you finish practicing, tap Done, then double-tap to exit.


Further reading

Dictation - Speech to text


Dictation - Speech to text allows to dictate, record, translate and transcribe text instead of typing. It uses latest speech to text voice recognition technology and its main purpose is speech to text and translation for text messaging.


iOS

Zoom - Apple's Built-In Screen Magnifier

Zoom is a built-in magnifier that works wherever you are in iOS, from Mail and Safari® to the Home and Lock screens. And it works with all apps from the App Store®. A simple double-tap with three fingers instantly zooms in 200 percent, and you can adjust the magnification between 100 and 500 percent. While you’re zoomed in, you can still use all of the familiar gestures to navigate your device. And Zoom works with VoiceOver, so you can better see — and hear — what’s happening on your screen.

Font Adjustments


When you activate Larger Dynamic Type, the text inside Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, Notes, and even some third party apps, is converted to a larger, easier-to-read size. And you can choose bold text to make the text heavier across a range of built-in applications.

Invert Colors and Grayscale


If a higher contrast helps you better see what’s on your display, iOS lets you invert the colors onscreen. Once you set your colors, the settings apply systemwide, even to video, so you get the same view no matter what you’re seeing.

Braille Displays for iOS


iPad®, iPhone® (3GS or later), and iPod touch® (3rd generation or later) support more than 40 Bluetooth wireless braille displays right out of the box. Simply pair one and start using it to navigate your iOS device with VoiceOver — no additional software needed. In addition, iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® include braille tables for more than 25 languages. For more information on Braille Displays, please click here.

Android

From the start, we build with accessibility in mind. We work together to learn how we use devices, what obstacles we might face and what our days look like when we have disabilities. The end result isn’t just a new app or device. It’s a more inclusive way for everyone to experience the world. Learn more about the built-in accessibility of iOS from:

Accessibility for Android

Customize an Android device using accessibility settings and apps.

Use a screen reader

  • TalkBack: To interact with your device using touch and spoken feedback, you can turn on the TalkBack screen reader. TalkBack describes your actions and tells you about alerts and notifications.

  • TalkBack braille keyboard: You can use the TalkBack braille keyboard to enter 6-dot braille on your screen. Only Unified English Braille is currently supported.

  • Select to Speak: If you want spoken feedback only at certain times, you can turn on Select to Speak. Select items on your screen to hear them read or described aloud, or point the camera at something in the real world.

Change your display

Interaction controls

  • Lookout: Lookout uses computer vision to assist people who are blind or have low vision in gaining information about their surroundings.

  • Voice Access: Voice Access lets you control your device with spoken commands. Use your voice to open apps, navigate, and edit text hands-free.

  • Switch Access: Switch Access lets you interact with your Android device using one or more switches instead of the touchscreen. You can use a switch or keyboard to control your device.

  • Action Blocks: Action Blocks makes routine actions easier with customizable buttons on your Android home screen.

  • Time to take action (Accessibility timeout): You can choose how long to show messages that ask you to take action, but are visible only temporarily.

Use a braille display

BrailleBack: You can connect a refreshable braille display to your device via Bluetooth. BrailleBack works with TalkBack for a combined speech and braille experience, allowing you to edit text and interact with your device.

Audio & on-screen text

Captions: You can choose caption preferences (language, text, and style) for your device.

Live Caption: Live Caption automatically captions speech on your device.

Live Transcribe & Sound Notifications: You can use Live Transcribe to capture speech and sound and see them as text on your screen.