Sunday, 16 March 2014

Trial HTML Version of iSee

iSee - Getting the Most out of Your Apple Product’s from a Blind Person’s Perspective

By David Woodbridge

First Edition 2013

Table Of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Apple’s Accessible Product Lines

Chapter 3: Mac Accessibility Overview

Chapter 4: Getting Started with your Mac using VoiceOver

Chapter 5: Mac/VoiceOver Keyboard Commands and Gestures

Chapter 6: Shared Built-in Mac and iOS Apps

Chapter 7: My Favourite Mac App Store Apps

Chapter 8: My Favourite 3rd Party Mac apps

Chapter 9: Accessibility iOS Overview

Chapter 10: Getting Started with your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad using VoiceOver

Chapter 11: iOS/VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands and Gestures

Chapter 12: What iOS device is best?

Chapter 13: My Favourite iOS Apps

Chapter 14: Hardware Bits and Pieces that I have found Useful

Chapter 15: Switching from Microsoft Windows to OS X

Chapter 16: Resources

Chapter 17: Bringing It All Together: My Family and Apple

Back to top of Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

This book came about as I have been writing about Apple Accessibility since 2009, and I have ended up with a collection of articles spanning the Apple product line in relation to accessibility, and of course all my audio demos.

Recently I thought, why not update these articles, and put them in to a book to share my tips with others, and to make a place where I, and others, can go to find out tips on getting the most out of their Apple devices.

But I guess the biggest reason for me doing this, is that it just works for me out of the box for speech output, and using and maintaining all of these devices for me and my family is only possible because it is accessible.

So, its also a way of saying thanks to Apple for having this commitment to accessibility for all.

So here it is, and I hope you get some useful information out of reading this book.

A Little Bit About Me.

The following bio is what I give to anyone who asks, so please forgive the third person narrative:

David Woodbridge is a Senior Adaptive Technology Consultant at Vision Australia where he has worked since 1990. Over this time he has assisted people who are blind or vision impaired in their home, education, and work settings to take advantage of the benefits of using assistive technology.

In the last five years, he has also been involved with evaluating technology for use by people who are blind or vision impaired covering both low and high tech equipment (covering Microsoft, Google, Nokia, and Apple). David is also one of the key spoke persons for Vision Australia relating to technology.

David has been using the Apple platform since 2008 evaluating it for low vision and blind users covering desktop, mobile, apps/software, hardware, and the Apple TV.

He has been an Apple Ambassador for Apple Australia since 2009 with a group of other Ambassadors/Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE’S) covering the range of Apple’s Accessibility solutions throughout Australia.

David has been involved with the beta testing of OS X with Apple US for Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8), and Mavericks (10.9).

He regularly feeds back to accessibility@apple.com accessibility related issues across all of Apple’s product line, in particular, VoiceOver on Apple’s mobile platform (iOS) since it first supported accessibility with the iPhone 3GS in 2009.

David produces a range of podcasts covering Apple and other technologies which are distributed on his own iSee podcastVision Australia AT Podcasts pageApplevis podcasts, and heard on the ACB (American Council for the Blind) Main Menu Technology show. In addition, David is also one of the editors on the http://www.applevis.com website.

He has a regular Talking Tech program which can be heard every Tuesday at 4:30 Eastern Summer Time on Vision Australia Radio Melbourne, and stories supporting the program can be accessed on his own blog at iSee - David Woodbridge Technology Blog.

He has also spoken on various radio stations concerning technology for blind or low vision including 2GB in Sydney, 2RPH in Sydney and 4RPH in Adelaide, and ABC Radio in Queensland.

David has presented at various conferences (including Spectronics in 2010 and 2012), conducted training workshops on the use of Apple Technologies (including Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind Learning about Apple Accessibility 2011, and the use of iPads with speech/Braille Tasmania 2013), and has been written up in a number of articles including “Putting the eye back in i Devices” in November 2012 which was listed on Apple’s Hot News. At the Spectronics conference in 2010, David presented an unofficial launch of the iPad when it was first available in Australia.

David lost his sight when he was 8 years old and had to learn Braille. Since then, he completed high school, went to Sydney University receiving a Social Work degree, spent 4 years drug and alcohol counselling, and move into his current job.

As a person who is blind, David believes that as a user of the technology that he recommends to others, that he is well situated to look at the strengths and short comings of the assistive technology that he comes across in both his professional and personal life, in particularly, mainstream technology that is accessible.

Connect Follow me on Twitter: @dwoodbridge I post about articles of interest in relation to Apple and other assistive technologies.

Subscribe to my Apple and Other Technologies podcast at: or via iTunes

Subscribe or access my blog at:.

Email me at: davidw9@me.com

Check out this news article on my use of Apple technology:

My Trip Through Time With Adaptive Technology

This section outlines my personal experience with adaptive technology from when my sight deteriorated so that I had to start learning Braille and was at Boarding school at the Institute for Deaf and Blind Children North Rocks (RIDBC) 1972–1978, mainstreamed into Northmead High School 1979–1981, onto Sydney University to do a Bachelor of Social Work 1982–1985, my first of two jobs as a telephone drug and Alcohol Counsellor at ST Vincents Hospital Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) 1986–1990, complete loss of sight in 1988, and my current job at then the Royal Blind Society (RBS) of NSW (now Vision Australia) from 1990–2013.

The chapter is divided up in to the above time zones with boarding school and high school, University, My first job as a drug and Alcohol Counsellor, my second and current job as a technology consultant, and conclusion.

Its all focussed on my trip through time with assistive technology. So no mention of the rest of my life in regard to personal details.

Some of the software and devices I talk about may not have arrived on the scene exactly in the year that I remember, so apologies in advance for this.

BOARDING SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL

In 1972, my eyesight deteriorated to the point that I was no longer able to see the board in class, despite glasses. The decision was made to send me to boarding school at the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. During my time at boarding school at North Rocks in Sydney, and moving onto high school at Northmead High School in Sydney, I was introduced to a number of different types of technology, some of which I never thought I’d use when I got older.

The first thing I had to learn to use when I started at the school at North Rocks was the Perkins Brailler. This was and still is a manual Braille writer. All my classroom work was done on the Perkins and lucky enough my teacher could sight read Braille. All the books I had to read for school were also in Braille.

I can remember in my second year, that I had to learn to touch type on a manual typewriter and asking my teacher, “What was the use of using the typewriter when I couldn’t see what I was typing?” I can’t remember her response now, but I’m certainly glad that I stuck with it. The odd thing is that once I learnt to touch type at North Rocks, I didn’t use this skill again until my third year at university.

For recreational reading, the boarding house had a number of Mark IV talking book players. These were something like a rather large wooden box with a speaker, on top of which you put this big metal 16 track cassette tape, and listened to the talking book. A bit clunky (but it worked), but I started to ask why can’t I read directly what everybody else reads? Every time I’d hear the date when the talking book was recorded which seemed to be a long time in the past to my young self, I felt sad, that apparently being blind I always had to get things that were old and out of date.

There was also this amazing electronic games console which for the life of me I can’t remember the name of and which would be fantastic for children who are blind today. It was a rectangular box. On the top in the middle you had a numeric keypad exactly the same as our telephone keypads today. On each side of this keypad there were a few more buttons. On the left and right edge you had a (for the want of a better word) paddles that you could push forward or back in a track. There were about ten games that you could play on this console, but I can only remember a few now.

The games that stick in my memory was Tennis where wearing headphones, you heard the ball represented by an increasing or descending tone, and with the Paddle you had to match the tone of the paddle to that of the ball: of course, once the tones matched you got a point. The other game was Pigeon Shooting where a voice would say a sequence of numbers and you had to press the last number in the sequence (like 1, 5, 9 or 4, 5, 6), and when you got it right you’d hear the gun go off. Just writing about this device, reminds me how much I loved playing that thing. Perhaps readers of this will know the name and share back to me.

The other two items that have stuck in my mind about my time at the boarding school was firstly the size of the encyclopaedia in the library, Braille volumes of which filled an entire wall. I’m probably exaggerating a bit, but I think there were over 100 volumes. Secondly, the Little Oxford Concise dictionary in Braille was 16 volumes, hated to have seen what the full version would have been: probably a small forest.

In 1978 I was shown the Sonic Glass’s which was an electronic travel aid based on ultra sound waves like some devices today such as the Mini Guide. While listening to the sound coming back to the glasses through little ear plugs, you could detect the distance of an object and get to know the composition of that object. I remember thinking that a glass window sounded very different to a brick wall. At the time I felt that having something constantly making noise in my ears would distract me from using my primary mobility aid, which was the white cane. Nevertheless, another neat bit of technology and I was pleased that people had thought to show it to me.

When I went to Northmead High School, I still had my trusty Perkins Brailler. Unfortunately for me, the teachers at the school could not read Braille (sight or otherwise). When I completed my classroom/homework, tests etc, I had to give the work to my Itinerant Support Teacher who would write over the Braille in print thereby allowing the classroom teacher to read and mark my work. I always felt somewhat frustrated that I never got my comments from the teacher at the same time as all the other students. Of course, all my textbooks were also in Braille and fairly cumbersome to cart around. As all my textbooks were done for the year, any additional reading was out of the question.

From about year 10 onwards at school, I wanted two things very much: to read print directly, and be able to give my work to people directly and get feedback straightaway, as everyone else did.

My first wish sort of came true in late year 10 when I was introduced to the Optacon at the Royal Blind Society at Enfield. Funny enough it wasn’t my school work which prompted this opportunity, but my wish to become a better sail boat crew person, and hence read books on sailing.

The Optican was a device which through a camera tracks along a line of print, brings up the shape of the characters on a set of vibrating reeds which through touch; you read. I found learning the system quite challenging and a bit frustrating as I had forgotten to some extent the shape of the print letters and punctuation. Also by this time I was quite happily using Grade II (contracted) Braille and trying to work out what a word such as ‘one” was supposed to be was a pain. For those of you that don’t know, in Braille one is dot 5 and the letter o. Oddly, when I went from print to Braille, and then Braille to typing on a typewriter, I can still remember the male teacher at the time calling me an idiot because I couldn’t spell the word “one”.

When I was sixteen in 1980, I went to the Royal Blind Society (now known as Vision Australia) for one of those overall assessments that tries to determine your strengths and skills and from this works out what path you are most likely to take. My most likely path appeared to be working back on the farm doing farm things. Only problem was, my parents didn’t have a farm, I’d never been on a farm and I certainly didn’t want to do any “farm things”. I knew what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t anything to do with getting closer to nature. However, every time I brought up the thing I wanted to do (computer science), I was met with caring but negative comments. So I learnt to keep my mouth shut about my dream and wait: one day.

When I was finishing up the High School Certificate (HSC) in 1981 and looking at what to do at University, I made the mistake, yet again, of opening my mouth and telling my dream with exactly the same results I had met previously. As a consequence I did Social Work rather than Computer Science.

Just goes to show you can’t thoroughly destroy a dream if it’s powerful enough as I am now living my dream not so much as a computer scientist but as a technologist, which in my book is pretty good thank you very much.

Looking back to 1981, I’m not sure if the technology then would have been able to support me in doing computer science with respect to accessing the computer systems. But a little part of me still feels like I should have at least been given it a go. However, when you’re only 17 and getting told by people who have your best interests at heart, it’s hard to argue. As someone once said (or maybe I’ve just made it up), “Sometimes it’s not the things that happen along the way that are important, but the fact you got there in the end”.

UNIVERSITY

By the time I got to university (1982), my eye sight had deteriorated to the point of complete blindness. I could only determine the difference between light and dark.

I commenced my four year stint at Sydney University in 1982 still holding my trusty Perkins Brailler (now 10 years old).

As I couldn’t really use the Perkins in lectures due to the noise of the Brailler, I used a four track cassette tape recorder to record all my lectures and tutorials. I then would scuttle back to the library to translate what was on the tape into Braille on the Perkins: a very time consuming process. My life seemed to be in these early years at Uni split between going to lectures/tutorials, and spending time in the library transcribing.

One good thing at least, all my textbooks were on cassette tapes which I stored where I lived in cassette draws. These tapes came from Student Services of the Royal Blind Society and I would have not been able to study if not for this service. Of course, I didn’t use this service for additional reading. For this I had several volunteer personal readers who used to spend quite a lot of time with me in the library reading documents out to me whilst I took notes and recorded the sessions.

The first of two fairly major technology related events that occurred in my third year at Uni was to commence a 1 year computer science course at Macquarie University specifically designed for the blind or low vision ran by Professor Ron Atchison. Myself and 4 other blind and low vision course participants attended lectures and computer labs on a weekly basis throughout the year.
Professor Atchison’s wife assisted me in the labs to learn computer programming and she was a tremendous help in assisting me to complete the course. At the end of the year I was the only one standing as it were, and earned myself an A+ on course completion. I did feel like jumping in to the mythical TARDIS, going back in time, and waving my result in front of those folks that said it couldn’t be done and I didn’t have the aptitude for it. To this day, I really appreciate the time that Professor Atchinson and his wife put into making my dream become a reality. I think the computer I used back then was an Apricot computer with an external Voctrax external serial synthesiser. I remember that every time I turned the synthesiser on it said “error 7” which I never found out what it meant. If anyone knows, let me know. Whilst doing the course, I had the opportunity to use an IBM electronic golf typewriter that Professor Atchison had developed with speech output. The way I seem to remember it working was that you could correct any word on the line you were typing through speech feedback and then press the enter key to type out your line to the paper. Pretty exciting stuff at the time till I arrived at the second significant event for the 1984 calendar year.

My second significant event came when I purchased my first computer. An Apple IIe with 64K RAM, duo 128K floppy disk drives, a 9 pin dot matrix printer, and a very high speed modem racing along at 300BPS. I have no idea what the screen was, but I guess a black and white 12inch monitor which you could running in either 80 or 40 columns. To make it talk, the Apple was purchased with an Echo II synthesiser with TexTalker and a number of talking programs. My first talking program was Word Talk which was a talking word processor with no spell check. To spell my documents, I had to run a separate talking program which I purchased soon after called Sensible Speller. In those ,days you could only run one program at a time hence the jumping between Word Talk and Sensible Speller.

Armed with my accessible computer, I was now able to keep my notes on floppy, and write up my assignments and print them out to hand in. Unfortunately my first attempt at doing this sort of failed because when I handed the lecturer my print out, it was his unfortunate task to tell me that the pages were blank: the ink had run out. I remember him saying that this was probably the best excuse he had heard about not handing in an essay on time.

After I settled down with the computer, I got the “I want access to information” bug. My world had just opened up, and the days of accessing out of date content were potentially over. So I spent a weekend transferring from Braille and typing into the Apple IIe the Australia Post Code book: very odd: but I could look up any post code I wanted in a couple of seconds and do it electronically. I know it was already in Braille, but there you are: no comment.

One of my practicals in third year uni was at a welfare agency where their referral database was on print cards and somewhat out of date. I set my task to update their referral information and give them a nice new shiny referral book. With the assistance of Word Talk I did indeed accomplish this task. When I think back and the limitations of the Word Talk program compared to what I use now, I still can’t quite believe that I managed to produce a professional layout referral book for the agency.

With the Apple IIe, I also got a modem. My time on the modem was mainly spent ringing up Bulletin Boards (BBS) and sending and receiving email. The only thing I liked about the modem was that when the phone rang, the ring tone of the phone attached to the modem sounded like a cute little cricket.

Oddly now in 2013, I can run the Apple IIe with the Echo II synthesiser in an emulator on my Mac Air with lots of talking programs: bit of a trip back in time. But no cricket.

The rest of the time at uni past fairly uneventfully and most things were covered with the use of cassette tape textbooks, personal readers, tape recorder, Perkins Brailler, and of course the Apple IIe. When I finished uni I sold off all my storage cassette cabinets which I think from memory could hold about 2000 tapes.

By the end of uni, I no longer had light perception, I was now completely blind, all I now see is grey. I think’s it grey, I can’t really remember what colours look like anymore.

MY FIRST JOB AS A DRUG AND ALCOHOL COUNSELLOR

Yes, I still had the Perkins Brailler (now 13 years old), the tape recorder, and the Apple IIe, and these were extremely useful in doing my job.

The way I initially got access to the Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADSI) computer database was not through the use of the Apple, but through some clever programming from Phillip (sorry can’t remember his last name) from the Garvin Institute next door, and the use of the DECTalk Classic synthesiser. This thing was quite large, 60CM, by 30CM, by 15CM. The dumb terminals that ADIS used which comprised of a keyboard and a monitor linked via serial to the mini PDP11 computer upstairs were patched into the DECTalk Classic. Phil then wrote some software that allowed me to review from line 1 to 24 each line on the screen and repeat each line if required. I soon got to memorise what line specific information was on in a database record. For example, line 5 was the telephone number of the agency I was using. I can’t quite remember how I did my database searching, but somehow it all worked. Of course I couldn’t review each line by word or character, but it gave me access, which at that time was all that counted.

I remember ringing up the Royal Blind Society and asking if there was any other way of me getting access to the information in the database. The answer came back no. This inspired me to then think outside of the square and change the No to a Yes. I approached the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Centre (CRS) to see if I could get my hands on some equipment which may assist me in getting what I wanted to achieve.

CRS purchased two products for me; The first of these was another Apple IIe which I used in quite an unexpected way to gain proper access to the work database. I went out and purchased another talking program called Proterm which was a telecommunication program. I then setup Proterm to capture any data coming in through the serial port and save it onto a floppy. Luckily by this time the size of floppy’s I was using were I think about 800K capacity. I then instructed the PDP11 to think of my Apple as a printer and print out (or dump) the entire database to my system. After this was done, it was just a quick job of loading the document into my Word Processor. I used the find function to find records in the database file. As this wasn’t live data, I had to update my copy of the database at least once a week to make sure I had all current changes. Of course being a young smarty pants, I couldn’t resist ringing the RBS back and telling them that I had solved the problem thank you very much.

I also used the Apple IIe to print out my stat sheets for the day and any other information that my manager required.

The second bit of equipment that was very useful at the work place was the Braille to print device which attached to my Perkins Brailler. This device attached to the bottom of the Perkins once the bottom cover of the Perkins was removed. As keys were depressed on the Perkins, this would cause springs to be pushed down, and with the aid of a bit of electronics, produce print characters which would then be sent off to a 9 pin dot matrix printer. The upshot of this was that anything I brailled on the Perkins I could have a print copy of to give to other people to read: this was extremely useful in the work place.

One other little device which snuck into my ever increasing pile of assistive technology was a light probe. This device sounds a tone when a light source is detected. I used this useful little device to find out which line was in use or which line was ringing on my telephone. Before this, I just had to hit one of the 4 telephone line buttons until I got the line that was ringing: very hit and miss and not very efficient. Oddly enough, I now have a Light Detector app on my iPhone these days.

So between the Apple IIe, the DECTalk classic, the Braille to Print, and the light probe, I had all my job tasks covered.

I think it was at about this time that I began putting the pedal to the metal in moving towards becoming a technologist for adaptive technology for the blind or low vision. It was in 1990 that I was asked to apply for the job of Technology Resource Officer at the Royal Blind Society. This could have been to stop me calling and bugging them.

My second job - RBS and now Vision Australia as a technology consultant

Once I left ADIS (1990), the Apple IIe’s got consigned to the big computer room in the sky. There wasn’t much need for the Braille & Print, the DECTalk Classic or the light probe at RBS: but the Perkins still came in handy as a backup (now 17 years old).

I commenced at RBS in June 1990 as a Technology Resource Officer. This job was to assess, recommend, install, and give basic support to clients of RBS across the areas of home, education, and employment. I was finally in my dream job.

In order to do the job, it was necessary for us to evaluate or should I say “play” with the adaptive technology and relevant PC hardware, software, and peripherals at the time to best fit our client needs. This is also true today. To enable me to carry out the job when I first started, I had a Toshiba modified laptop called the PC Plus which was basically RAM and a 3.5 720KB floppy disk drive running a talking program called Keysoft which contained built-in applications such as a Word Processor, Calculator, File Manager , etc.

I also had a Braille & Speak which was a little note taker with a Braille input keyboard with speech output with text files that you created to store all your information in. This was a very quick and easy device to use. If I still had it today, I would keep using it as it was just quick: turn it on, input a note, and turn it off (no mucking around).

My need for a laptop and note taker to enable me to do my job hasn’t changed to this date. From 1990, the laptops became more powerful and moved away from MSDOS and up the Microsoft Windows tree. I now use both a Mac and a Windows laptop at work, with most of my research, podcasting, social media etc being done on the Mac (including writing this Multi-Touch smile).

