Accessibility FI

iOS 16: New Accessibility Features Benefit All

Apple prides itself on creating products that meet the needs of people with disabilities. This year in iOS 16, Apple has outdone itself. Many of the accessibility features released in iOS 16 have proven useful and have benefits for everyone. So let’s dive into some of these features.

Live Captions Beta in Accessibility

The new Live Captions feature is a significant update. It will help people with hearing difficulties and anyone who wants to view live captions on their iPhone during FaceTime calls or video calls on social media apps, streaming shows, and even teleconferencing apps.

To set this up:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Accessibility
  • Scroll and tap on Live Captions under Hearing

It’s possible to customize the font size, color, and background color for easier reading. You can even move the captions area and set its idle capacity.

Currently, Live Captions is available in the US and Canada for iPhone 11 and newer and iPad with A12 Bionic chip and newer. However, if you’re worried about privacy, Apple states that user information will remain private as Live Captions are generated directly on your device. So even when you take a screenshot, you can’t record them.

Siri Pause Time in Accessibility

This tool is perfect if Siri is constantly interrupting your flow. Siri sometimes becomes impatient and interrupts before we finish speaking. To change that, go to the:

  • Settings app
  • Tap Accessibility 
  • Select Siri under General

You can leave it set to Default, Longer, or Longest. Now Siri will give you some time before she interrupts.

Siri End Call

It hasn’t been possible to ask Siri to end a phone call or FaceTime call, but now you can do it by saying, “Hey Siri, hang up while speaking with someone. The problem is that the person you’re speaking with will hear you say the command, but it works great for ending a call hands-free. To enable this feature:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Siri and Search
  • Select Call Hang Up
  • Toggle on the switch

This feature is available on the iPhone 11 or newer. However, it’s also supported when using AirPods or Siri-enabled Beats headphones on an iPhone XS, Xs Max, and Xr.

Auto-Answer Calls Setup in Accessibility

The Auto-Answer feature is an excellent option for users with disabilities, but before iOS 16, there was one catch. It had to be turned on manually in Settings>Accessibility>Touch>Call Audio Routing>Auto Answer Calls. Now it’s as simple as saying, “Hey Siri,” turn on Auto Answer, or “Hey Siri,” turn off Auto Answer. It’s also available for WatchOS 9. The call will be answered in Speaker mode. As you can see your call will be answered automaticall after 3 seconds.

Earphone-Free Announce Notifications

With iOS 16 installed, your iPhone can read incoming messages and notifications. It works on the iPhone’s speaker and made for iPhone hearing aids. It’s essential for anyone who can’t pick up their iPhone to read the latest text or notification. To set this up:

  • Open Settings
  • Choose Siri and Search
  • Toggle on Announce Notifications

To customize which app notifications you want announced, tap the app under Announce Notifications From and customize it accordingly.

Now :

  • Tap Settings
  • Accessibility
  • Scroll and tap Siri under General
  • Toggle on Announce Notifications on Speaker

Before iOS 16, this could only be done when wearing compatible earphones. Now you can do it with your iPhone or iPad on the device’s speaker.

Detection Mode in Magnifier

If you have a newer iPhone, you’ll have a new Detection Mode menu that houses Door Detection, People detection, and Image Descriptions. 

If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad that supports door detection, you can only add Image Descriptions to your Controls.

Here’s how to use these features:

  • Open the Magnifier
  • Tap the Detection Mode icon
  • Select People, Doors, or Images

Now when you point your camera at something, it will show or read you detailed descriptions of what it sees. It may not always be accurate, but it should improve as Apple’s development continues.

Prevent Lock to End Call

Have you ever accidentally hung up on someone during a phone or FaceTime call because you clicked on the Side button, which locks the screen and unintentionally ends the call. This feature is for you. 

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Accessibility 
  • Select Touch
  • Toggle on Prevent Lock to End Call

Toggling this switch on will stop you from hanging up prematurely whenever your iPhone’s screen locks.

Control Nearby Devices in Accessibility

With iOS 16, you can control nearby devices signed into the same iCloud account. Go to:

  • Settings
  • Accessibility 
  • Tap Control Nearby Devices

All the devices you can control will be listed, and tapping one gives you several options.

For example, if I want to control my iPad running iOS 16 with my iPhone, I can open the Home Screen, App Switcher, Notification Center, Control Center, and Siri. If playing audio or video, I can play and pause, go to the previous or next track, and adjust the volume.


The latest accessibility features and updates will not only make a difference in the lives of many people with certain limitations, but they can serve as tools for many others looking to elevate their iPhone experience.

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