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Are you instead seeking Portable Device Accessibility Resources or Apple Device Resources?

Apple Resources

Support and resource websites

  • Accessible GPS Apps for iOS - a LiveBinder created by Chris Tabb, an Orientation and Mobility Consultant with TSBVI Outreach. Click the tab on the left hand side of the web site that says "Accessible GPS Apps for iOS."
  • Braille Institute’s mobile apps - including ViA app aggregator and Big Browser for the iPad
  • Mac-cessibility Network is a group of volunteers with visual impairments who provide news, commentary, podcasts, and other resources for Apple products.
  • MacForTheBlind - another support and resources site designed for users with visual impairments
  • Flying Blind, LLC provides a Tech Tidbits Newsletter that comes out every Thursday, and you can subscribe to it via their website.

Braille Display Resources 

Books and eBooks

  • iOS Access for All by Shelly Brisbin. Available as PDF or iBook. 
    • This guide is available directly from Shelly Brisbin, a long-time technology journalist, for $20.00. The guide is quite comprehensive, offers step-by-step instructions, and has screenshots of certain steps, which may benefit teachers. Updated for iOS 11. 
  • iOS 11 Without the Eye: the Definitive Guide to iOS 11 from a Blind Person’s Perspective, by Jonathan Mosen. Published by Mosen Consulting.  
    • This guide is available from Mosen Consulting for $19.95. It offers an update on what is available in the new iOS 11 for VoiceOver users. While not a comprehensive how-to manual, it provides detailed information on iOS features for users who are already familiar with using VoiceOver.
  • iOS in the Classroom by Larry L. Lewis, Jr. Published by AFB Press. 
    • I have yet to review this book, but according to the website: "iOS in the Classroom is a fully illustrated step-by-step guide to teaching the use of the iPad running iOS 9 to students with visual impairments."
  • iPad: Accessibility 2012 by Robert Miller and Miranda Anderson, Oklahoma School for the Blind.
    • Available as PDF. This manual is available free online and, although somewhat dated, is still relevant as far as learning gestures, navigating the web, and organizing apps using VoiceOver. In addition, it has several chapters on using braille displays with the iPad. 


Understanding VoiceOver for iOS

There are six primary actions required for basic mastery of VoiceOver for iOS.

  • Navigation (forward and back)
  • Activation (make a selection)
  • Page Turning (forward and back)
  • Rotor Navigation (forward and back)
  • Rotor Selection
  • Home

The Rotor is an element of VoiceOver that allows users to control a variety of navigational (movement through fields, documents, web pages) or behavioral (how the device works or presents information) functions. For example, selecting “Headings” using the rotor is a navigational function that allows a user to navigate a web page or document by headings. Selecting “Volume” using the rotor is a behavioral function that allows a user to increase or decrease the speech volume.

Key VoiceOver Commands for iOS


  • 1-finger Touch and Drag: VoiceOver focus follows finger
  • Swipe Right/Left: navigate one forward/back
  • 1-finger Double Tap: activate item that has focus
  • 3-finger Swipe Right/Left: page forward/back
  • 2-finger Twist Right/Left: select next/previous rotor item
  • 1-finger Swipe Up/Down: adjust value defined by rotor
  • Home Button: Go to home screen  (Press two times to access App Switcher)

New VoiceOver Gestures with the iPhone X

Braille Display

  • 4+Spacebar: navigate one forward
  • 1+Spacebar: navigate one backward
  • 3+6+Spacebar: activate item that has focus
  • 1+3+5+Spacebar: page forward
  • 2+4+6+Spacebar: page back
  • 5+6+Spacebar: select next rotor item
  • 2+3+Spacebar: select previous rotor item
  • 3/6+Spacebar: adjust value defined by rotor
  • 1+2+5+Spacebar: Go to home screen (Two times to access App Switcher)

Focus 40 Keys – some braille displays, like the Freedom Scientific Focus 40, have alternate keys that may be easier for some users to perform these actions.

Braille Display Resources

Bluetooth Keyboard

  • Ctrl + Alt/Option: VoiceOver (VO) keys
  • VO+R/L Arrow: navigate one forward/back
  • VO+Space: activate item that has focus
  • Option+Left/Right: page forward/back
  • Two-Finger Twist R/L: select next/previous rotor item
  • VO+Up/Down: adjust value defined by rotor
  • VO+H: Go to home screen  (Press H twice to access App Switcher)

QuickNav – QuickNav offers a simplified way to perform these actions, navigate apps and webpages, using only the arrow keys. Users can navigate webpages using single keys and navigate apps and webpages using the QuickNav rotor.