I have only been through 4 note takers counting the Braille & Speak. The second was the Braille Lite which was a Braille & Speak with a 40 cell refreshable Braille display which I only stopped using in 2003. Thirdly the Pac mate with a 40 cell refreshable Braille display (2004) based on Windows Mobile and a screen reader which I stopped using in 2009 replaced by the iPhone 3Gs and later the iPad in 2010 (updated versions of which I am still using today as one of my main note taking devices). Although this year at the time of writing (2013) I have now a Braille Sense U2 which I use as a notetaker and a Braille display to my iOS devices and Macs.

I should mention at this time, the Perkins Brailler was sadly laid to rest. After 20 years of loyal service, I donated the little fella back to the Royal Blind Society, to hopefully gain a second life with another young hopeful.

I had my first talking Nokia phone in 2002, with a number of different Nokia hand sets up to 2009, at which time, Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS with VoiceOver, and my Nokia phone stopped being used. Up until the talking Nokia, land lines were my main communication, the normal keypad phones, and before that the dreaded rotary style telephones. With the rotary I had to count the holes manually to know what number I was dialling, this used to take a very long time to make a call.

I remember in the week I started at the RBS playing with the Macintosh SE running System 6.07 with OutSpoken which was a screen reader for the Mac developed by Berkley Systems in the US. Amazingly it actually used the sound chip in the Mac itself for its synthesiser unlike IBM compatible screen readers at the time. It was actually a great experience to use a Graphics User Interface (GUI) with a screen reader which I didn’t get to do with Microsoft Windows 3.1 until several years later.

I actually purchased my own Macintosh LC 520 a few years later in 1993 for home, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I purchased my next Mac (iMac) and subsequently Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air.

In 1993, work purchased a Macintosh LC475, 1996, a Power PC, and a PowerBook 1998. I seem to remember that these Macs were mainly used to demonstrate to low vision folks, either CloseView (which came with the OS) or InLarge from Berkley Systems. 2000 to 2005 was quiet on the Mac side of things. I believe Outspoken stopped being developed with System 9, and it wasn’t until Apple itself with OS X 10.4 (Tiger) introduced VoiceOver to allow blind or low vision folks again access to the OS which I started using again in 2005.
To support the help desk function at Vision Australia in assisting people using the Mac (which could now include screen reader users), the Mac mini was purchased. I’d have to say that the years between 2005 and 2009 were a bit thin on the ground (yes again) as far as the up take of the Mac was concerned amongst the blind or low vision community.

It wasn’t until 2009 when I was asked by Apple Australia to join a group of similarly minded folks in evaluating, supporting, and training in the use of Apple products, that my interest got captured by what Apple was doing in the Accessibility space, and I am still enthusiastic about Apple’s commitment 5 years later.

Also in 2009, Vision Australia obtained 10 Mac minis to support the technology trainers in various offices, and then later on, quite a number of iPhones, iPods, iPads, and iPad mini. Of course, the uptake of the various iOS devices (iPhone, iPod touch or iPad) has been tremendous. In the last couple of years, interest in the Mac has very much increased as well.

My job in 2013 at Vision Australia is to help run the Adaptive Technology Help-desk, conduct workshops on adaptive technology, present at conferences, produce fact sheets, record and distribute podcasts, and evaluate equipment. I also present on a weekly technology radio program, “Talking Tech”, as part of Vision Australia radio. My direct client work is more when required to support other staff these days.

CONCLUSION

Oddly, I started using Apple products in 1984. Had a break from Apple after System 9 was the last OS that OutSpoken supported. Started getting back in to the Mac when I was first asked to support a person who was blind in using Mac OS X Tiger in 2005. Gave up my Nokia talking phone in 2009 for the iPhone 3GS with VoiceOver. Then after this, it was a gradual up take of the other Accessible Apple products such as the iPad, and the Apple TV.

Interesting that I started off with Apple just under 30 years ago, and now I’m using Apple again. My motivation for writing this chapter concerning my experiences with adaptive technology was to see where technology has come from, where it is today, and perhaps to allow speculation on where it will go tomorrow.

Besides my constant wish to have accessibility mainstreamed (which Apple is doing - and hear I say it Google and Microsoft), is to have more everyday type devices accessible. Hopefully I’ll be around to see it happen.

Ok, So What’s in this Book?

I know you can check out the contents, but here is a quick summary of what you will find in this book.

I won’t list them here, but each chapter has a number of sub-sections which you can work out from the chapter names (if not, read the contents smile).

I’ve also tried to make the chapters somewhat independent of each other so you can just go to the chapter that is of particular interest to you.

The main chapters are:

About this book.

Apple’s Accessible Product Line.

Accessibility Mac Overview.

Getting Started with your Mac Using VoiceOver.

Mac/VoiceOver Keyboard Commands and Gestures.

Shared Built-in Mac and iOS Apps.

My Favourite Mac App Store Apps.

My Favourite 3rd party Mac Apps.

Accessibility iOS Overview.

Getting Started with your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad Using VoiceOver.

iOS/VoiceOver Keyboard Commands and Gestures.

What iOS device is best?

My Favourite iOS Apps

Hardware bits and pieces that I have found useful.

Switching from Microsoft Windows to Mac OS X.

Resources.

Bringing all together: My Family and Apple.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I did indeed create this book using iBooks Author on the Mac using VoiceOver. Setting up the chapter and section structure was reasonably easy once I understood how the iBooks Author templates worked. Inserting text in to the appropriate chapter, section, and the actual text content was more challenging as each text area was not identified specifically by VoiceOver. One thing I did miss which VoiceOver does very very well in other applications on the Mac, is telling me when I have spelled a word incorrectly either due to typos or my tendency to still spell words phonetically. Adding audio content to the book was not achievable by the use of VoiceOver, for this reason, I decided to go ahead with this text version of the book. When adding audio content becomes accessible, I will be updating the book to include my audio demos. I did get some sighted assistance for adding the movie of the Mac SE startup boot sound, images in some of the chapters, and of course my dreaded activity: Proof Reading. Creating a free iTunes account to publish the book, and using the iTunes Producer to actually publish the book to the iTunes Store was also relatively painless with a few suggestions from my sighted conspirator (smile). Given all this, I still feel like I wrote and published the book myself.

Back to top of Chapter 1 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 2: Apple’s Accessible Product Line

On the whole, most of the Apple product line is accessible. The following are a list of the products and a link to the Apple website for more information. I’ve snuck in the iPod classic, which is not truly accessible, but you can still certainly use it without sight.

In later chapters will go more in to the iPod touch, iPad, iPhone and the Mac, in the later sections in this Chapter I’ll deal with the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and the Apple TV.

iPod Shuffle

VoiceOver takes speech files for VoiceOver from the Mac or Windows PC.

iPod Shuffle web link

iPod nano

VoiceOver takes speech files for VoiceOver from the Mac or Windows PC.

iPod nano web link

iPod classic

Ok, so as I said above not strictly accessible (no speech). However, (and yes it sounds odd until you have tried it yourself) count the clicks when you are navigating the menus with the good old fashion click wheel, you can indeed navigate/play your music, audio books, movies, and TV shows.

iPod classic web link

iPod touch

Full VoiceOver and other accessible options, including Bluetooth Braille and Bluetooth keyboard support.

iPod touch web link

iPad Air, iPad 2 and iPad mini

Full VoiceOver and other accessible options, including Bluetooth Braille and Bluetooth keyboard support.

iPad web link

iPhone 4s, 5c and 5s

Full VoiceOver and other accessible options, including Bluetooth Braille and Bluetooth keyboard support.

iPhone web link

Apple TV

VoiceOver supported, ability to navigate via Bluetooth keyboard. Low vision style options also available.

Apple TV web link

Mac: Macbook Air, Macbook pro, Macbook retina, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro

Full VoiceOver and other accessible options, including Bluetooth Braille and Bluetooth keyboard support.

Mac web link

Ipod shuffle

Before I get in to the in and outs of the iPod shuffle, let me give you a physical description so you will know what it looks like.

Physical description

Top edge: from left to right - 3.5mm ear phone/usb jack, mode button, and shuffle switch. Right edge: no controls. Bottom edge: no controls. Left edge: no controls. Back: clothing clip. Front: raised round button with top of the circle volume up, bottom volume down, left previous track and right next track: with the middle of the circle which is indented for play./pause. Remember, no internal speaker.

Now on to the ins and outs as it were.

The iPod shuffle is a very cheap entry level audiobook reader. Oh and it plays music as well (smile).

The iPod shuffle is very small, has no screen, is controlled by physical buttons, and the titles of the music tracks or audio books are spoken out via text to speech.

You can easily start/stop your media playing, switch between sequential (one track after another in the correct order) or shuffle (random playing of tracks), switch between play lists, and check how much battery you have left. Oh and of course, turn it off.

Rather than just trying to dump all of your media on to the iPod shuffle via iTunes (which probably won’t fit: hint hint hint), in the Music and Books tab, you can selectively choose what actual items you want to put on to the iPod shuffle.

Whilst I’m talking about listening to music, audio books, and switching between or just listening to play lists, on the Mac, remember that you can use Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track from the services menu from any application on your Mac where you can highlight text to convert this selected text in to spoken MP3 files which are automatically added to the play list Spoken text. This means that you can listen to any text info away from your Mac. The Services menu is located in the context menu which VoiceOver users can get to by pressing VO+Shift+M to bring up the Context menu. You will find the Play list selection table where you can choose the Spoken Text play list in iTunes within the Music tab.

Some of the reasons why I like using this snazzy little device is that it has a clip that can be attach to my clothing, has physical controls which are easy to locate and use, can be used as a USB stick, you can recharge the internal battery on your computer or USB style wall charger (my iPhone charger), and it saves me getting more expensive items out of my bag when traveling on the train for security peace of mind.

You will need to Enable Disk Use (USB stick type functionality) when you plug the iPod shuffle in to iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC if you want to use it as a USB stick. Just go to your device in the source list, in the Summary tab, just tic or check Enable Disk use.

One thing to think about here is if you are going to share the iPod shuffle as a USB stick between a Mac and a Windows PC, is that make sure it is formatted via Windows. If its Mac only, you will not be able to copy files on to it, but you will still be able to use it as an iPod shuffle: i.e. copy music and audiobooks on to it. Even though you may not own a Windows machine at home like I do, you still may want to share files to other folks who do use Windows.

The format function is in the Summary tab in iTunes. Keep in mind that whilst you will be able to list all the files that you have copied over to the iPod shuffle as your USB stick, you will not be able to by default see anything else (the content synched via iTunes).

When you are just using the iPod shuffle as an iPod shuffle as it were (i.e. you didn’t enable disk use), when you have it plugged in to your Mac, you can just pull it physically straight out. However, when you have it enabled as a USB stick, you will have to eject it as you would for any USB stick. This makes sure that all files are written to the device properly before physically removing it from your Mac.
For those that may have forgotten the keyboard short-cut Eject command, its Command+E when you have selected the iPod shuffle on your desktop.

Several things to keep in mind when using the iPod shuffle is that it is 2GB, you will need to ware headphones as it doesn’t have an internal speaker, the USB connection to a Mac or PC is a very small 3.5mm connector (which is not used by any other Apple product so don’t loose it), and the speech output that tells you what track you are playing etc, takes the synthesiser voice off the Mac or Windows PC.

Two things that I like to do if I don’t want to where head phones with the iPod shuffle is to plug it in to my treadmill speakers via the audio cable that came with my treadmill or to use the direct play mode on my AQ Audio smart speakers which I mention in Hardware Bits and Pieces that I have found Useful.

Again speaking about not having to use head phones, if I want to check the battery status of the iPod shuffle, if I have it plugged in to my Mac, I can check the battery level on the device context menu in the source list in iTunes: remember to bring up the context menu for VoiceOver users, its VO+Shift+M when your on your device name in the iTunes source list.

Speaking of battery level, you should get about 15 hours of continuous listening pleasure out of the iPod shuffle.

I find I recommend the iPod shuffle for use in schools for students to listen to audio books or content from Add to iTunes as a Spoken track, as there is nothing else on the device (besides what has been put on it) for the student to get distracted by.

Can I just say here, that putting content in to audio format is not just for folks who may be blind, but for anyone who may have a print disability or prefers to listen to content rather than visually reading it.

I should just remind you here, that the iPod shuffle cannot update itself which is possible with all of the iOS devices (iPod touch, iPad/iPad mini, and the iPhone), to do this you will need to access iTunes on your Mac or PC and in the Summary tab within the device, choose Check for Updates.

To sum up, the iPod shuffle works quickly with the physical controls, I find it to be very useful and handy, particularly when running on my treadmill at home, and I don’t (for a change) want to use Zombies Run! on my iPhone.
All in all, a great little device.

For audio orientation and use of this device - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

iPod nano

Now for the ins and outs of the iPod nano.

The iPod nano is just a great all round device for listening to audio books,and listening to music. Oddly enough, it reminds me of holding a little iPhone in my hand as the controls are fairly much in the same place.

The version of VoiceOver on the iPod nano feels like using VoiceOver on the full iOS devices, and has the same gestures for navigating the device. In addition, because of the Home button, you can toggle VoiceOver by pressing the Home button 3times (sound similar to any iOS devices that you may know smile).

For low vision folks, you can also invert the colours on the screen to make things a bit easier to see. As with the iPod shuffle, rather than just trying to dump all of your media on to the iPod nano via iTunes, in the Music and Books tab, you can selectively choose what actual items you want to put on to the iPod nano.

Whilst I’m talking about listening to music, and audio books, remember that you can use Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track from the services menu from any application on your Mac where you can highlight text to convert this selected text in to spoken MP3 files which are automatically added to the play list Spoken text. This means that you can listen to any text info away from your Mac. The Services menu is located in the context menu which VoiceOver users can get to by pressing VO+Shift+M to bring up the Context menu. You will find the Play list selection table where you can choose the Spoken Text play list in iTunes within the Music tab.

Some of the reasons why I like using this great device is that I can link it up to a Bluetooth speaker, listen to the built-in FM radio, use the pedometer, can be used as a USB stick, you can recharge the internal battery on your computer or USB style wall charger (my iPhone charger), and it saves me getting more expensive items out of my bag when traveling on the train for security peace of mind.

Since the iPod nano has the lightening connector, I can use the same lightening cables that I use for my iPhone or iPad/iPad mini: so I always have a spare cable and do not live in fear of losing a device specific cable as it is with the iPod shuffle.

You will need to Enable Disk Use (USB stick type functionality) when you plug the iPod nano in to iTunes on your Mac or PC if you want to use it as a USB stick. Just go to your device in the source list, in the Summary tab, just tic or check Enable Disk use.

One thing to think about here is if you are going to share the iPod nano as a USB stick between a Mac and a Windows PC, is that make sure it is formatted via Windows. If its Mac only, you will not be able to copy files on to it, but you will still be able to use it as an iPod nano: i.e. copy music and audiobooks on to it. Even though you may not own a Windows machine at home like I do, you still may want to share files to other folks who do use Windows.

The format function is in the Summary tab in iTunes. Keep in mind that whilst you will be able to list all the files that you have copied over to the iPod nano as your USB stick, you will not be able to by default see anything else (the content synched via iTunes).

When you are just using the iPod nano as an iPod nano as it were (i.e. you didn’t enable disk use), when you have it plugged in to your Mac, you can just pull it physically straight out. However, when you have it enabled as a USB stick, you will have to eject it as you would for any USB stick. This makes sure that all files are written to the device properly before physically removing it from your Mac.
For those that may have forgotten the keyboard short-cut Eject command, its Command+E when you have selected the iPod nano on your desktop.

Two things that I like to do if I don’t want to where head phones or use my various Bluetooth speakers with the iPod nano is to plug it in to my treadmill speakers via the audio cable that came with my treadmill or to use the direct play mode on my AQ Audio smart speakers which I mention in Hardware Bits and Pieces That I HaveFound Useful.

Again speaking about not having to use head phones, if I want to check the battery status of the iPod nano, if I have it plugged in to my Mac, I can check the battery level on the device context menu in the source list in iTunes: remember to bring up the context menu for VoiceOver users, its VO+Shift+M when your on your device name in the iTunes source list.

Speaking of battery level, you should get about 15 hours of continuous listening pleasure out of the iPod nano.

Can I just say here, that putting content in to audio format is not just for folks who may be blind, but for anyone who may have a print disability or prefers to listen to content rather than visually reading it.

I should just remind you here, that the iPod nano cannot update itself which is possible with all of the iOS devices (iPod touch, iPad/iPad mini, and the iPhone), to do this you will need to access iTunes on your Mac or PC and in the Summary tab within the device, choose Check for Updates.

To sum up, the iPod nano works efficiently with the touch screen using VoiceOver, I can quickly toggle on and off Voiceover by pressing the Home button 3 times (like on the other iOS devices), I find it to be very useful and handy, particularly when running on my treadmill at home, and I don’t (for a change) want to use Zombies Run! on my iPhone.
All in all, a great device.

For audio orientation and use of this device - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

iPod classic

Before I get in to the reasons why you can really use the iPod classic, let me give you a physical description so you will know what it looks like.

Physical description

Top edge: left 3.5mm head phone jack, and right rectangular power on/off button. Right edge: no controls. Bottom edge: 30 pin connector. Left edge: no controls. Back: no controls. Front: about half the way from the top taken up by the screen (and no not a touch screen just for looking), and then the very large and slightly raised click wheel with the select/play/pause button in the middle. Case for the iPod classic is plastic.

Ok so not strictly an accessible iPod in the true sense of the word, but if you listen to my audio demo, you can indeed navigate the iPod classic via the Click wheel (and yes I know it sounds odd) and count the clicks when navigating the menus: but it does work.

If you enable disk use via iTunes on your Mac or PC for the iPod classic, you can use the 160GB hard drive as storage for all your other files.

In case you’re wondering how you check the battery level on the iPod classic since it doesn’t talk, when you plug it in to iTunes, the device item in the source list gives you the current battery charge. Also you’ll know what is on your iPod classic, as you can control what goes on to it in the way of Music, Movies, TV shows, and Audio books.

For audio orientation and use of this device - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

iPod touch and iPhone

As I will be covering the iPod touch & iPhone in more details later on, let me just share these main points:

  1. iPod touch wifi only with 16GB or 64GB.
  2. iPhone 5c wifi/cellular 16/32GB, and iPhone 5s wifi/cellular 16/32/64GB.
  3. The iPhone 5s currently has the finger print sensor.
  4. iPhone is the only iOS device that actually vibrates.
  5. Siri runs on all of these devices.
  6. VoiceOver and the other accessibility options work as they do on the iPad.
  7. This sounds a bit odd, but one of the reasons I like the iPhone is that the grill at the top of the phone (not present on the iPod touch) makes it just that little bit easier to drag my finger down from the grill and locate the status line when using VoiceOver.

Please read my chapters on getting started with your iPod touch, and getting started with your iPhone.

For audio orientation and use of these devices - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

iPad

As I will be covering the iPad in more details later on, let me just share these main points:

Currently the iPad 2, iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPad mini retina.

iPad 2 and iPad air 9.7 inch screens, and iPad mini/retina mini 7.9 inch screen.

iPad 2 wifi only, iPad air or iPad mini/retina mini wifi or wifi/cellular models.

iPad 2 16GB, iPad air 16/32/64/128GB, iPad mini 16GB, and iPad mini retina 16/32/64/128GB. Siri available on the iPad, and iPad mini.

VoiceOver and the other accessibility options perform the same way as on the iPhone or iPod touch.

The multi-tasking gestures certainly speed things up with switching between running apps.

Please read my chapter on getting started with the iPad.

For audio orientation and use of these devices - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Apple TV

I haven’t got a specific chapter on the Apple TV, I more or less address using it throughout the book, so I will go a bit more in to it here.

For those that are not sure what the Apple TV actually does, it is a box that you plug in to your TV set, which then is connected to the internet via a physical network or Wi-Fi network. This plays content from your iTunes account (movies, TV Shows, Music etc) on the internet or from a local machine on the same Wi-Fi network that the Apple TV is connected to. There are also app icons on the home screen of the Apple TV that access their own content.

Besides the home screen icons, you have the menu at the top of the screen which you use to navigate to your Movies etc, access your computer (of course on the same Wi-Fi network), and access settings for the Apple TV.

The home screen icons can be moved around or hidden so that you don’t need to navigate certain icons that you don’t use.

As with iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad) and OS X (Mac), you can set Parental Controls to restrict what items your children have access to and what content they can watch or listen to.

As I have two separate Apple IDs that I access: my one for work and the family’s Apple ID: the Apple TV allows me to switch between Apple IDs and play the content from either account.

