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iOS 8 Accessibility Improvements

iOS 8 – IMPROVEMENTS TO ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES

Hands holding iphone

With every new version of iOS comes additions, tweaks, changes, improvements and more. iOS 8 has been released recently for download for the iPhone and iPad and there have been a few changes to the accessibility features that can be found in the settings app.

Some of the enhancements to accessibility relevant to someone who is visually impaired or blind are:

  • Redesigned Zoom with one-handed control and multiple zoom modes including picture-in-picture
  • Speak Screen to read out contents of the screen via gesture or Siri command
  • Voice Over improvements including Alex voice option and Braille input support
  • Home Kit, a new way for you to control supported devices in your home using Siri
  • Cloud Kit, offering a complete and scalable back-end solution, helping developers eliminate the need for writing server code and maintaining servers

Furthermore, the iPhone GPS manual is being updated and new features are currently being tested in preparation for release.

Woman using iphone and ipad

How to upgrade?

To upgrade your phone to iOS8 make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi and you have backed your phone up to iCloud or your computer. Go to Settings > General > Software update, and tap ‘Download and install”. iOS8 takes approximately 15 minutes to download and install depending on your internet speed.

Note: you will need at least 4.6GB of storage available on your phone to download the upgrade, so you may need to delete photos, videos or music.

General Improvements and Changes

Messages improvements
•    Tap to Talk to send your voice, a video or a photo with just a swipe
•    Group messaging options to name a conversation, add a contact, remove a contact or leave a conversation
•    New details view with Do Not Disturb, location sharing and attachments view

Photos improvements
•    Smart editing tools to adjust light and colour with a swipe
•    Fine-tune controls to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more
•    Search by date, location or album name, or use smart suggestions
•    Smart albums for Slo-mo videos, Bursts, Panoramas and Time-lapse
•    Third-party photo filters and editing tools supported directly in Photos
•    Your photos and metadata from iPhoto will be migrated to Photos. Books, Journals and Slideshows will be converted to albums containing only photos. iPhoto for iOS is not supported on devices running iOS 8 or later.

Camera improvements
•    Time-lapse mode
•    Capture timer
•    Adjust exposure with a simple nudge to lighten or darken a photo prior to capture
•    Burst mode on front-facing camera on iPhone 5s
•    Panorama for iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display

QuickType keyboard
•    Predictive typing personalised to your writing style, and customised based on the recipient and the app
•    Predictive typing is available in English (Australia, Canada, UK, US), French (Canada, France, Switzerland), German (Germany, Switzerland), Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish and Thai
•    Third-party keyboard support

Health
•    New Health app with easy-to-read dashboard of health and fitness data
•    Ability to share health data with apps to provide a more comprehensive way to manage your health and fitness
•    Add a Medical ID with information about allergies, medical conditions and more, with the option to make this accessible from the Lock screen
•    Available on iPhone and iPod touch

Family Sharing
•    Share iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases with up to six members of your family.
•    Pay for family purchases with a single credit card and approve purchases by children with Ask to Buy
•    Easily share family photos, a family calendar, locations and more

iCloud Drive
•    Store all your documents in iCloud and access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC
•    Share the same file across multiple compatible apps
•    Edits you make on one device update on all your devices automatically

Continuity features so your iPhone, iPad and Mac work together more seamlessly
•    Handoff to continue what you’re doing as you move from one device to another
•    Make and receive calls and send and receive SMS or MMS messages on your iPad or Mac
•    Instant Hotspot to automatically use your mobile connection to get online with your other devices
•    Air Drop compatibility with OS X Yosemite
•    Available on iPhone 5 or later, iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad mini and iPod touch (5th generation)

Spotlight improvements
•    Displays suggestions from Wikipedia entries, places nearby, films (US only), popular web sites, App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store
•    Safari also supports Spotlight suggestions alongside Top Hit and search suggestions
•    Supported for local languages in US, UK, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland

Mail improvements
•    Easily jump between drafts and your inbox with a simple swipe down on the draft
•    Intelligent suggestions for Calendar events and Contacts
•    VIP threads

Siri improvements
•    Improvements to responsiveness, reliability and accuracy
•    “Hey, Siri” option to initiate Siri using just your voice when your device is plugged in
•    Streaming voice recognition
•    Works with Shazam to answer “What song is playing?”
•    Purchase content from iTunes Store

Safari improvements
•    Duck Duck Go search engine support
•    Private browsing per tab
•    Subscribe to RSS feeds in Shared Links
•    Use Camera to scan and enter credit card info

Maps improvements
•    Flyover city tours
•    Maps place cards in Phone and Contacts
•    Inline map view and travel time notifications for Calendar events

App Store improvements
•    New Explore tab for easier category browsing
•    Top trending searches displayed in Search tab
•    Scrolling search results
•    App video previews
•    Editors’ Choice badges

Accessibility features
•    Redesigned Zoom with one-handed control and multiple zoom modes including picture-in-picture
•    Built-in timer and Touch ID support for Guided Access
•    Speak Screen to read out contents of the screen via gesture or Siri command
•    VoiceOver improvements including Alex voice option and Braille input support
•    Multi-device support for MFi hearing aids to seamlessly switch from one paired iOS device to another
•    HealthKit, so health and fitness apps can share their data with each other
•    HomeKit, a new way for you to control supported devices in your home using Siri
•    Touch ID support so you can sign in to third-party apps with just your fingerprint
•    CloudKit, offering a complete and scalable back-end solution, helping developers eliminate the need for writing server code and maintaining servers