Accessibility for iOS Developers

Accessibility on iOS

With built-in accessibility features, Accessibility APIs, and a host of developer tools and utilities, iOS provides an extraordinary opportunity to deliver a superior mobile experience to every customer, including those with special needs. Award-winning features include VoiceOver—the revolutionary screen reader for blind and low vision users, Switch Control, playback of closed captioned or audio described video, Guided Access, Text to Speech, and more.

Captioning and Audio Descriptions

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch support captioned or audio described videos across a range of apps. iOS 8 allows users to configure captions and audio descriptions, and apps to display either during video playback. Apps that use AVFoundation in iOS 8 have support for captioning and audio descriptions during playback through those APIs.

Display Customization

iOS supports a range of features to customize the display including Larger Dynamic Type, Bold Text, Button Shapes, Reduce Transparency, Darken Colors, and Reduce Motion. Using the Visual Accommodations API accommodates a range of low vision and other customer needs.


iOS devices can read selected text from your app out loud in over 30 languages, and you can adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate. The AVSpeechSynthesizer class produces synthesized speech from text on an iOS device, and provides methods for controlling or monitoring the progress of ongoing speech.


VoiceOver is a screen reader that interacts with objects in your apps so users can drive the interface even if they can’t see it. Ensure that the user interface elements in your apps are accessible and useful.

Guided Access

Guided Access helps people with autism or other attention and sensory challenges stay focused on the task at hand. A parent, teacher, or therapist can limit an iOS device to stay on one app by disabling the Home button, and even restrict touch input on certain areas of the screen. Implementing the Guided Access protocol in your apps allows you to specify which portions of your apps are functional depending on the user’s need. Caregivers will be able to easily control access to sensitive areas, like Settings or Help, that can make it hard for students to remain focused.

Development Resources