If you need to sign out, add or switch to another Apple ID, go in to Settings, iTunes Store, Apple IDs and make your selection: if you have more than one Apple ID in this menu already, you will find these at the bottom of the menu.

I love Apple TV, so much so, I have 4 in my house. Highly recommend you take the time to check it out, it is one of my favourite Apple devices. Oh and remember, it is all accessible by VoiceOver.

Physical Description

The Apple TV is basically a small flat square box. On the back, you have your power socket, HDMI port, optical audio port (which I only use in the lounge room connected to my stereo system), and a network port.

The remote that comes with the Apple TV is very simple with a round raised button at the top with an indent in the middle. The top, bottom, left and right of the raised round button are your arrow keys (up, down, left, right), and the indented button is your Play/Pause.Select button. Below this are two buttons: left button is the Menu button, and the right button is the Power button. All buttons are very tactile and easy to locate.

VoiceOver on Apple TV

As with all Apple products, you can toggle speech (VoiceOver) on when you first setup the Apple TV by pressing the Power button on the remote 3 times: very similar to pressing the Home button on one of the iOS devices 3 times to toggle VoiceOver on or off as well.

If you want to increase rate of the VoiceOver speech, go to Settings, General, Accessibility, Speech Rate (toggle through slow, normal, fast, and very fast).

Because I have sighted children who don’t always want to hear VoiceOver talking, I have selected the Accessibility Short-Cut that allows me to toggle VoiceOver On or Off via the Menu button. You can set this in Settings, General, Accessibility, Accessibility Short-Cut (on or off toggle).
Another good thing about this option is that you can use it to quickly go back to the main menu when your deep in other menus. To toggle VoiceOver, just hold down the Menu button for about 2 seconds, VoiceOver will be the first option if you’re not in a sub-menu (otherwise the first option is Return to Main Menu with VoiceOver being the second option which you can get to by pressing Down arrow on the remote), and press Play/Pause to turn VoiceOver off (repeat steps to turn VoiceOver back on). If you want to go back to a previous menu, just press the Menu button once without holding it in.

While I’m sort of talking about using the Apple remote, you can also use it to play/pause music on your Mac, and increase or decrease the system volume.

The Apple TV can be also navigated using VoiceOver by a Bluetooth keyboard which is generally paired to your Apple TV: i.e. not VoiceOver specific. Pair the Keyboard in Settings, General, Bluetooth. The arrow keys on the Bluetooth keyboard work as you would expect (performing the same action on the remote). The Escape key on the keyboard is the Menu button on the remote. The greatest benefit of course using the Bluetooth keyboard with the Apple TV, is replacing the need to use the remote to navigate the on-screen keyboard which you navigate by using the arrow keys, and selecting each letter etc with the Play/Pause button: doable, but a lot faster using the physical keyboard. Tip: Turn Bluetooth on in this menu for the Apple TV to begin scanning for your Bluetooth keyboard.

The Apple TV can AirPlay to other AirPlay devices (such as my AQ Audio Smart Speakers), and when I am listening to the cricket on my iPhone, I can AirPlay the audio to the Apple TV, which leaves VoiceOver speaking on the iPhone: makes things a bit easier: splitting up the speech of VoiceOver to that of the Cricket audio.

The menu which lists your AirPlay speakers is in Settings, AirPlay, and the speakers are listed at the bottom of the menu. Like on the iPhone, when AirPlaying from the Apple TV to another AirPlay device, VoiceOver speech goes through the local speakers where the Apple TV is connected.

Styles for low vision, including contrast, text font etc, can be found along with other options in Settings, General, Accessibility, Styles. This is where you can set your specific colour screen to make it easier for you to read the menus, etc.

For audio orientation and use of this device - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

I have podcasts covering the Apple TV overview, Using Apple TV with a bluetooth keyboard and Apple TV with AirPlay Speakers and Low Vision Options.

Mac

As I will be covering the Mac in more details later on, let me just share these main points:

The Mac mini is a good entry level computer if you don’t need to worry about a screen as all you get when you get a Mac mini is the Mac mini: no screen, mouse or keyboard. For voiceOver users, just grab a Bluetooth keyboard and a Bluetooth Magic trackpad. It is only mains powered, so not a portable solution.

I have both a Macbook Air and Macbook Pro for different reasons. My Macbook Air, due to its light weight and great battery life, is the machine I use most of the time. For a bit more grunt for audio editing etc, I tend to use the Macbook Pro.

The iMac is great for a family computer, 21 inch or 27 inch screen, and is great for watching movies or TV shows on.

As I don’t do video editing etc, there is no need for me to have a Mac pro.

Voice output (VoiceOver), Voice input (voice dictation), and the other accessibility options works fine on all of the Macs.

Please see my chapter on getting started with your Mac. For audio orientation and use of these devices - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Back to top of Chapter 2 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 3: Mac Accessibility Overview

Following is a list of the accessibility options found on the Mac.

The Short-Cut key: Option+Command+F5: will bring up the Accessibility Options dialog which includes: Enable Zoom using keyboard short-cuts, Enable Zoom using scroll gestures, Enable VoiceOver, Enable Sticky Keys, Enable Slow Keys, Enable Mouse Keys, Invert Display colours, Contrast adjuster (slider), Keyboard Short-Cuts,Preferences (takes you to System Preferences/Accessibility panel), and the Done button.

The nice thing about this Accessibility Options panel is that it will speak out loud whether VoiceOver is on or not when you press the Tab or Shift+Tab keys to navigate the possible options.

Before getting in to the list, a trick I always do on a Mac to see what Accessibility options may be running is to go in to System Preferences, Accessibility, and check on: Show Accessibility on Menu Bar: this way you can see at a glance what accessibility options are currently running on the Mac.

Note - On the Mac, quite a few of the options that you could classify as Accessibility related actually don’t come up within the Accessibility panel in System Preferences. What I’ve done is used the 3 main headings from the Accessibility panel: Physical & Motor, Hearing, & Vision, and then added my own category: Literacy & Learning.

In addition, under each of these (now) four categories, I’ve added in options that are not in the actual Accessibility panel.

Physical & Motor

  1. Multi-touch Trackpad (System Preferences/Trackpad).
  2. Mouse Keys (System Preferences/Accessibility/Mouse and Trackpad).
  3. Full keyboard access (System Preferences/Keyboard/ShortCuts).
  4. Slow Keys (System Preferences/Accessibility/Keyboard).
  5. Repeat Keys (System Preferences/Keyboard/Keyboard). Sticky Keys (System Preferences/Accessibility/Keyboard). Switch Control (System Preferences/Accessibility/Switch Control).

Hearing

  1. Visual alerts (System Preferences/Accessibility/Audio).
  2. Mono Stereo (System Preferences/Accessibility/Audio).
  3. Captions (System Preferences/Accessibility/Captions).

Learning & Literacy

  1. Automatic spell checking. In Textedit or Pages, select this via the Edit menu, Spelling and Grammar, Check spelling whilst typing.
  2. Word Completion. Escape key on a partially typed in word for the suggestion list.
  3. Speak Selected Text. Highlight text, and choose Edit/Speech/Start speaking (can also setup a short-cut key in System Preferences/Dictation and Speech/Speech).
  4. Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track. Highlight text, Apple/Services/Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track.

Vision

  1. Brightness & Contrast (System Preferences/Accessibility/Display).
  2. Cursor Size (System Preferences/Accessibility/Display).
  3. Magnify the Dock (Apple/Dock/Turn magnification on, and Dock preferences).
  4. Zoom (System Preferences/Accessibility/Zoom).
  5. VoiceOver (System Preferences/Accessibility/VoiceOver).

Back to top of Chapter 3 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 4: Getting Started with your Mac using VoiceOver

Number one rule - VoiceOver is primarily designed to be operated from the keyboard by using Mac or VoiceOver keyboard commands, not the mouse. The following information will help you use and navigate your Mac.

Turning on your Mac

When turning on your Mac for the first time, verify where the power button is.

on my MacBook Pro its above and diagonally to the right of the Eject key on the keyboard: a slightly indented round button.

On my MacBook Air, it’s the right most key on the top row of keys on the keyboard.

On my iMac, it’s a round flush button on the back left hand side of the iMac as you look at the machine.

On my Mac Mini, its on the back, top right hand corner.

Sounds obvious, but I always got stuck trying to find the power button to turn the Mac on.

General Locations of Ports on Mac Desktops and Laptops

Mac desktop: ports at the back and down towards the bottom edge on the right hand side.

Mac laptops: ports on the left hand side. Macbook Pro 13 and 15 inch machines have an optical super_drive log slot on the right hand side. Note - Mac air and Mac retina laptops do not have a super drive.

Mac Mini the ports are on the back, in the middle at the bottom.

On the MacBooks, the inbuilt trackpad is in front of the Space key.

Apple keyboards, trackpads (Magic trackpad), and mice (Magic mouse)

The Apple Bluetooth keyboard used on iMacs, is the same layout as the keyboard in Apple’s range of laptops. If you want an extended Apple keyboard with the numeric keypad, these plug in via USB, not Bluetooth. The Bluetooth Magic trackpad that can come with the iMac, is the same as the trackpad in the range of laptops, and can be used by VoiceOver. Note - if you wanted to - you could use the Bluetooth Magic trackpad on a Mac laptop as well or the Mac Mini. The Bluetooth Magic mouse that can come with the iMac, is not accessible by VoiceOver. Note - if you wanted to - you could use the Bluetooth Magic mouse on a Mac laptop as well. The reason for mentioning the possibility of running a second Bluetooth Magic Trackpad or Bluetooth Magic mouse, is for VoiceOver users, you could have say the trackpad in a Macbook being utilised by VoiceOver, and then the external Bluetooth Magic trackpad or Magic mouse being used as the mouse, a benefit if you need sighted assistance and the person only knows how to use the mouse.

Positions of Major Keys on the Apple wifi (Bluetooth) Keyboard

4 keys to the left of the Space key from left to right are: Function (FN) key: for the accessing an alternative state of the Function keys current setting on the top row of the keyboard. Also used to change the state of the Arrow keys. Control: Control key. Option: Option key. Command key: Command key. Escape key: top row, first key from left. Function keys 1 through to 12: top row, starting second key in from the left: Function key 1, and then through to Function key 12 going from left to right. Arrow keys: Inverted capital letter t bottom right of keyboard. Top Up arrow, bottom Down arrow, Left Left arrow, and right Right arrow. When held down with the Function key: top Page up, bottom Page down, left Home, and right End. Delete key: second row from the top, right most key. Note - there is no Back space key on a Mac keyboard. Enter or Return key: home row with the dots on the letter F and J keys, far most right key.

How to get VoiceOver Talking on a Mac

If VoiceOver is not talking on the Mac you are using, press the Command key (key to the left of the Space key) and press Function key 5. This is known as a toggle command, so pressing this key combination will toggle VoiceOver on or off. If you’re thinking you’re not getting any sound out of the Mac because someone has muted or turned down the volume: press function key 12 volume up, 11 volume down or 10 to toggle mute on or off. If VoiceOver has been run for the first time on the Mac, you will hear a welcome dialog asking you to press the v key if you know how to use VoiceOver or Space key if you would like to learn how to use VoiceOver. Pressing V will run VoiceOver, and Space will start the VoiceOver Quick Start tutorial.
Note - if VoiceOver has been previously run on a Mac, VoiceOver will come up straightaway without this prompt. Particularly in Australia, the default speech synthesiser for VoiceOver on the Mac is called Lee, and is very hard to understand. To get VoiceOver to use the much clearer Alex voice, press FN+VO+F8 to run the VoiceOver Utility, once this comes up, the voice should have changed to Alex, and then just press the Command key plus Q to quit the VoiceOver Utility.

The VoiceOver Keys

The keys that VoiceOver uses for most of its commands start with the Control and Option keys held down together and are referred to as the VoiceOver or VO keys for short. For example, if you wanted to explore the keyboard with VoiceOver keyboard help: you would hold down Control, Option, and k: written as VO+k (pressing the Escape key exits VoiceOver keyboard help).

Adjusting speech Settings

To adjust the speech synthesiser preferences (rate, pitch, volume, intonation, and voice) that VoiceOver uses: Hold down VO+Command keys all together, and at the same time, press Left or Right arrow keys to cycle between the speech synthesiser options, when you get to the item you want (still holding down VO+Command keys), use the Up or Down arrow keys to adjust that item. For example, hold down VO+Command, Right arrow until you hear rate, and then Up arrow to speed up the voice each time you press the Up arrow or Down arrow to slow down the voice each time you press the Down arrow.

VoiceOver Help Options

To access the VoiceOver Help menu at any time, press VO+H. This will give you access to: online help (via the internet), Commands help menu (listing all VoiceOver commands by category), Keyboard help (explore the keyboard by having VoiceOver speak the keys), Sounds help (what the sounds are that VoiceOver uses), Quick Start tutorial, and the Getting Started guide. To Navigate the VoiceOver Help menu, press Down or Up arrow to get to the choice you wish to use, and press the Enter key to select. To exit the VoiceOver Help menu, just press the Escape key. For example, VO+H to access the VoiceOver Help menu, Down arrow until you hear Quick Start, and then press the Enter key to access the Quick Start tutorial.

VoiceOver Gestures

If you wish to activate VoiceOver gestures (called VoiceOver trackpad commander) on either the inbuilt trackpad on a Macbook or on a connected Bluetooth trackpad: hold down the VO keys and do a two finger clockwise rotate on the trackpad to turn it on (two finger counter clockwise turns it off). The Quick Start tutorial if it detects a trackpad will take the user through using the gestures for VoiceOver or VoiceOver keyboard help (VO+K) can be also used to practice gesture on the trackpad.

Some Points about the Desktop

When you arrive at your Mac’s desktop screen, it will either be blank with no icons or contain icons for files or drives which the Mac calls volumes (by default your hard drive volume called Macintosh hd is hidden from the desktop). At the top of the screen will be the Menu bar (Apple, Finder, File, Edit etc), and at the bottom of the screen will be the Dock (containing Finder, Mail, Safari etc). You can always move the focus to the desktop, menu bar or Dock at any time by using these 3 VoiceOver commands: VO+M for menu bar, VO+D for Dock, and VO+Shift+D for desktop.
16. Some points about the desktop. Move to the desktop with VO+Shift+D. If you want to move between files or volumes on the desktop, press Tab or Shift plus Tab key to move to the next or previous item on the desktop, and then press the Command key plus O to open that item. If you press the enter key on an application, document, volume etc, that item will be highlighted to allow you to give it a new name: it does not open that item. If you stick in a USB key in to your Mac, it will appear on your desktop. Tab or Shift+Tab key to the volume (USB stick name), and press Command+O to open. To eject a UsB stick or other external volume (drive), when you are on that item, press Command+E to eject the volume safely.

Some Points about the Menu Bar

When you move to the menu bar with Vo+M, you will always land on the Apple menu. If you then press the Right arrow key, you will move across the menu options for Finder, File etc. To pull one of these menu options down to use their options, just press Down arrow, keep using Down arrow to get to the option you want to use, and then press the Enter key. Pressing the Escape key will always back out of a sub-menu or the main menu bar. There is also a second (extra’s menu) that you can access by pressing VO+M again which contains such items as Bluetooth, wifi connection , Volume, Battery (if your on a laptop), Clock etc. To navigate these menu headings you will have to use the Voiceover keys with the Left or Right arrow keys (your now using VoiceOver commands to go to the next or previous item), to select a menu, press VO+Space: you can now use the Down or Up Arrow keys to navigate the menu, and press the Enter key to choose an option. Like the main menu bar, Escape works the same way. VO+M will always cycle you between these two menus or if your just sitting at the desktop, you could just jump straight to the Extra’s menu by holding down the VO keys and pressing M twice. The main menu bar will always show you what application is currently being used by changing the name of the 2nd menu (the one after the Apple menu). So when you are in Finder, the 2nd menu item will be Finder, if you are in Mail, the 2nd menu will be Mail, if you are in Safari the 2nd menu item will be Safari, etc. The main menu bar is also where you access the command to close down your Mac. Press VO+M for main menu, Down Arrow on the Appel menu, keep pressing Down Arrow until you hear shut down, and press the Enter key twice to close down your Mac.

Some Points about the Dock

Move to the dock with VO+D. The Dock contains applications that you can access any time without having to access your Applications folder on your Mac. You have a number of preset applications already on the Dock including Mail, Safari etc. If you do run an application from your Applications folder, it will also appear in the Dock while you are using it, and then disappear when you quit that application. Once your on the Dock, press Left or Right Arrow keys to move between the applications on the Dock, and press the Enter key to select an application.

The Finder

When you are at the desktop, you are also using the Finder. Finder allows you to get access to all the applications, folders, and documents that are on your Mac. The Finder itself is also considered to be an application in its own wright. So if you were using Mail on your Mac, you would still be running to applications on your Mac; Mail, and Finder. When you are at the desktop, you can quickly jump to 5 main folders on your Mac: Shift plus Command plus A: will take you to the Applications folder (all applications installed on your Mac including Mail, Safari (the web browser), Textedit (the word processor etc). Shift plus Command plus O - will take you to the Documents folder (where the documents you create are saved). Shift plus Command plus will take you to the Utilities folder (these are specific utility applications, and also is where the VoiceOver utility for further configuring VoiceOver is stored). Option plus Command plus L - will take you to the Downloads folder (files downloaded by Safari from the Internet are stored here). Shift plus Command plus H - will take you to your main Home folder which actually contains the Documents and Downloads folder. The Applications folder contains the Utilities folder as well, with the Applications folder being under your Macintosh hard drive Volume. If you want to just close the current window that the folder has open up in, press Command+W or to close all Windows that you may have opened up in Finder, press Command+Option+W.

Changing the View in a Volume or Folder

In any volume or folder that you access on your Mac including the Applications, Document, Downloads, Utilities, and Home folder, you can change the way that the folder is displayed on the screen. On a new Mac or the first time you have accessed a new volume, the starting view will be in image view. For VoiceOver users, it is recommended that you use the List view. So rather than having a grid or table of icons on the screen, you just have a list. To switch to List View, press Command key plus 2. If at any time you want to go back to image view, press Command key plus 1. Once you have changed a volume or folders view, the next time you go back in to it, it will be in the last view you used. This command will not work when you are just sitting at the desktop.

Finding Something on your Mac: using Spotlight

Press Command key plus semi-colon to bring up Spotlight when your in Finder, Type what you want to find, a list will come up automatically, Down Arrow key through the list, and if you find what you wanted, press the Enter key to access. Otherwise, press the Escape key to exit.

Running an Application on your Mac

To run an application on your Mac from the Applications folder, make sure your at the desktop with VO+Shift+D (in other words you’re making sure you are back in finder), Pressing Shift+Command+A will take you to the Applications folder (remember if it’s not in List View, press Command+2), Press Down or Up arrow keys to move down or up the list of applications, and when you get to the application you wish to use, press Command+O to open. To quit an application, press Command+Q. When you are in an application such as Mail, Safari or Textedit for example, Command+Tab key will switch you to the next running application, including taking you also back to the Finder.

Getting VoiceOver to Tell you Where you Are

To go from what application you are currently in, what window (file, document, web page etc) or what item VoiceOver is currently on, use these following commands (use the FN key with these commands): Fn+VO+F1: current application Window (such as Safari). FN+vO+F2: Current Window (such as Apple Accessibility web page). FN+VO+F3: current Voiceover item (text or link that the Voiceover cursor is on).

Typing in Text - position of the cursor

When moving the cursor, you will be to the right of the item if moving right or left of the item when moving left. For example, if you type the word dog, the cursor is to the right of the letter g, if you press the Left Arrow key you will here g as the cursor is now to the left of the letter g or when you finished typing in the word dog, pressed Option+Left Arrow you would hear the word dog again with the cursor being to the left of the letter d, if you pressed Option+Right Arrow key you would hear dog again with the cursor now being to the right of the letter g at the end of the word dog. In other words, the cursor is never on a letter, its always to the left or right of the letter. So if you want to delete a character, you need to be to the right of the character to delete it.

Changing the way VoiceOver Echoes Typing

When you type on the keyboard using VoiceOver, each key you press is echoed. You can change this behaviour by bringing up the VoiceOver verbosity dialog with VO+V, typing echo is the first option, press Down Arrow key to desired option (such as character and word), and press the Enter key. To abort, just press the Escape key if you don’t want to make any changes. If you are now in character and word keyboard echo mode, when you type in to a new message or in a document, each character will be echoed, and when you press the Space key or a punctuation mark the word you have just typed in will be also announced (quite handy for picking up typing mistakes on the spot).

