I love my Apple TV and use it not just for entertainment purposes but also as a learning tool that allows me to subscribe to a number of podcasts in order to stay up to date with the world of technology. Apple TV includes two great accessibility/universal design features found under Settings > General > Accessibility:

  • VoiceOver: the same screen reader that ships with Macs and iOS devices (and the recently released Apple Watch) is included with the Apple TV to provide spoken menus for someone who is blind or has low vision. You can adjust the speaking rate of VoiceOver, or set it to use a pitch change to indicate when you are navigating within the same screen or moving away to a different screen.
  • Closed Captions: as on iOS and OS X, the captions can even be customized with either preset styles or by creating your won custom styles. You can customize the text (font, color, text size), background (color and opacity) and even add special text styles such as highlighting or a drop shadow.

An accessibility menu is available as a shortcut  for turning these features on and off without having to go back into Settings. Once you enable it in the accessibility settings, this accessibility shortcut involves holding down the Menu button on the Apple TV remote until the menu pops up on the screen with options for VoiceOver and Closed Captions (as well as the usual function which is to Return to the main menu).

In addition to the included remote with tactile buttons, Apple TV can be controlled with the free Remote app for iOS. This app supports the VoiceOver and Switch Control accessibility features for iOS. You can even have VoiceOver with Alex(male voice) on the iOS device and Samantha (female voice) on the Apple TV so you can tell them apart.

Here is a video from my YouTube channel that provides an overview of the accessibility options included with Apple tV:

2 thoughts on “New Video Tutorial: Accessibility Features of Apple TV

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