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Accessibility Matters

How To Use Assistive Access on IOS 17

As of IOS 17, there is a new accessibility feature called Assistive Access that changes the overall iPhone interface. This may be useful for those with demencha or other cognitive disabilities that could make using a standard mobile device difficult. It may also be useful for those who want a distraction free phone for a while. A number of built-in apps work with Assistive Access, meaning the interface will be different as opposed to when you use it outside of Assistive Access.

To enable this feature, head to Settings > Accessibility > Assistive Access. You will be guided through a setup process that asks you to add apps you would like to appear on the home screen, as well as the home screen layout. In addition, you will be asked to enter a passcode to access and leave Assistive Access. Once set up, you will be able to start Assistive Access, as well as change any settings.

What Will Change?

The main thing that changes is the interface of certain Apple apps. For instance, in the Photos app, when you select a video, it will automatically play it, meaning you don’t need to hunt down the play button. Another notable interface change is with the Music app. In Assistive Access settings, if you added the music app you would of been asked to select a few playlists. Upon entering the modified Music app, you are given your playlists, the songs you can play, and a large play button.

Yet another change I’d like to point out is the Camera app. When you add this app in Settings, you are asked which modes you would like to add. You can add the following features:

  • Photo: Gives you the ability to take a picture using the back facing camera.
  • Photo Selfie: Uses the front facing camera.
  • Video: Take a video with the back facing camera.
  • Video Selfie: Take a front facing video

In the modified Camera app, you can choose between the options you enabled, and from there take a photo or video. The best part about all this is within the modified Camera, there are no complicated controls that can make things difficult for the user.

If you add an app that cannot be modified in Assistive Access (such as a 3rd party app), they will work properly, however they will be scaled down to a smaller size to accommodate the back button located at the bottom of the screen. As a Voiceover user, I found this to be problematic. For instance, while I was running IOS 17 Public Beta, if I wanted to send feedback within Assistive Access, it was difficult to find the icons placed in the bottom toolbar.

In conclusion, Assistive Access is a useful feature. It can minimize the IOS interface to either help someone with certain disabilities. The feature is new, and one may find some issues, but overall it is really useful, especially if you need to minimize distractions for a while or prefer a simplified interface.






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