The Cursors that VoiceOver Keeps Track of

VoiceOver keeps track of its own Voiceover cursor, the keyboard or system cursor, and the mouse pointer. By default, the voiceOver and keyboard cursors are usually on the same item. To check the location of each of these 3 main cursors: VO+F3: VoiceOver cursor item. VO+F4: keyboard focus item. VO+F5: mouse cursor item.

Notes on Using Mail

Command+N create new message, Tab or Shift+Tab keys moves between fields, and when ready to send the message press Command+Shift+D.
Tab or Shift+Tab key takes you between your Mail box list and the list of Messages. Up or Down arrow moves up or down the list of mail box’s or Messages. When you are on the message you want to read, press VO+j to read the message content and then VO+J to jump back to the list of messages. Command+Q will quit Mail or you could Command+Tab to another application or back to Finder.

Notes on Using Safari

To open up a webpage, press Command+L, type in a web address, and press the Enter key. By default, if you want to move through links on a webpage, hold down the FN key and press Tab or Shift+Tab key to move to the previous or next link on the web page. Pressing Enter key on a link will activate that link. If you want to read the screen with VoiceOver, VO+Left or Right Arrow keys will move you up and down the screen, and VO+Space will activate a link if you have moved on to it. Using the VoiceOver Web Rotor in Safari. To allow a VoiceOver user to efficiently access headings, links, form controls etc, the web rotor will bring up a list of these items, that you can then navigate to. Press VO+U to ring up the web rotor, Left or Right Arrow keys to select your desired element (link, heading etc), Down or Up Arrow key to go through that list of items, and press enter key on the item you want. Note - pressing the Enter key on an item just moves the VoiceOver cursor to that item, it does not activate that item. The voiceOver Trackpad Commander if on, uses a two finger rotate clockwise or Counter Clockwise to go through the various web rotor options, and then a one finger flick up or down will move to the next occurrence of that item. Another option called Quick Nav, will also access this rotor as well. Press Left and Right Arrow keys together (toggle). When on, Up/Left or Up/Right Arrow keys moves through the various web rotor options, and then Up or Down Arrow keys moves to that next or previous item. Both Trackpad and Quick Nav will allow navigation in Finder or in applications as well. However, the rotor option is then just known as the rotor and only has options for moving by character, word, or navigation. Command+Q will quit Safari or you could Command+Tab to another application or back to Finder.

Notes on Using Textedit

When you go in to Textedit, you will be placed in the editing Area. To let VoiceOver know that you wish to stay in this area (particularly if you start using Voiceover navigation commands), use the start interacting command which is VO+Shift+Down Arrow key: the stop interacting command by the way is VO+Shift+Up Arrow key if you want to use VoiceOver commands to explore the rest of the screen. Down or Up Arrow keys will move you down or up a line, Left or Right Arrow keys move by character, and Option+Left or Right Arrow keys will move by word. If you have typed some text in to Textedit and you press Command+Q, you will be presented with a dialog box asking what you wish to do with this current document, press the Tab key or Shift+Tab key to go through options of Delete (get rid of document), Cancel (return to document) or Save (save document). VoiceOver will alert you of any mis-spelled words. If you want to jump to any mis-spelled words you may have in your document, use the VoiceOver command VO+Command+E or VO+Shift+Command+E to search forward or backward through the document. To highlight, press Shift plus Arrow keys, to speak back what has been highlighted by VoiceOver press Fn+VO+F6, and then Command+C to copy, Command+X to cut or Command+V to paste. Here are some commands to read current: character, word, line, sentence, or paragraph or read from beginning or VoiceOver cursor position VO+C: read current character. VO+W: read current word. VO+L: read current line. VO+P: read current paragraph. VO+B: read from beginning. VO+A: read from current Voiceover position. The commands to read the current item are useful because they do not move the actual cursor. Command+Q will quit Textedit or you could Command+Tab to another application or back to Finder. sitting on).

VoiceOver Keyboard commander

To make it faster to access Mail, Safari, and to know what the current time/date is you can activate the VoiceOver Keyboard commander. Press VO+Shift+K (this toggles the VoiceOver Keyboard commander on or off): now you can press Right Option key plus S to run Safari, M for Mail or T to find out what the current date/time is.

Some More Tips and Comments

VoiceOver will not work with Microsoft office. VoiceOver in most applications identifies a mis-spelled word. If you have the Voiceover trackpad commander on: a three finger double tap toggles speech output on or off which can be a trap for beginner users. I.e. if they think VoiceOver is not working, they will do Command+F5 to turn voiceOver off and on again: but will hear: VoiceOver on, speech off. Use Preview to access PDF files or to listen to an audio file without having to bring up iTunes. A three finger triple tap on the trackpad if voiceOver trackpad Commander on will toggle screen curtain which blanks the screen for privacy so that other people will not be able to see what is being used on the Mac. Press the FN key twice to invoke dictation (say in Textedit), speak, press FN key once, and spoken words will be translated in to text. If person cannot remember how to spell a word, if they have partially typed it in, press the Escape key to bring up a list of suggestions, Arrow through the list, and press Enter to select word. If a system dialog box is on the screen (stopping sighted folks from seeing what is behind it - doesn’t effect VoiceOver users), a VoiceOver user can access the System dialog by bringing up a list of running applications with VO+F1f1, Down Arrow to system dialog which will be the first item, Enter key to select, down arrow to System dialog, Enter key again, and then deal with what the System dialog message is saying. Put the Macintosh hd back on the desktop which is a good orientation point for when a person lands back on the desktop with the VO+Shift+D command. Bring up Finder preferences with VO+, (comma), and in the General tab check hard drives (Escape key to exit). To allow the VoiceOver user to stop having to hold down the FN key every time they want to do a VoiceOver command that involves the function keys, go to System preferences, Keyboard, Keyboard tab and check use All function keys as standard function keys. This means that to use the volume function keys etc, you’ll have to hold down the Fn key. To stop the VoiceOver user to having to hold down the Fn key when Tabbing through links in Safari, go in to Safari preferences with Command+, (comma), and in Advanced tab, check use tab key to highlight each item on a web page, Escape key to exit. When playing music, remember that F7, F8 and F9 are Previous, Play/Pause, and Next iTunes track: you can also turn the sound down on iTunes so that it doesn’t go over the top of VoiceOver. Also, remember you can use the Apple remote to control the basic features of iTunes playback. For audio orientation and use of OS X - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Using Voice Dictation

Whilst at the moment we don’t have Siri on the Mac, we do have voice dictation.

I personally feel like it’s a lot more straight forward than using a full blown voice dictation application, and the fact that its builtin ready to go at any time you need it is extremely handy.

To allow you to explore the wonders of voice dictation, make sure first of all that you are in a spot where you would normally use the keyboard (or other method besides your voice) to input text.

To enable voice dictation on the Mac, all you need to do is to press the FN key twice (bottom left key on the Apple keyboard).

If this is the first time you have done this on your Mac, you will get a dialog box confirming that you are using voice dictation. Just go ahead and confirm this dialog box. From this point on, every time you press the FN key twice, you can start dictating with your voice, and when you are finished, you just need to press the FN key once. Your dictated text will then appear in your application.

So for example, with Textedit open in a blank document, I would do and speak the following:

Press the FN Key twice

Hi David comma

newline

newline

Can you please check that I have given you the correct password for the guest network before you start your workshop.

newline newline

It should be the same as your guest network in the regional office comma but I just wanted to make sure.

newline

newline

If you have any issues comma please ring me on 1300 847 466 full stop.

newline

newline

John

Press the FN key once

As you will notice above, I spoke the words out for comma, newline, and full stop. In real life as it were, the actual punctuation and newlines would have been put in.

So that is what voice dictation does. However, in my case, I find it really really useful for dictating words that I actually don’t know how to spell or can’t remember. This is particularly true when I need to do a shopping list up for my wife and I’m not sure how to spell some of the grocery items. This actually stops my wife breaking in to bouts of laughter when she has to work out some of the grocery items actually are in real life.

My killer grocery app item which I always forget how to spell is yoghurt, and funny enough, I had to use voice dictation to stick that word in just now.

Other tasks I like using voice dictation for include iMessages, posting to Twitter, and on occasion it has come in useful for searching with Spotlight on my Mac.

So don’t just think about voice dictation as boringly entering text, if you find spelling challenging, your a one finger typist on the keyboard or you have difficulty using the physical keyboard, give it a go.

The only tip I would offer, is to read back what you have dictated, just in case some of the words that got put in were not the ones you actually meant: remember all those embarrassing or funny auto text correction jokes on the internet, there is the possibility that the same thing may happen when your voice dictating.

At any rate it’s certainly worthwhile using, and in Mavericks, you can dictate offline: i.e. you do not need to be connected to the internet for your dictation to be translated via the Apple servers. You will just have to turn offline dictation on in System preferences, Dictation and Speech, Dictation tab. Whilst your in this tab, you can also change the key to activate voice dictation from the FN key to the Left, Right or both together Command keys or even customise the key yourself. In addition, you can also elect between quite a few languages, even including Australia: who said no one couldn’t understand Aussie’s Australian twang.

So just give it a go, and happy typing or should that be happy talking.

The very cool reader function in Safari

The Reader function in Safari is to make it easier to read articles online by stripping out all the web stuff such as links etc so that you can then just concentrate on the article you are trying to read.

All you have to do is to press Shift+Command+R when you have an article on the screen, and then just start reading or listening to it either via voiceOver or the Speak Highlighted text option on the Mac.

When you want to put the page back to the way it was, simply press Shift+Command+R again.

Just in case you were wondering, the reader function will not work if there is no article on the screen.

Spelling and Word Suggestions

Spelling

One thing I love about the Mac, is that when I am typing in Mail, TextEdit, Safari or iMessages in particular, my spelling is always being checked. So when I type in a word and press the Space bar or punctuation mark etc, if the word is incorrect I will hear VoiceOver say mis-spelled word and the word that I have just typed: so I can then go back and retype the word.

When your in an applications such as Textedit or Pages, if you press VO+Command+e VoiceOver will jump to the next mis-spelled word in your document: adding the Shift key will move back through your document.

When your on a mis-spelled word, you can also press VO+Shift+M to bring up the Context menu with suggestions for the current mis-spelled word at the top.

Another great feature is using auto-suggestions. When you move on to a mis-spelled word in Pages for example, you will hear something like “5 suggestions”, Down Arrow to the first suggestion, Left or Right Arrow keys will take you through the suggestions, and press Enter on the Suggestion you wish or press the Escape key to abort.

Just a tip: make sure you have Quick Nav turned off, otherwise when you press Down Arrow you’ll move by your current rotor element: just press Left and Right Arrow keys together to turn Quick Nav on or off.

Of course, you can use the full blown spell checker in Pages or Textedit for example by pressing Shift+Command+colon (colon).

Word Suggestions

Another one of my favourite things on the Mac giving the fact that I am an awful speller or can’t remember how to spell a word: with word suggestions, partially type in the start of a word and press the Escape key to bring up a list of words that start with those characters, Down Arrow through the list, and then select the word you want to use.

Voices on the Mac

Just a note for VoiceOver users, when your playing audio and VoiceOver starts to talk: i.e. the audio will duck down to a lower volume, and then come back up again once VoiceOver has finished talking. This allows you to concentrate more on what Voiceover is saying.

This feature became available in Mavericks. Unlike iOS, if you really don’t like this feature, you can disable it by going to VoiceOver Utility with Control+Option+F8, Sounds, and uncheck Enable Audio Ducking.

The voices in Mac OS X are used by both the operating systems built in speech, and VoiceOver.

Quite a lot of voices come pre-installed such as my favourite voice Alex (which is still the only synthesiser I know that actually breaths when talking), a number of compressed voices which you can download the premium versions of (such as Karen or Lee for Australia), and a few novelty voices (Pipe Organ or Hysterical): i.e. ones you would play with but wouldn’t use as standard voices for text to speech as frankly they are to annoying, but still good for fun.

Some of the speech operations that Mac OS x supports itself is to speak highlighted text via a menu option or when a key is pressed, announce when alerts are displayed, talking clock, talking calculator, talking chess, Add to iTunes (highlighted text)as a Spoken Track, and one that I found out recently was to have OS X speak out the serial number of your Mac.

Here is a quick list on where to enable speech for the above:

Speaking out your Mac serial number

Under the Apple menu, select About this Mac, Select More Info, select System Report, and under the File menu select Speak Serial Number or just press Command+4, and your serial number will be spoken out loud.

Getting the clock to talk

Access System Preferences via the Apple menu, Select Date & Time, select the Clock Tab, tick Announce the Time, choose from the drop down if you want the Clock to speak on the half, quarter or hour, and then choose your custom voice if you wish (otherwise the default system voice will be used).

Speak highlighted text via a menu

Under the Edit menu in most applications, you will find the Speech sub-menu which contains Start Speaking, and Stop Speaking. Just highlight some text in the application you are in and choose the Start Speaking option in the Edit/Speech sub-menu to read out loud your highlighted text. Of course to stop speaking, select the Stop Speaking option.

Getting the Calculator application to talk

Open the Calculator application from the Application folder accessed via Finder with Shift+Command+A. When the Calculator is open, Elect the Speech menu, and Select Speak Button, and Speak Result. When you now use the keyboard to type in your calculations, you will get speech feedback on both number input and the result.

Getting the Chess application to talk

Actually this is easy as the Chess app automatically reads out the computer moves. I haven’t tried this with a remote user via Game Centre.

Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track

Highlight some text in an application such as Text Edit (word processor in OS X), under the application name menu (in this case TextEdit) select the Services menu, and then Select Add To iTunes as a Spoken Track. A dialog box will appear, where you can just choose the Continue button which will then result in the text being read in to an audio file which will appear in iTunes under the Playlist name of Spoken Text.

Speaking Announcements

Having announcements speak and using a short-cut key to speak out highlighted text is part of the general text to speech options in Mac OS X.

To have a look at the speech options for OS X, go in to System Preferences via your Apple menu, select Dictation and Speech, and then select the Text to Speech tab.

Here you will find a drop down item where you can select different voices (at the bottom of this list is a custom option to download/play sample of further voices), adjust the speech rate of the voice, play a sample of the voice (this doesn’t effect VoiceOver), tick a check box to have announcements spoken when they are displayed, speak selected text when a key is pressed (I have mine set to Option+Escape), an option to bring up Date/Time to set the talking clock settings, and a final option to bring up Accessibility Settings to change VoiceOver itself.

So if you want to use a Short-cut key that you have now set-up to read highlighted text, all you need to do is highlight text, and then press your short-cut key to speak the text out loud. The nice thing here is that if you press this key combination again whilst the text is being spoken, this same keyboard short-cut will stop the speech.

The nice thing about all of these speech options, is that they are completely independent of using VoiceOver. I.e. you don’t have to use a full blown screen reader to get speech feedback on your Mac.

In addition, many applications that support text to speech on the Mac can use the built in voices as well. Oh and of course, VoiceOver can use these voices as well.

If you want to add or adjust voices in VoiceOver directly. Make sure VoiceOver is running with Command+F5, run the VoiceOver Utility via the Utilities folder (Shift+Command+U from Finder), select speech, select the Voice tab, and change the default voice, rate, pitch, volume, and intonation. You can set these parameters for other options such as the typing voice by ticking Additional Voice Options. In the voice drop down, you will see a list of voices that you can use, as well as the custom option at the bottom to download/play samples of other voices.

One thing I should point out for VoiceOver users in particular, is that VoiceOver will use the default voice for your region. So here in Australia, when you get a new Mac, the default voice will be the compressed Lee voice which I have to say must be one of the worse voices to try and listen to. Luckily, if you bring up the VoiceOver Utility for some reason, the system will switch back to the US Alex voice. If your a VoiceOver user, you can quickly bring up the VoiceOver Utility menu with Control+Option+F8 (or with the addition of the FN key if your function keys are set to hardware).

Note - just in case it hasn’t become obvious, the voices that you use either in VoiceOver or OS X speech, can share the same voices.

Tip: in the custom screen for voices for either the system voice or VoiceOver, you can just search for a particular voice: i.e. stick in English just to bring up English voices.

The list of voice synthesiser languages is quite extensive with various dialects and female or male voices including: English, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish,

Here is a list of the english female/male voices. Where there is a premium voice available to download I’ve mentioned this along side the same voice. Of course stating the obvious, you need to be connected to the internet to download these premium voices from the Apple Servers. Note - In the following list of voices it may get a bit monotonous with reading compact and premium, but there are a number of voices which stand on their own as it were with no compact or premium versions so just bear with me.

English Australia

Karen compact or premium. Lee compact or premium.

English India Zangeeta compact or premium. Veena compact premium.

English Ireland Moira compact or premium.

English Scottish Standard Fiona compact or premium.

English South Africa Tessa compact premium.

English United Kingdom Female Kate compact or premium Serena compact or premium.

English United Kingdom Male Daniel compact or premium. Oliver compact or premium.

English United States Female Agnes compact or premium. Allison compact or premium. Ava compact or premium. Kathy compact or premium. Princess Samantha compact or premium Susan compact or premium Vicki Victoria

United States Male Alex Bruce Fred Junior Ralph Tom compact or premium.

English United States Novelty Albert. Bad News. Bahh. Bells. Boing. Bubbles. Cellos. Deranged. Hysterical. Pipe Organ. Trinoids. Whisper. Zarvox.

Interestingly as far as the English voices go, only Karen, Daniel, Tessa, and Moira make it on to iOS (iPod touch, iPhone or iPad).

I have done various demos on downloading and installing premium voices on OS X- go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

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Chapter 5: Mac/VoiceOver Keyboard Commands and Gestures

General Mac keyboard commands and Specific VoiceOver keyboard commands/gestures.

General Mac Keyboard Commands

To use a keyboard shortcut, or key combination, you press a modifier key with a character key. For example, pressing the Command key (the key that has a symbol) and the “c” key at the same time copies whatever is currently selected (text, graphics, and so forth) into the Clipboard. This is also known as the Command-C key combination (or keyboard shortcut).

A modifier key is a part of many key combinations. A modifier key alters the way other keystrokes or mouse/trackpad clicks are interpreted by OS X. Modifier keys include: Command, Shift, Option, Control, Caps Lock, and the Fn key.

Here are the modifier key symbols you may see in OS X menus: (Command key) - On some Apple keyboards, this key also has an Apple logo
  (Control key)
  (Option key) - “Alt” may also appear on this key
  (Shift key)
 (Caps Lock) - Toggles Caps Lock on or off

Just a note about the FN key. If you press the FN key twice, it will allow you to do voice dictation in to an edit area. Pressing the FN key once when your finished will stop Voice dictation.

Function key commands

F1 = decreases the brightness on the device screen.

F2 = increases the brightness on the device screen.

F3 = Mission Control.

F4 = Launchpad.

F5 = decreases the brightness on the keyboard.

F6 = decreases the brightness on the keyboard.

F7 = navigate backwards for media playing, previous song.

F8 = play or pause media.

F9 = navigate forwards for media playing, next song.
 F10 = mutes the media.

F11 = decrease the volume for the media playing.

F12 = increase the volume for the media playing Option.

Finder Navigation Keyboard Commands – General

Command-N = New Finder window

Command-Up Arrow = Up one folder level

Command-Down Arrow = Open selected folder

Command = Back

Command = Forward

Finder Navigation Keyboard Commands – Direct Folder Access

Shift-Command-A = Open the Applications folder

Shift-Command-C = Open the Computer window

Shift-Command-D = Open desktop folder

Shift-Command-G = Go to Folder (Type in folder name)

Shift-Command-H = Open the Home folder of the currently logged-in user account

General Editing Keyboard Commands

Command-A = Select all (e.g. all text, or all items in the front Finder window)

Command-C = Copy selected item/text

Command-V = Paste

Command-X = Cut

Command-Z = Undo

Shift-Command-Z = Redo

Command-Delete (or Command-Backspace) = Move to Trash

Miscellaneous keyboard commands

Control-F2 = Move focus to the menu bar

Control-F3 = Move focus to the Dock

Command-Tab = Move forward to the next most recently used application in a list of open applications

Command-M = Minimise window

Command–2 = View as List

Command-O = Open selected item

Command-Shift-? = Open Mac Help – or current application’s help

Spotlight (Find) = Command+Spacebar

Command-F = Find any matching Spotlight attribute

Closing, Quitting & Shutting Down Keyboard Commands

Command-W = Close window

Command-E = Eject

Option-Command-Esc = Force Quit (Equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Delete)

Option-Shift-Command-Esc (hold for three seconds) - Mac OS X v10.5, v10.6 or later only = Force Quit front-most application

Control-Eject = Show shutdown dialog

Control Option-Command-Eject = Quit all applications (after giving chance to save changes), then shut down computer.

