iOS 7.1 Accessibility Update

The great news this week is that Apple has released iOS 7.1 with a number of improvements as reported in this Macworld article.  A number of publications, including Macworld are reporting that the use of the camera as a switch is a new feature (actually, this feature was already included when iOS 7 was released in the fall).

AppleVis also has a really nice writeup aimed at blind and low vision users that includes a list of the different VoiceOver bugs that have been fixed in this update.

I thought I was the only one having issues with the camera  when I updated to iOS 7.0.6 recently. On my iPhone 5s the camera was no longer recognizing faces and announcing them with VoiceOver as it had done before.  Great to see that this is fixed in iOS 7.1 (which I was able to test and happy to report it works again the way I am used to).

As a quick summary, I did the following video that compares some of the features as they work on iOS 7.0.6 (on the left) and iOS 7.1 (on the right). Features discussed in the video include:

  • Reduce motion now works in more places, such as with the multi-tasking animation.
  • Bold text also now works in more places, including the keyboard. This is more noticeable when the dark keyboard is the one shown, as it is when doing a search with Spotlight. I too wish there was an option to always use the dark keyboard (as was the case in an earlier beta) but this is an improvement for those who need additional contrast with the keyboard.
  • Button shapes can be added to make them more perceptible.
  • Increase contrast now includes options for darkening the colors and reducing the white point.

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