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Apple iOS 11.1: what Accessibility improvements are included?

Apple has released its latest update iOS 11.1 for iPhone and iPad and with it comes some improvements to its Accessibility features.

Apple iOS 11.1: what Accessibility improvements are included?

Whilst blind users and people with dyslexia will welcome several improvements to VoiceOver there is nothing new in this iOS 11.1 update for physically disabled users, which will disappoint some.

VoiceOver is a screen reader built into iOS. By using VoiceOver, users can access their iOS device based on spoken descriptions. The feature is designed to increase accessibility for blind and low-vision users, as well as users with dyslexia.

Here are the release notes detailing the Accessibility improvements that Apple provided for iOS 11.1:

  • Improves braille support for Grade 2 input
  • Improves VoiceOver access to multi-page PDFs
  • Improves VoiceOver rotor actions for announcing incoming notifications
  • Improves VoiceOver rotor actions menu when removing an app from the App Switcher
  • Fixes an issue for some users where alternative keys would not display when using VoiceOver with Touch Typing
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver rotor would always return to default action in Mail
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver rotor would not delete messages

Among the Accessibility features some physically disabled users are waiting for are improvements to auto answer released in iOS 11 in September. In particular, the ability to use Siri to toggle auto answer on and off by voice. Also, improvements to Apple’s conservative deployment of auto answer, including the ability to be able to screen calls either by restricting the answering of calls to either specific contacts, or a white list.

iOS 11.1 is the first major improvement to iOS 11 since some minor updates to iOS including 11.0.1, iOS 11.0.2 and iOS 11.0.3.

Elsewhere in iOS 11.1 Apple added over 70 new emoji and brought back the 3D multitasking gesture.

If you haven’t done so already you can get the latest software update from the Settings app on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Stay tuned to see if Apple introduces improvements to iOS for physically disabled users in the coming months.

Colin Hughes is a former BBC producer who campaigns for greater access and affordability of technology for disabled people

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