Command-Q = Quit Application

Application and other Mac OS X Keyboard Commands

Note: Some applications may not support all of the below application key combinations.

File Commands

Command-N = New document

Command-O = Open document

Command-S = Save the active document

Shift-Command-S = Display the Save As dialog

Command-P = Print dialog

Shift-Command-P = Display a dialog for specifying printing parameters (Page Setup)

Command-Q = Quit application

Option-Command-Q = Force quit applications window

Cursor Movement

Command-Right Arrow = End of the current line

Command-Left Arrow = Beginning of the current line

Command-Up Arrow = Beginning of the document

Command-Down Arrow = End of the document

Option-Right Arrow = End of the current word

Option-Left Arrow = Beginning of the current word

Option-Down Arrow = End of the current paragraph

Option-Up Arrow = Beginning of the current paragraph

*Pressing Shift with these shortcuts, selects the text between where the cursor starts and ends. Command-A selects all.

Font Formatting

Command- - (minus) = Decrease the size of the selected item

Shift-Command-= = Increase the size of the selected item

Command-B = Boldface the selected text or toggle boldfaced text on and off

Command-U = Underline the selected text or turn underlining on or off

Command-I = Italicize the selected text or toggle italic text on or off

Command-T = Display the Fonts window

Alignment

Command-Shift-[ = Left-align a selection

Command-Shift-] = Right-align a selection

Command-Shift-\ = Center-align a selection

Miscellaneous application keys

Command-Shift-; = Display the Spelling window

Command-F = Open a Find window

Command-, = Open application’s preferences window (if it supports this keyboard shortcut)

For a more comprehensive listing of shortcuts go to:

Apple’s keyboard short-cut web link

Mac/VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

VoiceOver uses the Control and Option keys on the keyboard (known as the VoiceOver or VO keys for short) with other keys to perform VoiceOver screen reading functions.

They are written as: VO+keystroke = Control+Option+keystroke

Basic VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Command+F5 = Turn VoiceOver on or off

Ctrl = Stop speech

VO+Z = Repeat the last spoken phrase

Help VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

VO+Command+F8 = VoiceOver Quick Start tutorial (on a new Mac - hold down the Function key as well).

VO+H = Open the VoiceOver Help menu

VO+HH = VoiceOver Commands Help menu

VO+K = Start keyboard help (Esc to exit keyboard help)

Configuration VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Typing Echo (verbosity) = VO+V

Open VoiceOver Utility = VO+F8

Cycle through speech attributes = VO+Command+LeftArrow (or RightArrow)

Change current speech attribute -= VO+Command+UpArrow (or DownArrow)

Close a menu or rotor, stop an action, or exit a mode = Escape

Lock and unlock the VO (Control and Option) keys = VO+;

Orientation VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Hear the application summary = VO+F1

Hear the window summary = VO+F2

Describe the item in the VoiceOver cursor = VO+F3

Describe the item that has the keyboard focus = VO+F4

Describe the selected item = VO+F6

Navigation VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Move VO cursor left, right, up or down = VO+Arrow keys

Move to start of list or document = VO+Shift+Home

Move to end of list or document = VO+Shift+End

Move to top/start of window, Dock, etc = VO+Command+Home

Move to bottom/end of window, Dock, etc = VO+Command+End

Move to the menu bar = VO+M (Control-F2) (NB: VO+Shift+M opens context menu)

Move to the Dock = VO+D (or Control-F3)

Move to the desktop = VO+Shift+D

Open the Item Chooser (to go to item on the screen) or in a window) = VO+I

Jump to a linked item (for example, from a Mail message in the Inbox to its message text) = VO+J

Hot Spots VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Set or remove a hot spot = VO+Shift+[number key]

Open the Hot Spot Chooser (to browse and jump to hot spots) = VO+[number key]+[number key] (i.e. VO & same number key twice)

Jump to a hot spot = VO+[number key]

Hear a description of a hot spot = VO+Command+[number key]

QuickNav VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Toggle QuickNav on/off = LeftArrow+RightArrow

Move VoiceOver cursor = Cursor keys (equals VO+Arrow keys)

Perform action = Up+Down (equals VO+Spacebar)

Interact with item = Right/Down (equals VO+Shift+DownArrow)

Stop interacting with item = Left/Down (equals VO+Shift+UpArrow)

Visual VoiceOver Cursor Keyboard Commands

Magnify item in VoiceOver cursor = VO+Shift+[

Shrink item in cursor = VO+Shift+]

Toggle VoiceOver focus rectangle (& other visuals) = VO+F11

Displays Caption panel (of where VO cursor is) = VO+Command+F10

Finding VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Find text = VO+F

Find next (after using VO+F) = VO+G

Find previous = VO+Shift+G

Find the next misspelled word = VO+Command+E

Reading commands (TextEdit, Safari, etc) VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Before you can use most of these commands, you must interact with text in a text area.

General VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read from VoiceOver cursor to end = VO+A

Read from beginning to cursor = VO+B

Speak text attributes = VO+T

Speaks line number, word and character in VoiceOver cursor = VO+F3

Characters VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read character in VoiceOver cursor = VO+C

Read next character = VO+Shift+Right Arrow

Read previous character = VO+Shift+Left Arrow

Words VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read word in VoiceOver cursor = VO+W

Spell word = VO+WW

Spell word phonetically = VO+WWW

Read next word = VO+Right Arrow

Read previous word = VO+Left Arrow

Lines VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read line in VoiceOver cursor = VO+L

Read next line = VO+Down Arrow

Read previous line = VO+Up Arrow

Sentences VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read sentence in VoiceOver cursor = VO+S

Read next sentence = VO+Command+Page Down

Read previous sentence = VO+Command+Page Up

Paragraphs VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read paragraph in VoiceOver cursor = VO+P

Read next paragraph = VO+Shift+Page Down

Read previous paragraph = VO+Shift+Page Up

Tables VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read a row in a table = VO+R

Read a column in a table = VO+C+C

Read the column header in a table = VO+C

Interaction VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Interact with an item = VO+Shift+DownArrow

Stop interacting with an item = VO+Shift+Up Arrow

Perform the default action for the item in the VoiceOver cursor (e.g. open active item) = VO+Spacebar

Open application, documents or download folders on Dock = VO+Spacebar, down arrow, Enter

QuickNav VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Perform action = Up+Down (equals VO+Spacebar)

Interact with item = Right/Down (equals VO+Shift+DownArrow)

Stop interacting with item = Left/Down (equals VO+Shift+UpArrow)

###Web VoiceOver Keyboard Commands (Safari)

Navigation - General Keyboard Commands

Move to next heading = VO+Command+H

Move to next heading of the same level = VO+Command+M

Move to next plain text = VO+Command+P

Move to next link = VO+Command+L

Move to next visited link = VO+Command+V

Move to next control = VO+Command+J

Move to next table = VO+Command+T

Move to the next column = VO+Command+Y

Move to the next frame = VO+Command+F

Move to the next auto web spot = VO+Command+N

To move to a previous item, use Shift with above commands. e.g. VO+Command+Shift+H to move to next heading

Navigation - Web Spot VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Set a web spot = VO+Command+Shift+}

Remove a web spot = VO+Command+Shift+{

Set the sweet spot = VO+Command+Shift+}+}

Move to the next web spot = VO+Command+]

Move to the previous web spot = VO+Command+[

Navigation - Web Item Rotor VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Open the Web Item rotor = VO+U

Navigate lists = Left & right arrow keys

Navigate items in selected list= Up & down arrow keys

In Headers List, list only headings of a particular level = Type level number

Miscellaneous VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Read a link address (URL) = VO+Shift+U

Read webpage statistics = VO+Shift+I

Mac/VoiceOver Trackpad Gestures

If you’re using a Multi-Touch trackpad, you can use VoiceOver gestures. VoiceOver provides a set of standard gestures for navigating and interacting with items on the screen. You can’t modify this set of gestures.

NOTE: Gestures that don’t mention a specific number of fingers are single-finger gestures.

General Trackpad Gestures

Enable the Trackpad Commander and VoiceOver gestures = VO-Two-finger rotate clockwise

Disable the Trackpad Commander and VoiceOver gestures = VO-Two-finger rotate counterclockwise

Turn the screen curtain on or off = Three-finger triple-tap

Mute or unmute VoiceOver = Three-finger double-tap

Navigation Trackpad Gestures

Force the VoiceOver cursor into a horizontal or vertical line when you drag a finger across the trackpad. = Hold down the Shift key and drag a finger horizontally or vertically

Move the VoiceOver cursor to the next item = Flick right

Move the VoiceOver cursor to the previous item = Flick left

Move content or the scroll bar (depending on the Trackpad Commander setting) Three-finger flick in any direction.

Two-finger double-tap near the bottom of the trackpad = Go to Dock.

Go to the menu bar = Two-finger double-tap near the top of the trackpad

Open the Application Chooser = Two-finger double-tap on the left side of the trackpad

Open the Window Chooser = Two-finger double-tap on the right side of the trackpad

Jump to another area of the current application = Press Control while touching a finger on the trackpad

Interaction Trackpad Gestures

Speak the item in the VoiceOver cursor or, if there isn’t an item, play a sound effect to indicate a blank area Touch (includes tap or dragging)

Select an item = Double-tap anywhere on the trackpad You can also split-tap (touch one finger and then tap with a second finger on the trackpad)

Start interacting with the item in the VoiceOver cursor = Two-finger flick right

Stop interacting with the item in the VoiceOver cursor = Two-finger flick left

Scroll one page up or down = Three-finger flick up or down

Escape (close a menu without making a selection) = Two-finger scrub back and forth

Increase or decrease the value of a slider, splitter, stepper, or other control = Flick up (increase) or flick down (decrease)

Text Trackpad Gestures

Read the current page, starting at the top = Two-finger flick up

Read from the VoiceOver cursor to the end of the current page = Two-finger flick down

Pause or resume speaking = Two-finger tap

Describe what’s in the VoiceOver cursor = Three-finger tap

Change how VoiceOver reads text (by word, line, sentence, or paragraph) = Press the Command key while touching a finger on the trackpad

Rotor Trackpad Gestures

Change the rotor settings = Two-finger rotate

Move to the previous item based on the rotor setting = Flick up

Move to the next item based on the rotor setting = Flick down

To customise other gestures by assigning VoiceOver commands to them, use the Trackpad Commander. If you need a reminder about what a gesture does, press VO-K to start keyboard help, and then use the gesture on the trackpad and listen to the description.

Mac and Braille

OS X supports more than 40 refreshable braille displays across USB or Bluetooth that work with VoiceOver. When you plug in a USB Braille display, VoiceOver will detect it automatically.

To connect a Bluetooth Braille display, bring up the VoiceOver Utility with Control+Option+F8, select the Braille category with Command+9, select the Display Tab, and choose the Add button to add a Bluetooth Braille display.

By default, VoiceOver uses uncontracted Braille. Use the Braille panel in VoiceOver utility within the Layout Tab, to customise the way you want your Braille displayed.

If your Braille device has an input keyboard, you can use this with VoiceOver to navigate and input using VoiceOver.

The Braille caption panel will also show what is being displayed in text on your Braille display.

Common Braille device commands for Mac VoiceOver navigation

When using a Braille display with VoiceOver in OS X, your Braille display may support the following commands to help with navigation.

You will notice a lot of similarity between these OS X Braille keyboard commands and iOS Braille keyboard commands, but there are a few differences.

VoiceOver action

Dot 1 + Spacebar = Move to previous item

Dot 4 + Spacebar = Move to next item

Dot 36 + Spacebar = activate item

Dot 3 + Spacebar = Move to previous item using rotor setting

Dot 6 + Spacebar = Move to next item using rotor setting

Dot 23 + Spacebar = Select previous rotor setting

Dot 56 + Spacebar = Select next rotor setting

Dot 123 + Spacebar = Move to the first element

Dot 456 + Spacebar = Move to the last element

Dot 1235 + Spacebar = Read page starting at selected item

Dot 2456 + Spacebar = Read page starting at the top

Dot 125 + Spacebar = Activates the VoiceOver help menu

Dot 234 + Spacebar = Goes to the menu

Dot 345 + Spacebar = Activates the Volume Up button

Dot 126 + Spacebar = Activates the Volume Down button

Dot 12 + Spacebar = Activates the Escape key

Dot 7 + Spacebar = Activates the Delete key

Dot 145 + Spacebar = Activates the Delete key

Dot 8 + Spacebar = Activates the Return key

Dot 15 + Spacebar = Activates the Return key

Dot 2345 + Spacebar = Activates the Tab key

Dot 123456 + Spacebar = Toggle Screen Curtain on and off

Dot 1234 + Spacebar = Pause or continue speech

Dot 134 + Spacebar = Toggle speech on and off

Dot 34 + Spacebar = Speak page number or rows being displayed

Dot 1456 + Spacebar = Scroll down one page

Dot 246 + Spacebar = Scroll left one page

Dot 135 + Spacebar = Scroll right one page

Dot 236 + Spacebar = Start interacting with an item

Dot 256 + Spacebar = Stop interacting with an item

Dot 1345 + Spacebar = Toggle announcement history

Dot 24 + Spacebar = Item chooser

Dot 124 + Spacebar = Find text

Dot 1245 + Spacebar = Switch between contracted and uncontracted Braille

Back to top of Chapter 5 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 6: Shared Built-in Mac and iOS Apps

I always like to know what apps are built-in to any operating system, and where to find them: hence why I’ve done this section.

Built-in iOS Apps

On iOS devices, you can find the Applications or apps on the initial Home screen, and a second screen or if you wish you can use Spotlight which for VoiceOver users is a 3 finger flick down when your on one of the Home screen icons and type in the name of the app you’re looking for.

Where the application name doesn’t scream out its function or you’re not in the AppleVerse, I’ll tell you what it is for.

Note - I’m actually going to do this list as if you were doing a 1 finger flick using VoiceOver from the top left App on the home screen to the bottom right app of the Home screen.

After this list, I’ll make a few points concerning some differences between what is on the iPhone screen verses the iPod touch or iPad Home screens.

The default installed apps in iOS are as follows:

  1. Messages (send iMessages between iOS or Mac devices).
  2. Calendar (VoiceOver reads out the current date after the app name).
  3. Photos.
  4. Camera.
  5. Weather.
  6. Clock.
  7. Maps.
  8. Videos (watch videos from iTunes).
  9. Notes (share Notes between iOS and Mac devices).
  10. Reminders (share Reminders between iOS and Mac devices).
  11. Stocks.
  12. Game Center.
  13. NewsStand (magazine stand sub-set of the App Store).
  14. iTunes Store.
  15. App Store.
  16. Passbook (keep you’re boarding passes here etc).
  17. Compass.
  18. Settings (where you access Settings for your iOs device).
  19. Phone (access Favourites, Recent calls, phone dialling Keypad or Voice Mail).
  20. Mail.
  21. Safari (web browser: share your tabs and passwords between iOS and Mac devices).
  22. Music.

Second screen which you can get to by doing a 3 finger flick left on the screen which will scroll the screen right (to go back to the initial Home screen 3 finger flick right or just press the Home button).

  1. Extras Folder.
  2. FaceTime (make video or audio calls between iOS and Mac devices).
  3. Phone.
  4. Mail.
  5. Safari.
  6. Music.

In the Extras folder, which you can access via VoiceOver by doing a 1 finger double tap when you hear the name of the folder, you will get:

  1. Contacts.
  2. Calculator.
  3. Voice Memos (record and play back voice memos).

To come out of the folder, just press the Home button.

Ok your probably wondering why you got Phone, Mail, Safari, and Music twice on both screens. The Reason for this is that at the bottom of both screens is a row of 4 apps that is always visible no matter what Home screen you are on making them easy to access.

Also keep in mind that whilst I put these app names in a list, on the actual Home screens they are in a grid.

On the iPod touch or iPad of course, you’re not going to see the Phone app at the bottom of the Home screens. The Dock on the iPad has Messages, Mail, Safari, and Music.

You can put what ever app you like on the Dock. On the iPhone or iPod touch, the limit is 4, but on the iPad its 6.

Just a final note, you may have noticed that iBooks is not one of the default apps in iOS, you’ll need to download and install it via the App Store on your iOS device.

Shared Apps Between Mac OS X And iOS

Yet another reason why I like both my iOS and Mac devices, is the close integration between Mac and iOS in sharing data.

The other nice thing is that the app names are the same on both platforms, making it easy to find the corresponding app.

The apps that share data include: 1. Contacts, 2. Calendar, 3. Facetime, 4. iBooks, 5. Mail, 6. Maps, 7. Notes, 8. Reminders, and 9. Safari.

Out of this list, the ones that I use most often would have to be Contacts, Calendar: hmm wait: actually all of them (smile).

Now just as I said the app names are consistent, nothing is black and white, so let me just add a few more apps to this list between iOS and the OS X: yes I’m cheating.

  1. World time is found both in iOS with the Clock app, and in the Dash Board Clock Widget in OS X.. The same thing applies to the Weather, the Weather app on iOS, and the Weather widget on OS X.
  2. Of course Accessibility between both platforms is very similar, and we have voice dictation on both as well.

Built-in Mac OS X Apps

I always like to know what apps are built-in to any operating system, and where to find them: hence why I’ve done this section.

On the Mac, you can find the Applications folder by just pressing the short-cut key Shift+Command+A or use Spotlight (Command+;) to type in the app name when your in Finder. Where the application name doesn’t scream out its function or you’re not in the AppleVerse, I’ll tell you what it is for.

The default installed apps in OS X are as follows:

  1. App Store (purchase apps from the Mac App Store).
  2. Automator (write scripts to perform tasks on your Mac automatically).
  3. Calculator.
  4. Calendar.
  5. Chess.
  6. Contacts.
  7. Dashboard (pop up applets or widgets for such things as the Weather, world time etc).
  8. Dictionary.
  9. DVD Player.
  10. FaceTime (video or audio calls between iOS or Mac devices).
  11. FontBook (install and manage fonts on your Mac).
  12. Game Centre.
  13. Garage Band (compose with instruments and play music, produce podcast etc).
  14. iBooks.
  15. Image Capture (transfer images from a scanner, Camera or a device with a camera such as your iPhone).
  16. iMovie (Crate and edit movies from video taken on digital video cameras).
  17. iPhoto (import, edit and share your photos).
  18. iTunes (we should all know what this is smile).
  19. Launchpad (brings up a grid of apps like the Home screens on iOS from which you can choose).
  20. Mail.
  21. Maps.
  22. Messages (send iMessages between iOS or Mac devices).
  23. Mission Control (move and access Application windows on your screen).
  24. Notes (share notes between iOS and Mac devices).
  25. Photo Booth (take a single photo, a group of 4 photos or record a video using the Macs Eye-Sight camera).
  26. (Preview preview files on your Mac): I use this one for quickly listening to Mp3 files in particular.
  27. QuickTime Player (watch, edit, and share your movies or create your own audio , video or screen recordings).
  28. Reminders (share Reminders between your iOS and Mac devices).
  29. Safari (web Browser: share your Tabs and passwords between your iOs and Mac devices).
  30. Stickies (make a quick note of it).
  31. System Preferences (where most of your Mac settings are).
  32. TextEdit (word processor).
  33. Time Machine (back up or restore your Mac).
  34. Utilities folder (as we have finished the main application list, I’ll go through next what you can expect to find in the Utilities folder).

Utilities folder which you can also get to with the short-cut key Shift+Command+U within Finder. Quite a few of these applications are also called by other applications or Mac OS X menu options, etc. One that should be very familiar To VoiceOver users is the VoiceOver Utility which you call up when you’re running VoiceOver by Control+Option+F8.

List of applications in the Utilities folder (and I’ll leave this one up to you to work out what they do):

  1. Activity Monitor.
  2. AirPort Utility.
  3. AppleScript editor.
  4. Audio MIDI Setup.
  5. Bluetooth File Exchange.
  6. Boot Camp Assistant.
  7. ColorSync Utility.
  8. Console.
  9. DigitalColor Meter.
  10. Disk Utility.
  11. Grab.
  12. Grapher.
  13. Keychain.
  14. Migration Assistant.
  15. System Information.
  16. Terminal.
  17. VoiceOver Utility.
  18. X11.

Back to top of Chapter 6 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 7: My Favourite Mac App Store Apps

These are some Mac App Store apps that I have come across to get you started, and that work reasonably well with VoiceOver.

