Apple's new promo video shows off the great accessibility tools on iOS

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Apple's new promo video shows off the great accessibility tools on iOS
Apple's latest ad for the iPhone shows how the accessibility features on the device help those who are disabled use the handset to help them do things that they might otherwise find impossible to do. A woman without arms uses Siri Shortcuts to "set her morning scene" which includes having Siri read her the current weather conditions and forecast for the day while also raising the blinds. We then see a paraplegic use voice control to open the Weather app and to have his iPhone swipe left.

The Accessibility app on the iPhone helps those with disabilities make it through each day


As "I Am the Greatest" (with Marliya Choir) by Spinifex Gum plays in the background, the woman we saw at the start of the video is using her feet and toes to scroll the screen on her iPhone and tap on the buttons. Using AssistiveTouch on the iPhone, a single tap on the screen (or the equivalent of a tap on an accessory) allows the user to:

  • Open the AssistiveTouch menu
  • Go to the Home Screen
  • Double-tap
  • Perform multi-finger gestures
  • Perform scroll gestures
  • Activate Siri
  • Access Control Center, notifications, the Lock Screen, or the App Switcher
  • Adjust the volume on iPhone
  • Shake iPhone
  • Take a screenshot
  • Use 3D Touch (on supported iPhone models)
  • Use Apple Pay
  • Use Emergency SOS
  • Speak screen
  • Adjust dwell settings
  • Restart iPhone

You can learn how to set AssistiveTouch by tapping on this link which will take you to Apple's support page.


With VoiceOver, the feature that gives an audible description of what is on the screen, blind jazz pianist Matthew Whitaker can use his iPhone to find his red jacket. Opening the Magnifier app will allow your iPhone to let you know when there is a door in your path. The feature will "help you understand how far you are from a door, how to open the door and get a description of the door’s attributes. When doors are detected nearby, you’re notified with sounds, speech, or haptic feedback. The feedback becomes more frequent as you get closer to a door."

Sound Recognition could save the life of a hearing-impaired iPhone user


In the video, we see Whitaker use the feature to open the stage door so that he can perform on the stage in front of an audience. If you're hard of hearing, important noises can be brought to your attention on the iPhone and Apple Watch. In the ad, a baby's cries are muted to show those who can hear and are watching it, understand the importance of the Sound Recognition feature. On the parent's Apple Watch we see a notification that says "Baby Crying" which also says, "A sound has been recognized that may be a baby crying."

Those who are deaf can be alerted via vibration to the notification and take action. Other sounds that are picked up by Sound Recognition include a doorbell and a siren. To set up this feature, follow these directions:

Go to Settings > Accessibility > Sound Recognition, then turn on Sound Recognition.
Tap on Sounds, then turn on the sounds you want iPhone to recognize.
Tip: To quickly turn Sound Recognition on or off, use the Control Center.

For directions on how to customize an alarm, appliance, or doorbell for Sound Recognition, tap this link to visit the appropriate support page.

The ad shows you that with the iPhone to help, even serious disabilities can be overcome. And while the video does run for over two minutes, you can expect Apple to edit it to fit 30-second and 60-second slots. The company has made ads before that that leave you with goose pimples. For example, "The Crazy Ones" will leave you with a lump in your throat (especially the version narrated by Steve Jobs) when the late Apple co-founder reads the final line: "Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

The new spot, which Apple named "The Greatest," should be considered among Apple's best. It is a testament to the "can-do" nature of the human spirit which could also be said about "The Crazy Ones."
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