Business apps

Prizmo: Scanning, OCR and Speech

Great app for scanning printed books (OCR) from my flat-bed scanner or even using my iPhone as the actual scanner/digital camera. In addition, this app allows me to scan/OCR PDF image files which I would otherwise not be able to access at all by VoiceOver on the Mac.

Prizmo Mac App Store download link

Entertainment apps

Easy Ring Tone Creator

As the application name suggests, create ring tones for your iPhone easily. I find this handy to have different ring tones for the different people calling me.

Easy Ring Tone Creator Mac App Store download link

FirePlace

Sounds and visuals of a fireplace on your screen. I find this great for down time white noise.

Fireplace Mac App Store download link

Game apps

ChangeReaction

In this game, you have to stack coins of different denominations before the time runs out. A self voicing game on the Mac where once the game has started, you can Command+F5 to turn off VoiceOver and use the inbuilt in speech in the game itself.

ChangeReaction Mac App Store download link

SilverDollar

In this game, once you have entered the Silver Dollar Saloon, you can prove your self a gun fighter by shooting different sized plates as the fly past faster and faster, take a go at the one armed bandit slot machine or (pick a fight (this last one I could have done without). A self voicing game on the Mac where once the game has started, you can Command+F5 to turn off VoiceOver and use the inbuilt in speech in the game itself.

SilverDollar Mac App Store download link

Health And Fitness apps

White Noise

The popular White Noise app for iOS devices is now available on the Mac. Various sounds including ocean, train, cars, wind, etc. Great for down time background noise or when your on a flight and you want to shut out background noise.

White Noise Mac App Store download link

Medical apps

Relax

Relax with over 80 minutes of relaxing melody’s and nature sounds. This is just great to listen to in the background when you’re doing something that requires a bit of concentration.

Relax Mac App Store download link

Music apps

Amadeus Pro

Audio recording and editing. Recording and editing work quite well with VoiceOver. This is the one that I use for all my podcasts.

Amadeus Pro Mac App Store download link

Home Radio Australia

Listen to radio stations around Australia. I came across this app which was recommended to me for listening to the cricket Australia verses England over winter in Australia in 2013.

Home Radio Australia Mac App Store download link

SleepyTime

Put iTunes music, audiobooks etc to sleep/mac for bedtime listening and wake up with iTunes. Quite often my audio books just keep playing after I fall asleep, this way, I can stop them after a sensible period, so I don’t have to go back to far and find my place again.

SleepyTime Mac App Store download link

News apps

Downcast

Listen to a whole range of podcasts on your Mac, companion to the Downcast app on iOS. As I listen to podcast all the time to keep up to date with main stream and assistive technology, this must be one of my most used apps on the Mac.

DownCast Mac App Store download link

Productivity apps

DocuScan Plus

Complete scanning (OCR) solution for the Mac. This application requires an account on docuscanplus.com. Scan, read, save printed documents as well as PDF files. Email the document or convert to daisy, mp3, large print or to a Braille file. You can even send the document to your Kindle. I tend to use this app when everything else fails to work.

Docuscan Plus Mac App Store download link

Numbers

Apple’s Spreadsheet application. You can open Microsoft Excel documents with it. Can also save documents out from it so that it can be opened by Excel. Works fairly well with VoiceOver.

Numbers Mac App Store download link

Pages

Apple’s advanced word processor. You can open Microsoft Word documents with it. Can also save documents out from it so that it can be opened by Word. Now this is another app that I use all the time as its also the companion to the Pages app I use on all of my iOS devices, so that I can work on documents on my Mac or iOS devices and they are all up to date with any changes.

Pages Mac App Store download link

Read4me

Enhanced text editor with inbuilt voices to read out text or send to audio file. This is one of the ways I give someone an audio file of instructions.

Read4me Mac App Store download link

SingleText

Uses the iCloud to keep a note up to date with your last jottings on your Mac and iOS devices. Using app on both systems works well with VoiceOver via iCloud.

SingleText Mac App Store download link

SimplyRec

Simply record and monitor to a file.

SimplyRec Mac App Store download link

Type2Phone

Use your Mac as your Bluetooth keyboard to your iOS device (including your Apple TV). One of those apps that you don’t know what you did before it came along. Means if I wish, I can use my Mac to access my iPhone, iPad or as I said apple TV. Just remember to Command+F5 to turn VoiceOver off when you start using it with your iOS device.

Type2Phone Mac App Store download link

iBooks Author

I used this application to write this book.

iBooks Author Mac App Store download link

Social Networking apps

Mars Edit

Blog app: this is the one that I use for my technology blog site.

Mars Edit Mac App Store download link

Stwutter

Speaks your Twitter timeline out loud: great to run in the background, especially when your away from your Mac.

Stwutter Mac App Store download link

yorufukurou (Night Owl in Japanese)

Great twitter application, searching for Night Owl in the Mac App Store will find the application. This is the app I use all the time for Twitter when I’m on my Mac.

yorufukurou Mac App Store download link

Utility apps

Airplane Setting

As the name suggests, turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings when you fly.

Airplane Setting Mac App Store download link

Audiobook Binder

A straightforward utility to convert your audiobooks from MP3 format to iPod compatible M4B format.

Airplane Setting Mac App Store download link

Baby proof

Make your machine toddler-proof when using your Skype application or watching a video or when your .

Baby proof Mac App Store download link

Battery Monitor

Monitors your battery charge and discharge cycles, plus speaks out every 10 percent. This one is great when I’m working on the train.

Battery Monitor Mac App Store download link

Clock Chimes

Make your Mac chime on the hour, quarter, and half an hour. 4 types of chimes to choose from. Just something different to the Mac’s default talking clock.

Clock Chimes Mac App Store download link

iZip

Archive utility for several archive formats including RA.

iZip Mac App Store download link

Keeper - password manager and data vault

Keep all your passwords and data such as credit numbers secure, on the cloud, and synced with your iPHone, touch or iPad. Use Keeper for iOS to sync across Mac/Devices: which is exactly what I do, very very nice considering how many logins and passwords I have.

[Keeper - password manager and data vault Mac App Store http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/keeper-password-data-vault/id412758531?mt=12)

Looktel Money Reader

Identifies paper currency via the EyeSight camera.

Looktel Money Reader Mac App Store download link

PwGenerator

Generate your own passwords, great when you can’t think of one to use.

PwGenerator Mac App Store download link

Short URL

Shorten long URL’s for Twitter, FaceBook etc, and since I use Twitter quite a lot, this gets used a fair bit.

Short URL Mac App Store download link

RightMouseClick

Adds a Convert to Mp3 file option to the context menu to convert several audio formats to mp3 format.

RightMouseClick Mac App Store download link

Scientific calculator

Type in your calculation in to the edit field, and copy and paste result to another application/file.

Scientific calculator Mac App Store download link

Song Announcer

Leave running and receive via speech synthesis the track playing plus artist name when changing tracks via the Apple remote or the FN hardware keys F7 (Previous track), F8 (play/pause current track), and F9 (next track).

Song Announcer Mac App Store download link

Type2Phone

Turns your Mac keyboard in to a bluetooth keyboard for your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. When your in the app, turn VoiceOver off via Command+F5, as you’ll be getting speech from your iPhone etc (with VoiceOver). Typing in works well (such as typing in to an email), but you won’t be able to perform any iOS VoiceOver commands.

Type2Phone Mac App Store download link

StuffIt Expander

Unarchive utility for multiple archive formats.

StuffIt Expander Mac App Store download link

Universal Time

Check the time in major cities. Times are in an html area, a bit of lists code, but still usable.

Universal Time Mac App Store download link

XMart Volume

Alters your headphone volume when someone speaks to you automatically when you listening to music for example, comes in very handy when I’m working on my Mac.

XMart Volume Mac App Store download link

Redeeming iTunes Gift Card Codes

Whilst we’re going to be talking about apps (applications) from the Mac App Store, in a few countries you can use the Eye-Sight camera on your Mac to redeem iTunes Gift Card Codes directly in to your AppleID.

In Australia, I just peel off the plastic strip over the code, go to redeem on the iTunes Store, put in my Apple ID and password, activate the camera button, and then just put the card in front of the Eye-Sight camera, and it appears in the code field (which if I could see, I could type in manually as well).

In Mac OS X, you can use the redeem camera function not only in the Mac Apps Store, but in the iTunes Store as well: at least in Australia at the moment, the iBooks app where you can bring up the Store/Redeem, does not support the camera function.

Back to top of Chapter 7 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 8: My Favourite 3rd Party Mac apps

These are some 3rd party Mac apps that I have come across to get you started, and that work reasonably well with VoiceOver.

Book Appss

Audible

Speaking of books, remember that you can listen to books from audible within iTunes on your Mac.

Audible web link

iTunes

You can also purchase audio books from iTunes and listen to them on your Mac as well.

readHear

Daisy audio and text player for Mac. I use ReadHear to listen to daisy books from the Vision Australia library.

ReadHear web link

Game apps

The Inquisitor: Audio Text Adventure game

This game is the closest I’ve come to some extent in playing a good old fashion text adventure game on the Mac.

The Inquisitor web link

RS Games - game portal

This is a self-voicing game portal (i.e., you have to turn off VoiceOver to use it) which allows you to play against the computer (bot) or another person or person on the internet quite a number of games. Including: Monopoly, Uno, Blackjack, Yahtzee, One Thousand Miles, Battleship, Shut The Box, Apples to Apples, Farkel, Rummy, Pig, and Bingo. I think my two favourite games from RS Games is Battleship and Pig.

RS Games - game portal web link

Social Networking

Skype

I’m fairly sure we all know what is Skype by now: audio, video or text chat client.

Skype web link

Utility apps

Airfoil, and Airfoil Speakers

Both of these applications are from Rogue Amoeba.

Airfoil: allows you to play to multiple AirPlay speakers from apps on your Mac (such as iTunes or my daisy app ReadHear) on the same Wi-Fi network around your house, having control over every single speaker.

AirFoil Speaker: turns your Mac in to an AirPlay speaker. Where the magic comes in though, is when you use Airfoil speaker as the audio source for Airfoil, then have your iOS device (such as your iPhone) AirPlay to your Mac (AirPlay speaker): which means, that you are AirPlaying to multiple speakers not just one which AirPlay normally supports.

Airfoil, and Airfoil Speakers web link

Mess emulator with the echo 2 synthesiser

This allows you to run an Apple IIe with echo speech on your Mac using terminal: very very cool.

Download the Mac version via:

Apple IIE emulator download link

Once the folder is downloaded and unzipped, you’ll end up with a folder called:

messapple-mac

Move the folder to your Home folder on your Mac so it is a bit easier to find when you go in to terminal mode to run the emulator.

Before you get started, you’ll need to copy the SDL.framework folder within the messapple-mac folder to the Frameworks sub-folder of the main Library folder on your Hard Drive: i.e. Macintosh HD, System folder, Library folder, frameworks folder. In the Utilities folder on your Mac, open terminal. You’ll be at the dollar prompt inside your home folder. Change to the messapple-mac folder by typing in: cd messapple-mac and press Enter.

To start the emulator with a disk in drive 1, type the following:

./mess64 apple2ee -flop1 disks/eamontlk.dsk

note - you might find it easier to have the whole command line in a text file so that you can just copy/paste in to terminal mode when you want to run the emulator.

Replace the pizza.disk disk name with another disk name from the disks folder in inside the messapple-mac disks sub folder.

When you run the emulator with the command line, you will hear the Apple 2E boot with a beep, the echo 2 start with TextTalker saying that it is running, and in the case of the pizza disk, a talking menu will be then read out. Select a game to play by typing the appropriate number on the keyboard, and play the game. Once you have finished, you can close down the emulator by pressing FN+delete and pressing Escape to make vO talk again at the terminal prompt. Type in exit to exit terminal mode session. Command+Q to close the emulator.

And you are done.

Dropbox

Another commonly used application: allows you to share files with devices, in my case, between all of my Mac,and iOS devices.

I also use it to share folders with people that I have to give or share content with: such as sharing my podcasts with Applevis or ACB Radio MainMenu.

[Dropbox web link](https://www.dropbox.com]

Back to top of Chapter 8 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 9: Accessibility iOS Overview

Following is a list of the accessibility options found in iOS.

In iOS to make things a little bit easier, the Accessibility short-cut (which used to be called Triple Click Home), by default is setup so that you can turn VoiceOver on or off, which is particularly useful if you are a person who is blind and can’t see the screen.

You can find the Accessibility short-cut in Settings, General, Accessibility, Accessibility Short-Cut.

Besides Voiceover, you can toggle Invert Colours, Zoom, Switch Control, and Assistive Touch.

Just be aware that if you are a Voiceover user and you select more than one item in the Accessibility Short-Cut panel, wen you turn VoiceOver off and back on again, you will get the Accessibility Short-Cut dialog asking you which Accessibility option you wish to use: which will not speak. You will know if you have done this as the Accessibility Short-Cut control rather than saying VoiceOver, will say Ask instead.

If you turn Assistive Touch on for use with VoiceOver, every time you change to a new screen, you will find that the focus jumps to the top of the screen to access the Assistive Touch control on the screen which can be a bit annoying with Voiceover, but if you think about it, actually does make sense as this may be one of the ways of using your iOS device.

Note - whilst you can use a Bluetooth keyboard on an iOS device to type in text etc, Voiceover will allow full navigation of iOS plus typing.

Physical & Motor

  1. Switch Control.
  2. Assistive Touch.
  3. Home Click Speed.
  4. Route for Incoming Calls.
  5. Accessibility Short-Cut.

Learning

  1. Guided Access.

Hearing

  1. Hearing Aids.
  2. Sub Titles and Captioning.
  3. LED Flash for Alerts.
  4. Mono Audio.
  5. Phone Noise Cancellation.
  6. Left/Right stereo balance.

Vision

  1. VoiceOver.
  2. Zoom.
  3. Invert colours.
  4. Speak Selection.
  5. Speak Auto Text.
  6. Larger Type.
  7. Bold Text.
  8. Increase Contrast.
  9. Reduce Motion.
  10. On/off labels.

I highly recommend for further information on all the Accessibility options built in to the iOS that you download the free Multi-Touch - “iPad Tips and Tricks with an Accessibility Focus” by Jeanette Davies. She is a fellow Apple Accessibility Ambassador and this down to earth book will really help you.

Tips and Tricks with an Accessibility Focus” by Jeanette Davies iTunes download link

Back to top of Chapter 9 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 10: Getting Started with your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad using VoiceOver

These are some tips to help you get up and running with your iPhone, ipod touch or iPad.

Orientation to iPhone and VoiceOver Tips

These are some tips to help you get up and running with your iPhone. First is a physical description of your iPhone, and then the tips to get you up and running with your first iPhone.

iPhone physical description

  1. Top edge: right is the rectangular on/off button.
  2. Right edge: middle SIMM tray for which you will need a paper click to eject the tray and stick in your SIMM card.
  3. Bottom edge: from right to left - 3.5mm head phone jack, microphone, lightening connector, and speaker.
  4. Left edge: from top to bottom - mute switch, and just below to round volume up and volume down buttons.
  5. Back: top left rear camera and flash.
  6. Front: from top to bottom - front facing camera, speaker grill, multi-touch screen, and the Home button (containing the finger print sensor on the iPhone 5s).

iPhone 5c as a polycarbonate back/sides.

iPhone 5s has a metal back with glass inserts at top and bottom, and stainless steel sides.

iPhone tips

Now for the tips to get you up and running.

Number one rule: your iPhone with VoiceOver running will operate differently to standard iPhone gestures.  In addition, VoiceOver will speak some items as “real” words when in reality on the screen they may be just symbols.  So just take this in to account when getting assistance from sighted friends and family, and listen to what VoiceOver is saying.

Just a tip between the iOS settings screen in the iPhone/iPod touch verses the iPad or iPad mini screen.

In the iPhone/iPod touch, in the Settings screen you can just 1 finger flick left or right through, and then 1 finger double tap to activate an item which then brings up a new screen which contains the items for the category you just 1 finger double tapped on: such as General. On the iPad or iPad mini, whilst you can 1 finger flick left or right through the Settings screen, it doesn’t quite work. This is due to the fact that the actual categories are on the left side of the screen, when you do a 1 finger double tap on a category, the options that make up that category appear on the right hand side of the screen. So what I usually do is touch on the left side of the screen, drag or 1 finger flick to the right down through the categories to get to General, 1 finger double tap on General, touch towards the top middle of the screen, and then 1 finger flick right to move through the items for General.

  1. Turning iPhone on: hold down power button (top right) for 2 seconds and release.  Takes about 15 seconds for the unlock screen to appear.  VoiceOver announces time.  Screen will lock after 10 seconds if the screen is not touched.
  2. Unlocking the iPhone from the unlock screen: press the Power button (top right or the Home button bottom middle).  VoiceOver announces the time. Drag 1 finger up from the Home button (bottom middle) just a little.  VoiceOver announces “Slide to unlock” and “Slide or double tap” (2nd message is the VoiceOver hint). 1 finger double tap anywhere on the screen to unlock (you don’t need to drag your finger).  If screen not touched for 15 seconds, screen will lock.  When screen unlocked, you are at the Home screen with rows of apps, and the Status menu at the top.
  3. Basic VoiceOver navigation of the Main Home screen:  1 finger drag around screen to here what is under your finger or 1 finger flick left or right to move item by item left or right around the screen.  1 finger double tap to activate the item you wish to use.  1 finger flick left or right will only move you between the items on the main screen, it will not access the Status menu (see next point), but dragging 1 finger will.  The first row of icons on the main Home screen are: Messages, Calendar, Photos, and Camera, with further rows of icons (apps) below this.  At the bottom (of all Home screens), you have 4 apps (icons): Phone, Mail, Safari (web browser), and Music.
  4. Accessing Status menu:  locate the Speaker grill just below the top edge of the iPhone, and drag 1 finger down just a little. VoiceOver will announce an item on the Status menu, followed by the announcement “Status bar item” and “Swipe down with three fingers to reveal the Notification centre” or “three finger flick up to access the Control Centre” (second message is the VoiceOver hint).  Once in the Status menu, you can 1 finger flick left or right to move left or right to the items in the Status menu: e.g. signal strength, time, battery status, etc.  1 finger drag or touch anywhere on the screen to take VoiceOver out of the Status menu. Control Centre is where you can turn things on or off easily such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio play controls, AirPlay, orientation lock etc. Notification Centre does what the name implies, notifications from various apps on your device such as missed calls, reminders, what is happening today, calendar entries, etc.
  5. Practicing VoiceOver gestures: VoiceOver itself has a practice mode (much like keyboard practice on desktop screen readers) where you can practice all the gestures with out them actually doing anything besides speaking their function:  To do this: Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, VoiceOver Practice, and try out a few of the gestures in this document.  Press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the Main Home screen. In iOS 7 and above, a 4 finger double tap will also bring up VoiceOver practice. VoiceOver practice will also let you explore and find out VoiceOver commands if you are also using VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard or Bluetooth Braille display. In fact, you can actually activate VoiceOver Practice from the keyboard (Control+Option+K) or Braille display (of course with a input keyboard) with Space+k - dots 14). Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  6. Adjusting the volume of VoiceOver: VoiceOver volume is adjusted by using the Volume up and Volume down buttons on the left hand side of the iPhone just below the top left hand edge and below the sleep/wake switch whilst VoiceOver is talking.  Two finger flick up will start VoiceOver talking from the top of the screen, whilst talking, press the Volume up or Volume down buttons to control the volume of VoiceOver.  When finished, a two finger touch on the screen will stop VoiceOver talking (which can be used any time to silence VoiceOver). 7 Silencing the iPhone:  To silence the iPhone, locate the silence/wake switch on the top left edge of the iPhone just below the top.  Flicking the switch down towards the back of the iPhone will silence the iPhone (you will feel the iPhone vibrate).  Rather than ringing, the iPhone will now vibrate.  Flicking the switch up towards the front face of the iPhone, will put it back in normal operation.  This does not silence VoiceOver or VoiceOver sounds.
  7. Answering and hanging up a call:  2 finger double tap anywhere on the screen will answer a call.  2 finger double tap anywhere on the screen whilst on a call, will hang up the call.  When not answering or hanging up a call, the two finger double tap will start and stop music playing etc if you have been previously been listening.  When you are on a call, taking the iPhone away from your ear will turn the loud speaker on (hands-free mode), and putting the iPhone back to your ear will put it back in private mode so that only you can hear the caller.
  8. Dialling a call:  to dial a call, activate the Phone app (bottom left of the Home screen), VoiceOver announces “Blank phone number”, drag your finger around the screen or 1 finger flick left or right) through the standard layout phone keypad, when you find the number you want to use, 1 finger double tap to put that number in to the phone number field, when you have finished putting in all numbers, locate the Call button below the 0, and 1 finger double tap to make your call.  tip: the Delete button to delete the last number (or all numbers that you have put in to the dialling field) is located to the right of the phone number field at the top just above the keypad. If you don’t get VoiceOver saying “Blank phone number”, locate the Keyboard item tab on the bottom of the screen, and one finger double tap to activate it (this will put the dialling keypad on the screen).  You can also use Siri to dial a phone number or a contact (see next item).  To exit the Phone app, just press the Home button (bottom middle).
  9. Using Siri (if activated in Settings, General, Siri):  hold down the Home button (bottom middle) until you hear an ascending double beep, speak an instruction such as “What is the time”, and Siri after a descending double beep will give you the time.  When Siri is on the screen, two finger double tap will activate Siri with the ascending double beep, speak your instruction, wait for the descending double beep or two finger double tap, and Siri will speak the result of your instruction.  To dismiss Siri, press the Home button (bottom middle).  If you want to dial a number using Siri, at the instruction point, just say “dial 1300 847 466” and Siri will dial this number (Vision Australia).  Alternatively, if Vision Australia is in your contacts, you could just say “call Vision Australia” and Siri would also call Vision Australia.
  10. Using touch typing mode: If you would like to speed things up a bit when using the dial keypad: rather than 1 finger double tap on a number, just take your finger off the number to put the number in to the phone dialling field): for this, you need to use the rotor.  This is rotating or turning two fingers on the screen (like a dial).  Each time you turn the dial, you go to a new option on the rotor.  When you dial to typing, a 1 finger flick up or down will change between standard and touch typing.  You must be on the phone number field for typing mode to appear in the rotor.  This also applies to the on-screen QWERTY keyboard when you come to using iMessages/text messages.  The rotor also lets you move by such items as character, word etc.  e.g. to spell out one of the icons (apps) on the home screen, two finger dial around to character, and then 1 finger flick up or down will move left or right through the current icon (app) name.  Remember, 1 finger left or right moves to the previous or next item, 1 finger flick up or down moves by the current rotor setting or select something like the desired typing mode. When you are typing in to an edit field with VoiceOver, if you use the rotor (two finger rotate) to select character or word for example, and then navigate by character or word by 1 finger flick up or down, it is important to know where your cursor actually is. When you move to the next character or word with 1 finger flick down, the cursor is to the right of the character or word spoken. When you move to the previous character or word with one finger flick up, the cursor is to the left of the character or word spoken. For example: you type in the word dog. The cursor is now to the right of the letter g. if you rotate with two fingers around to character, and do a 1 finger flick up, the cursor is now to the left of g. If you did a 1 finger flick down to move to the next character, you would hear VoiceOver say g again as the cursor has move over g and now is to its right. To move back to the beginning of dog, you would do 3 1 finger flick up gestures which would put your cursor to the left of d. In Other words, the cursor is never on a letter, its always to the left or right of the letter depending on which way you are navigating. By the way, if you do a 1 finger double tap in an edit field, the cursor jumps to the beginning or end of that edit field. One final item, when you are on an edit field. to make sure you are editing inside it, just do a 1 finger double tap, and if not editing voiceOver will say editing or jump the cursor to the beginning or end of the edit field.
  11. One very exciting option (amongst others) that you can turn on in the rotor is handwriting mode. When this is on, you can write letters etc on the screen with your finger. So when you are in an edit field, you can write letters rather than using the keyboard. When You are in the dial keypad, you can write numbers. When you are on the unlock pin code field, you can write in your pin code and unlike the on-screen keyboard, your characters will not be echoed. When you are on the Home screens (and this is my favourite option for using hand-writing mode) as you start writing each letter, it acts as a search for an app starting with that name in a list which you can then scroll up or down with two fingers, and then 1 finger double tap on the app you want to use. To come out of writing mode any time, just move on the rotor to another option (i.e., two finger rotate).
    If you want to have a play with handwriting plus see what other options you can turn on or off in the rotter including sounds (VoiceOver sounds), speed (rate of Voice) etc, go in to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver (contains the main VoiceOver settings), Rotter, and then select handwriting or any other option by 1 finger double tapping on that option name to select (or unselect). See the section on handwriting for the list of handwriting gestures.
  12. If you want to quickly get to an app that you have used before or close down an app, you will need to use the App Switcher. Just press the Home button twice, 1 finger right flick to move from the newest to the oldest app you’ve accessed (or 1 finger flick left to move back through), and then when your on the app you want to use, just do a 1 finger double tap. If you want to close down an app when your in the App Switcher, just do a 3 finger flick up on any app. To come out of the App Switcher, just press the Home button. When you are in an edit field, doing a 2 finger double tap will start voice dictation, say what you want to dictate, and then another 2 finger double tap to complete dictation and have it appear in your edit field.
  13. Moving between screens: The iPhone comes with two screens of apps.  To move to the second screen of apps from the Main Home screen, do a three finger flick left to scroll the screen to the right.  To move back to the first screen of apps, do a three finger flick right to scroll the screen to the left or press the Home button (bottom middle).
  14. Activating an app (like the Phone app above):  to activate or use an app, 1 finger drag or flick left or right with 1 finger to locate the app (such as Weather), when located 1 finger double tap anywhere on screen to use or activate that app. Once in the app, just like the Home screen, 1 finger drag around screen to explore the app or use the 1 finger flick left or right gesture to also explore he app.  To exit or come out of an app, just press the Home button (bottom middle).
  15. Plugging in headphones:  the headphone jack on the iPhone 5 is on the bottom edge of the iPhone towards the left.  You can adjust the volume of VoiceOver independently of the general speaker volume by using the Volume up or Volume down controls as above.
  16. iPhone battery notification:  When your iPhone is at either 20 or 10 percent charge, it will pop up a message alerting you that it is getting low.  Plug the iPhone in to recharge.  If the iPhone is fully discharged, after you have plugged in to charge, when it wakes up, you will hear two quick vibrations as it powers up.  The lighting cable to charge the iPhone is plugged in to the small lightning connector at the bottom edge of the iPhone in the middle.
  17. Accessibility Short-cut: to allow a non VoiceOver user to easily use your iPhone, you need to enable Accessibility Short-cut.  When this is activated, you can press the Home button (bottom middle) three times to turn VoiceOver on or off when ever you need to.  This is done by activating Settings, General, Accessibility, Accessibility Short-cut, and then selecting VoiceOver.  Once on, press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the Main Home screen.  Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  18. Gesture to mute VoiceOver and turn on screen privacy mode (screen curtain): Three finger tap twice on the screen will turn VoiceOver speech off or on (this is not the same as Triple click where VoiceOver is completely turned off), mentioned hear just as a warning, and avoid if possible.  Screen curtain is useful as it blanks the screen so that no person can see what is on your screen.  To turn this on or off, three finger triple tap: remember, three finger double tap was the speech off or on gesture.
  19. If you want to use VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard rather than having to use the on-screen keyboard, you need to pair or connect to the keyboard in Settings, Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is off, just 1 finger double tap with VoiceOver when it says Bluetooth off. Any Bluetooth devices in range will be brought up in a list, 1 finger double tap on your keyboard name, type in the 4 digit pin number (which is announced by VoiceOver) on your physical Bluetooth keyboard, and press the Enter key. You should now be paired and ready to start using VoiceOver with your Keyboard. If you want to check it’s working, just press the Caps Lock key and you should here: “Caps Lock on” “Caps lock off”. Any time from this point on any time your Bluetooth keyboard comes within 10 meters, it will automatically reconnect. See the section in this Multi-Touch on the iOS VoiceOver Bluetooth keyboard commands.
  20. If you want to use VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) Braille display, you need to pair or connect to the Braille display in Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, Braille. If Bluetooth is off, you will also need to go in to Settings, Bluetooth, just 1 finger double tap with VoiceOver if it says Bluetooth off. Any Bluetooth Braille devices in range will be brought up in a list, 1 finger double tap on your Braille display name, type in the 4 digit pin number (which is announced by VoiceOver) on your Braille display keyboard and press the Enter key. You should now be paired and ready to start using VoiceOver with your Braille display. It’ll be obvious if it is working as what is spoken by VoiceOver will come up on the Braille display. Any time from this point on any time your Bluetooth Braille display comes within 10 meters, it will automatically reconnect. See the section in this Multi-Touch on the iOS VoiceOver Wireless Braille Display commands.
  21. Locking the iPhone: Press the Power button (top right) to lock the iPhone.  The iPhone will automatically lock after 1 minute if the screen is not being touched.
  22. Adjusting the auto lock from 1 minute: as you might come to appreciate, having the screen lock every 1 minute particularly when you’re learning is a pest.  To adjust the time for auto lock: Settings, General, Auto-Lock, and then select 1 (default), 2, 3, 4, 5 or Never.  Press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the main Home screen.  Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  23. Turning off the iPhone (not recommended):  Hold the Power button (top right) in for two seconds.  VoiceOver will announce “Slide to power off” and “slide or double tap” (second message is the VoiceOver hint).  1 finger double tap anywhere on the screen to Power off.  If screen not touched for 30 seconds, screen will lock.  Otherwise, drag 1 finger up from Home button (bottom middle) to find the Cancel button, and then 1 finger double tap anywhere on screen to activate the Cancel button.  The Power off control is towards the top of the screen if you wish to find it by dragging one finger. Just in case you are a bit more in to your iOS device, here is some info on using AirPlay. Using AirPlay (sending audio to AirPlay compatible speakers on the same wifi network as your iOS or oS X device), not only is it great sound, but it leaves your iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch or iPad) or Mac with VoiceOver running through the local speaker. So you can be listening to your favourite podcasts via Downcast on your AirPlay speakers and just keep using VoiceOver locally. This also means you don’t get voiceOver coming over the top of the podcast. AirPlay is accessed either from within an app (Downcast has this button) or you access it via the Control Centre with the 3 finger flick up from the Status line. When you activate the AirPlay button, you’ll see a list of AirPlay speakers on your Wi-Fi network: 1 finger flick right or left through the speaker names, and then just a 1 finger double tap on the speaker you wish to use. If you plug in headphones, AirPlay is turned off and all audio is return to your local device.

For further details please go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Orientation To iPod touch and VoiceOver Tips

These are some tips to help you get up and running with your iPod touch.

First is a physical description of your iPod touch and then the tips to get you up and running with your first iPod touch.

iPod touch physical description

  1. Top edge: right is the rectangular on/off button.
  2. Right edge: no controls.
  3. Bottom edge: from right to left - 3.5mm head phone jack, microphone, lightening connector, and speaker.
  4. Left edge: just below top to rectangular volume up and volume down buttons.
  5. Back: top left rear camera and flash.
  6. Front: from top to bottom - front facing camera, multi-touch screen, and the Home button.

The iPod touch has a metal back and sides.

iPod touch tips

Now for the tips to get you up and running with your first iPod touch.

Number one rule: your iPod touch with VoiceOver running will operate differently to standard iPod touch gestures.  In addition, VoiceOver will speak some items as “real” words when in reality on the screen they may be just symbols.  So just take this in to account when getting assistance from sighted friends and family, and listen to what VoiceOver is saying.

Just a tip between the iOS settings screen in the iPhone/iPod touch verses the iPad or iPad mini screen. In the iPhone/iPod touch, in the Settings screen you can just 1 finger flick left or right through, and then 1 finger double tap to activate an item which then brings up a new screen which contains the items for the category you just 1 finger double tapped on: such as General. On the iPad or iPad mini, whilst you can 1 finger flick left or right through the Settings screen, it doesn’t quite work. This is due to the fact that the actual categories are on the left side of the screen, when you do a 1 finger double tap on a category, the options that make up that category appear on the right hand side of the screen. So what I usually do is touch on the left side of the screen, drag or 1 finger flick to the right down through the categories to get to General, 1 finger double tap on General, touch towards the top middle of the screen, and then 1 finger flick right to move through the items for General.

  1. Turning iPod touch on: hold down power button (top right) for 2 seconds and release.  Takes about 15 seconds for the unlock screen to appear.  VoiceOver announces time.  Screen will lock after 10 seconds if the screen is not touched.
  2. Unlocking the iPod touch from the unlock screen: press the Power button (top right or the Home button bottom middle).  VoiceOver announces the time. Drag 1 finger up from the Home button (bottom middle) just a little.  VoiceOver announces “Slide to unlock” and “Slide or double tap” (2nd message is the VoiceOver hint). 1 finger double tap anywhere on the screen to unlock (you don’t need to drag your finger).  If screen not touched for 15 seconds, screen will lock.  When screen unlocked, you are at the Home screen with rows of apps, and the Status menu at the top.
  3. Basic VoiceOver navigation of the Main Home screen:  1 finger drag around screen to here what is under your finger or 1 finger flick left or right to move item by item left or right around the screen.  1 finger double tap to activate the item you wish to use.  1 finger flick left or right will only move you between the items on the main screen, it will not access the Status menu (see next point), but dragging 1 finger will.  The first row of icons on the main Home screen are: Calendar, Photos, and Camera, with further rows of icons (apps) below this.  At the bottom (of all Home screens), you have 4 apps (icons): Messages, Mail, Safari (web browser), and Music.
  4. Accessing Status menu:  locate the top edge of the iPod touch in the middle, and drag 1 finger down just a little. VoiceOver will announce an item on the Status menu, followed by the announcement “Status bar item” and “Swipe down with three fingers to reveal the Notification centre” or “three finger flick up to access the Control Centre” (second message is the VoiceOver hint).  Once in the Status menu, you can 1 finger flick left or right to move left or right to the items in the Status menu: e.g. Wi-Fi signal strength, time, battery status etc.  1 finger drag or touch anywhere on the screen to take VoiceOver out of the Status menu. Control Centre is where you can turn things on or off easily such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio play controls, AirPlay, orientation lock, etc. Notification Centre does what the name implies, notifications from various apps on your device such as reminders, what is happening today, calendar entries, etc.
  5. Practicing VoiceOver gestures: VoiceOver itself has a practice mode (much like keyboard practice on desktop screen readers) where you can practice all the gestures with out them actually doing anything besides speaking their function:  To do this: Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, VoiceOver Practice, and try out a few of the gestures in this document.  Press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the Main Home screen. In iOS 7 and above, a 4 finger double tap will also bring up VoiceOver practice. VoiceOver practice will also let you explore and find out VoiceOver commands if you are also using VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard or Bluetooth Braille display. In fact, you can actually activate VoiceOver Practice from the keyboard (Control+Option+K) or Braille display (of course with a input keyboard) with Space+k - dos 14). Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  6. Adjusting the volume of VoiceOver: VoiceOver volume is adjusted by using the Volume up and Volume down buttons on the left hand side of the iPod touch just below the top left hand edge. whilst VoiceOver is talking.  Two finger flick up will start VoiceOver talking from the top of the screen, whilst talking, press the Volume up or Volume down buttons to control the volume of VoiceOver.  When finished, a two finger touch on the screen will stop VoiceOver talking (which can be used any time to silence VoiceOver).
  7. Unlike the iPhone which has a vibration (mute) switch on the left hand side just above the volume up button, the iPod touch does not support vibrations. Consequently an app which uses vibrations to get your attention would not work.
  8. 2 finger double tap with VoiceOver will start and stop music playing etc if you have been previously been listening.
  9. Remember that your iPod touch does not have a SIMM card in it for data access for those apps that need to contact the internet. To allow these apps to function correctly, you will need to connect your iPod touch to a Wi-Fi network.
  10. Using touch typing mode: If you would like to speed things up a bit when using the on-screen keypad: rather than 1 finger double tap on a letter, just take your finger off the letter to put the character in to the edit area): for this, you need to use the rotor.  This is rotating or turning two fingers on the screen (like a dial).  Each time you turn the dial, you go to a new option on the rotor.  When you dial to typing, a 1 finger flick up or down will change between standard and touch typing.  You must be on the edit area for typing mode to appear in the rotor.  The rotor also lets you move by such items as character, word etc.  e.g. to spell out one of the icons (apps) on the home screen, two finger dial around to character, and then 1 finger flick up or down will move left or right through the current icon (app) name.  Remember, 1 finger left or right moves to the previous or next item, 1 finger flick up or down moves by the current rotor setting or select something like the desired typing mode. In Other words, the cursor is never on a letter, its always to the left or right of the letter depending on which way you are navigating. By the way, if you do a 1 finger double tap in an edit field, the cursor jumps to the beginning or end of that edit field.
  11. One very exciting option (amongst others) that you can turn on in the rotor is handwriting mode. When this is on, you can write letters etc on the screen with your finger. So when you are in an edit field, you can write letters rather than using the keyboard. When You are in the dial keypad, you can write numbers. When you are on the unlock pin code field, you can write in your pin code and unlike the on-screen keyboard, your characters will not be echoed. When you are on the Home screens (and this is my favourite option for using hand-writing mode) as you start writing each letter, it acts as a search for an app starting with that name in a list which you can then scroll up or down with two fingers, and then 1 finger double tap on the app you want to use. To come out of writing mode any time, just move on the rotor to another option (i.e., two finger rotate).
    If you want to have a play with handwriting plus see what other options you can turn on or off in the rotter including sounds (VoiceOver sounds), speed (rate of Voice) etc, go in to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver (contains the main VoiceOver settings), Rotter, and then select handwriting or any other option by 1 finger double tapping on that option name to select (or unselect. See the section on handwriting for the list of handwriting gestures.
  12. If you want to quickly get to an app that you have used before or close down an app, you will need to use the App Switcher. Just press the Home button twice, 1 finger right flick to move from the newest to the oldest app you’ve accessed (or 1 finger flick left to move back through), and then when your on the app you want to use, just do a 1 finger double tap. If you want to close down an app when your in the App Switcher, just do a 3 finger flick up on any app. To come out of the App Switcher, just press the Home button.
  13. Using Siri (if activated in Settings, General, Siri): hold down the Home button (bottom middle) until you hear an ascending double beep, speak an instruction such as “What is the time”, and Siri after a descending double beep will give you the time.  When Siri is on the screen, two finger double tap will activate Siri with the ascending double beep, speak your instruction, wait for the descending double beep or two finger double tap, and Siri will speak the result of your instruction.  To dismiss Siri, press the Home button (bottom middle). When you are in an edit field, doing a 2 finger double tap will start voice dictation, say what you want to dictate, and then another 2 finger double tap to complete dictation and have it appear in your edit field.
  14. Moving between screens: The iPod touch comes with two screens of apps.  To move to the second screen of apps from the Main Home screen, do a three finger flick left to scroll the screen to the right.  To move back to the first screen of apps, do a three finger flick right to scroll the screen to the left or press the Home button (bottom middle).
  15. Activating an app: to activate or use an app, 1 finger drag or flick left or right with 1 finger to locate the app (such as Weather), when located 1 finger double tap anywhere on screen to use or activate that app. Once in the app, just like the Home screen, 1 finger drag around screen to explore the app or use the 1 finger flick left or right gesture to also explore he app.  To exit or come out of an app, just press the Home button (bottom middle).
  16. Plugging in headphones:  the headphone jack on the iPod touch is on the bottom edge of the iPod touch towards the left.  You can adjust the volume of VoiceOver independently of the general speaker volume by using the Volume up or Volume down controls as above.
  17. iPod touch battery notification:  When your iPod touch is at either 20 or 10 percent charge, it will pop up a message alerting you that it is getting low.  Plug the iPod touch in to recharge.  The lighting cable to charge the iPod touch is plugged in to the small lightning connector at the bottom edge of the iPod touch in the middle.
  18. Accessibility Short-cut:  to allow a non VoiceOver user to easily use your iPod touch, you need to enable Accessibility Short-cut.  When this is activated, you can press the Home button (bottom middle) three times to turn VoiceOver on or off when ever you need to.  This is done by activating Settings, General, Accessibility, Accessibility Short-cut, and then selecting VoiceOver.  Once on, press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the Main Home screen.  Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  19. Gesture to mute VoiceOver and turn on screen privacy mode (screen curtain): Three finger tap twice on the screen will turn VoiceOver speech off or on (this is not the same as Triple click where VoiceOver is completely turned off), mentioned hear just as a warning, and avoid if possible.  Screen curtain is useful as it blanks the screen so that no person can see what is on your screen.  To turn this on or off, three finger triple tap: remember, three finger double tap was the speech off or on gesture.
  20. If you want to use VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard rather than having to use the on-screen keyboard, you need to pair or connect to the keyboard in Settings, Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is off, just 1 finger double tap with VoiceOver when it says Bluetooth off. Any Bluetooth devices in range will be brought up in a list, 1 finger double tap on your keyboard name, type in the 4 digit pin number (which is announced by VoiceOver) on your physical Bluetooth keyboard, and press the Enter key. You should now be paired and ready to start using VoiceOver with your Keyboard. If you want to check it’s working, just press the Caps Lock key and you should here: “Caps Lock on” “Caps lock off”. Any time from this point on any time your Bluetooth keyboard comes within 10 meters, it will automatically reconnect. See the section in this Multi-Touch on the iOS VoiceOver Bluetooth keyboard commands.
  21. If you want to use VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) Braille display, you need to pair or connect to the Braille display in Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, Braille. If Bluetooth is off, you will also need to go in to Settings, Bluetooth, just 1 finger double tap with VoiceOver if it says Bluetooth off. Any Bluetooth Braille devices in range will be brought up in a list, 1 finger double tap on your Braille display name, type in the 4 digit pin number (which is announced by VoiceOver) on your Braille display keyboard and press the Enter key. You should now be paired and ready to start using VoiceOver with your Braille display. It’ll be obvious if it is working as what is spoken by VoiceOver will come up on the Braille display. Any time from this point on any time your Bluetooth Braille display comes within 10 meters, it will automatically reconnect. See the section in this Multi-Touch on the iOS VoiceOver Wireless Braille Display commands.
  22. Locking the iPod touch: Press the Power button (top right) to lock the iPod touch.  The iPod touch will automatically lock after 1 minute if the screen is not being touched.
  23. Adjusting the auto lock from 1 minute: as you might come to appreciate, having the screen lock every 1 minute particularly when you’re learning is a pest.  To adjust the time for auto lock: Settings, General, Auto-Lock, and then select 1 (default), 2, 3, 4, 5 or Never.  Press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the main Home screen.  Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  24. Turning off the iPod touch (not recommended):  Hold the Power button (top right) in for two seconds.  VoiceOver will announce “Slide to power off” and “slide or double tap” (second message is the VoiceOver hint).  1 finger double tap anywhere on the screen to Power off.  If screen not touched for 30 seconds, screen will lock.  Otherwise, drag 1 finger up from Home button (bottom middle) to find the Cancel button, and then 1 finger double tap anywhere on screen to activate the Cancel button.  The Power off control is towards the top of the screen if you wish to find it by dragging one finger. Just in case you are a bit more in to your iOS device, here is some info on using AirPlay. Using AirPlay (sending audio to AirPlay compatible speakers on the same wifi network as your iOS or oS X device), not only is it great sound, but it leaves your iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch or iPad) or Mac with VoiceOver running through the local speaker. So you can be listening to your favourite podcasts via Downcast on your AirPlay speakers and just keep using VoiceOver locally. This also means you don’t get voiceOver coming over the top of the podcast. AirPlay is accessed either from within an app (Downcast has this button) or you access it via the Control Centre with the 3 finger flick up from the Status line. When you activate the AirPlay button, you’ll see a list of AirPlay speakers on your Wi-Fi network: 1 finger flick right or left through the speaker names, and then just a 1 finger double tap on the speaker you wish to use. If you plug in headphones, AirPlay is turned off and all audio is return to your local device. For further details please go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Orientation To iPad and VoiceOver Tips

These are some tips to help you get started with your iPad. First is a physical description of your iPad mini or iPad air and then the 20 tips to get you up and running with your first iPad.

Physical description of iPad mini and iPad Air

Actually, besides the iPad Air having a 9.7 inch screen, and the iPad mini having a 7.9 inch screen, both devices are now exactly the same. Just remember, there are two iPad mini’s: the iPad mini, and the iPad mini with retina (which is the one that equals the iPad air inside where it counts).

  1. Top edge: left 3.5mm ear phone jack, right is the rectangular on/off button.
  2. Right edge: from top to bottom - mute switch, and just below two rectangular volume up and volume down buttons. Then towards the bottom, the cellular card SIMM tray on a Wi-Fi/4g model.
  3. Bottom edge: from right to left - microphone, speaker, lightening connector, and speaker.
  4. Left edge: no controls, of course, this is also where the magnetic smart cover attaches.
  5. Back: top left rear camera and flash. Front: from top to bottom - front facing camera, multi-touch screen, and the Home button.

The iPad air and the iPad mini both have aluminium back and sides.

The iPad mini with retina and the iPad air main specs are: 64 bit processor, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB memory, 17 chip, m7 processor, and both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi/cellular models.

NB Whilst the iPad mini (not the retina one) feels the same on the outside, it is not the same inside, where it equals the iPad 2, which is the other iPad still available. The iPad mini (standard if you like), also only comes in 16GB of memory and is Wi-Fi only: again, the same as the iPad 2.

iPad 2 physical description

  1. Top edge: left 3.5mm ear phone jack, right is the rectangular on/off button.
  2. Right edge: from top to bottom - mute switch, and just below two rectangular volume up and volume down buttons.
  3. Bottom edge: from right to left - microphone, 30 pin connector, and speaker.
  4. Left edge: no controls (SIMM tray towards top if your iPad 2 is a cellar data model).
  5. Back: top left rear camera and flash.
  6. Front: from top to bottom - front facing camera, multi-touch screen, and the Home button.

The iPad 2 has a plastic back and sides.

iPad tips

Now for the tips to get you up and running with your first iPad.

Oh and just in case you were wondering, these instructions are for the iPad whatever it is called (smile).

Number one rule: your iPad with VoiceOver running will operate differently to standard iPad gestures.  In addition, VoiceOver will speak some items as “real” words when in reality on the screen they may be just symbols.  So just take this in to account when getting assistance from sighted friends and family, and listen to what VoiceOver is saying.

Just a tip between the iOS settings screen in the iPhone/iPod touch verses the iPad or iPad mini screen. In the iPhone/iPod touch, in the Settings screen you can just 1 finger flick left or right through, and then 1 finger double tap to activate an item which then brings up a new screen which contains the items for the category you just 1 finger double tapped on: such as General. On the iPad or iPad mini, whilst you can 1 finger flick left or right through the Settings screen, it doesn’t quite work. This is due to the fact that the actual categories are on the left side of the screen, when you do a 1 finger double tap on a category, the options that make up that category appear on the right hand side of the screen. So what I usually do is touch on the left side of the screen, drag or 1 finger flick to the right down through the categories to get to General, 1 finger double tap on General, touch towards the top middle of the screen, and then 1 finger flick right to move through the items for General.

  1. Turning iPad on: hold down power button (top right) for 2 seconds and release.  Takes about 15 seconds for the unlock screen to appear.  VoiceOver announces time.  Screen will lock after 10 seconds if the screen is not touched.
  2. Unlocking the iPad from the unlock screen: press the Power button (top right or the Home button bottom middle).  VoiceOver announces the time. Drag 1 finger up from the Home button (bottom middle) just a little.  VoiceOver announces “Slide to unlock” and “Slide or double tap” (2nd message is the VoiceOver hint). 1 finger double tap anywhere on the screen to unlock (you don’t need to drag your finger).  If screen not touched for 15 seconds, screen will lock.  When screen unlocked, you are at the Home screen with rows of apps, and the Status menu at the top.
  3. Basic VoiceOver navigation of the Main Home screen:  1 finger drag around screen to here what is under your finger or 1 finger flick left or right to move item by item left or right around the screen.  1 finger double tap to activate the item you wish to use.  1 finger flick left or right will only move you between the items on the main screen, it will not access the Status menu (see next point), but dragging 1 finger will.  The first row of icons on the main Home screen are: Calendar, Photos, and Camera, with further rows of icons (apps) below this.  At the bottom (of all Home screens), you have 4 apps (icons): Calendar, Mail, Safari (web browser), and Music.
  4. Accessing Status menu:  locate the top edge of the iPad and drag 1 finger down just a little. VoiceOver will announce an item on the Status menu, followed by the announcement “Status bar item” and “Swipe down with three fingers to reveal the Notification centre” or “Swipe up with three fingers for the Control Centre” (second message is the VoiceOver hint).  Once in the Status menu, you can 1 finger flick left or right to move left or right to the items in the Status menu: e.g. signal strength, time, battery status etc.  1 finger drag or touch anywhere on the screen to take VoiceOver out of the Status menu. Control Centre is where you can turn things on or off easily such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio play controls, AirPlay, orientation lock etc. Notification Centre does what the name implies, notifications from various apps on your device such as reminders, what is happening today, calendar entries etc.
  5. Practicing VoiceOver gestures: VoiceOver itself has a practice mode (much like keyboard practice on desktop screen readers) where you can practice all the gestures with out them actually doing anything besides speaking their function:  To do this: Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, VoiceOver Practice, and try out a few of the gestures in this document.  Press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the Main Home screen. In iOS 7 and above, you can do a four finger double tap to activate the VoiceOver practice as well. VoiceOver practice will also let you explore and find out VoiceOver commands if you are also using VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard or Bluetooth Braille display. In fact, you can actually activate VoiceOver Practice from the keyboard (Control+Option+K) or Braille display (of course with a input keyboard) with Space+k - dots 14). Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  6. Adjusting the volume of VoiceOver: VoiceOver volume is adjusted by using the Volume up and Volume down buttons on the right hand side of the iPad just below the top right hand edge and below the mute switch whilst VoiceOver is talking.  Two finger flick up will start VoiceOver talking from the top of the screen, whilst talking, press the Volume up or Volume down buttons to control the volume of VoiceOver.  When finished, a two finger touch on the screen will stop VoiceOver talking (which can be used any time to silence VoiceOver).
  7. Using Siri (if activated in Settings, General, Siri): hold down the Home button (bottom middle) until you hear an ascending double beep, speak an instruction such as “What is the time”, and Siri after a descending double beep will give you the time.  When Siri is on the screen, two finger double tap will activate Siri with the ascending double beep, speak your instruction, wait for the descending double beep or two finger double tap, and Siri will speak the result of your instruction.  To dismiss Siri, press the Home button (bottom middle). When you are in an edit field, doing a 2 finger double tap will start voice dictation, say what you want to dictate, and then another 2 finger double tap to complete dictation and have it appear in your edit field.
  8. Using touch typing mode: If you would like to speed things up a bit when using the on-screen keypad: rather than 1 finger double tap on a letter, just take your finger off the letter to put the character in to the edit area): for this, you need to use the rotor.  This is rotating or turning two fingers on the screen like a dial.  Each time you turn the dial, you go to a new option on the rotor.  When you dial to typing, a 1 finger flick up or down will change between standard and touch typing.  You must be on the edit area for typing mode to appear in the rotor.  The rotor also lets you move by such items as character, word etc.  e.g. to spell out one of the icons (apps) on the home screen, two finger dial around to character, and then 1 finger flick up or down will move left or right through the current icon (app) name.  Remember, 1 finger left or right moves to the previous or next item, 1 finger flick up or down moves by the current rotor setting or select something like the desired typing mode. In Other words, the cursor is never on a letter, its always to the left or right of the letter depending on which way you are navigating. By the way, if you do a 1 finger double tap in an edit field, the cursor jumps to the beginning or end of that edit field.
  9. One very exciting option (amongst others) that you can turn on in the rotor is handwriting mode. When this is on, you can write letters etc on the screen with your finger. So when you are in an edit field, you can write letters rather than using the keyboard. When You are in the dial keypad, you can write numbers. When you are on the unlock pin code field, you can write in your pin code and unlike the on-screen keyboard, your characters will not be echoed. When you are on the Home screens (and this is my favourite option for using hand-writing mode) as you start writing each letter, it acts as a search for an app starting with that name in a list which you can then scroll up or down with two fingers, and then 1 finger double tap on the app you want to use. To come out of writing mode any time, just move on the rotor to another option (i.e., two finger rotate).
    If you want to have a play with handwriting plus see what other options you can turn on or off in the rotter including sounds (VoiceOver sounds), speed (rate of Voice) etc, go in to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver (contains the main VoiceOver settings), Rotter, and then select handwriting or any other option by 1 finger double tapping on that option name to select or unselect. See the section on handwriting for the list of handwriting gestures.
  10. If you want to quickly get to an app that you have used before or close down an app, you will need to use the App Switcher. Just press the Home button twice, 1 finger right flick to move from the newest to the oldest app you’ve accessed (or 1 finger flick left to move back through), and then when your on the app you want to use, just do a 1 finger double tap. If you want to close down an app when your in the App Switcher, just do a 3 finger flick up on any app. To come out of the App Switcher, just press the Home button.
  11. Moving between screens: The iPad comes with two screens of apps.  To move to the second screen of apps from the Main Home screen, do a three finger flick left to scroll the screen to the right.  To move back to the first screen of apps, do a three finger flick right to scroll the screen to the left or press the Home button (bottom middle).
  12. Use Spotlight to locate apps, music etc on your iPad. To activate Spotlight, touch an icon on your Home screen, and do a three finger flick down. Use the keyboard to type in your search and drag or 1 finger flick left or right to locate the searched items, and then 1 finger double tap to activate. To exist Spotlight itself without doing anything, just press the Home button.
  13. Activating an app - to activate or use an app, 1 finger drag or flick left or right with 1 finger to locate the app (such as Clock), when located 1 finger double tap anywhere on screen to use or activate that app. Once in the app, just like the Home screen, 1 finger drag around screen to explore the app or use the 1 finger flick left or right gesture to also explore he app.  To exit or come out of an app, just press the Home button (bottom middle).
  14. If you want to jump in to an app that is already running on your iPad or you want to make sure an app is not running on your iPad, you can do either of the following once you have pressed the Home button twice to go in to the App Switcher: 1 finger flick left will take you from the most recent to the oldest app that you have accessed on your iPad since you used the App Switcher to clear them. Of course, a 1 finger flick back will move you back through this list. If you want to activate any app, just do a 1 finger double tap to activate the app you want to use. If you want to close down any app in the app switcher list, just do a 3 finger flick up, and the App will be closed.
  15. Yet another faster way of switching between apps or bringing up the App Switcher is to enable Multi-tasking gestures on the iPad. This will allow you when you are in an app to do a 4 finger flick left or right to move to the previous or next app and/or do a 4 finger flick up to access the App Switcher. To enable Multi-tasking gestures Select Settings, General, and turn on Multi-tasking gestures. You can also do a pinch with your thumb and 4 fingers to activate the Home button when your in an app as well.
  16. Plugging in headphones:  the headphone jack on the iPad mini is on the bottom edge of the iPad towards the left.  You can adjust the volume of VoiceOver independently of the general speaker volume by using the Volume up or Volume down controls as above.
  17. iPad battery notification:  When your iPad is at either 20 or 10 percent charge, it will pop up a message alerting you that it is getting low.  Plug the iPad in to recharge.  The lighting cable to charge the iPad is plugged in to the small lightning connector at the bottom edge of the iPad in the middle.
  18. Accessibility short-cut:  to allow a non VoiceOver user to easily use your iPad, you need to enable the Accessibility Short-cut.  When this is activated, you can press the Home button (bottom middle) three times to turn VoiceOver on or off when ever you need to.  This is done by activating Settings, General, Accessibility, Accessibility Short-cut, and then selecting VoiceOver.  Once on, press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the Main Home screen.  Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  19. Gesture to mute VoiceOver and turn on screen privacy mode (screen curtain): Three finger tap twice on the screen will turn VoiceOver speech off or on (this is not the same as the Accessibility Short-cut where VoiceOver is completely turned off), mentioned hear just as a warning, and avoid if possible.  Screen curtain is useful as it blanks the screen so that no person can see what is on your screen.  To turn this on or off, three finger triple tap: remember, three finger double tap was the speech off or on gesture.
  20. One thing I like to do is to change the function of the Mute switch on the iPad to lock or unlock orientation. This means when you turn the iPad sideways, upside down or wright way up, if orientation is locked, the iPad will stay in that orientation and you won’t get VoiceOver saying all the time “landscape, Home button on right”, “landscape, Home button on Left” etc. To change the mute switch to the orientation lock switch as it were, Select Settings, General, and select change slide selector switch to orientation lock.
  21. If you want to use VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) keyboard rather than having to use the on-screen keyboard, you need to pair or connect to the keyboard in Settings, Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is off, just 1 finger double tap with VoiceOver when it says Bluetooth off. Any Bluetooth devices in range will be brought up in a list, 1 finger double tap on your keyboard name, type in the 4 digit pin number (which is announced by VoiceOver) on your physical Bluetooth keyboard, and press the Enter key. You should now be paired and ready to start using VoiceOver with your Keyboard. If you want to check it’s working, just press the Caps Lock key and you should here: “Caps Lock on” “Caps lock off”. Any time from this point on any time your Bluetooth keyboard comes within 10 meters, it will automatically reconnect. See the section in this Multi-Touch on the iOS VoiceOver Bluetooth keyboard commands.
  22. If you want to use VoiceOver with a wireless (Bluetooth) Braille display, you need to pair or connect to the Braille display in Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, Braille. If Bluetooth is off, you will also need to go in to Settings, Bluetooth, just 1 finger double tap with VoiceOver if it says Bluetooth off. Any Bluetooth Braille devices in range will be brought up in a list, 1 finger double tap on your Braille display name, type in the 4 digit pin number (which is announced by VoiceOver) on your Braille display keyboard and press the Enter key. You should now be paired and ready to start using VoiceOver with your Braille display. It’ll be obvious if it is working as what is spoken by VoiceOver will come up on the Braille display. Any time from this point on any time your Bluetooth Braille display comes within 10 meters, it will automatically reconnect. See the section in this Multi-Touch on the iOS VoiceOver Wireless Braille Display commands.
  23. Locking the iPad: Press the Power button (top right) to lock the iPad.  The iPad will automatically lock after 1 minute if the screen is not being touched.
  24. Adjusting the auto lock from 1 minute: as you might come to appreciate, having the screen lock every 1 minute particularly when you’re learning is a pest.  To adjust the time for auto lock: Settings, General, Auto-Lock, and then select 1 (default), 2, 3, 4, 5 or Never.  Press the Home button (bottom middle) to return to the main Home screen.  Remember, you can navigate to all of these items by 1 finger drag or flick left or right to locate each item, and then a 1 finger double tap to select an item.  Tip: touching the screen with 4 fingers at the top will jump the voiceOver focus to the top most item on the screen which in the Setting screens is the Back button to go back a screen, 1 finger double tap as usual to activate this if you wish to go back a screen, and of course, 4 finger touch at the bottom of the screen moves the VoiceOver focus to the last item on the screen.
  25. Turning off the iPad (not recommended):  Hold the Power button (top right) in for two seconds.  VoiceOver will announce “Slide to power off” and “slide or double tap” (second message is the VoiceOver hint).  1 finger double tap anywhere on the screen to Power off.  If screen not touched for 30 seconds, screen will lock.  Otherwise, drag 1 finger up from Home button (bottom middle) to find the Cancel button, and then 1 finger double tap anywhere on screen to activate the Cancel button.  The Power off control is towards the top of the screen if you wish to find it by dragging one finger. Just in case you are a bit more in to your iOS device, here is some info on using AirPlay. Using AirPlay (sending audio to AirPlay compatible speakers on the same wifi network as your iOS or oS X device), not only is it great sound, but it leaves your iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch or iPad) or Mac with VoiceOver running through the local speaker. So you can be listening to your favourite podcasts via Downcast on your AirPlay speakers and just keep using VoiceOver locally. This also means you don’t get voiceOver coming over the top of the podcast. AirPlay is accessed either from within an app (Downcast has this button) or you access it via the Control Centre with the 3 finger flick up from the Status line. When you activate the AirPlay button, you’ll see a list of AirPlay speakers on your Wi-Fi network: 1 finger flick right or left through the speaker names, and then just a 1 finger double tap on the speaker you wish to use. If you plug in headphones, AirPlay is turned off and all audio is return to your local device.

For further details please go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Using Voice Dictation

Got you - Yes, we’re talking about Siri (smile).

I always like to think of the functionality of Siri in two ways: the personal assistant to get things done, and voice recognition to allow me to dictate in to any edit area on my iOS device where ever the onscreen keyboard appears.

You can turn on Siri (if you have not already turned it on ) in Settings, General, Siri.

The way Siri works with VoiceOver is:

  1. Hold down the Home button until you hear a double beep,
  2. Speak your Command and then wait for the double beep again or do a 2 finger double tap to say you have completed your command,
  3. Once the Siri interface is on the screen, a 2 finger double tap will start Siri listening again etc,
  4. To dismiss Siri all together, just press the Home button.

Rather than just going through a boring list of Siri commands, I thought I’d just go through the types of things I use Siri for on a daily basis.

Even though I have an alarm set up on my iPhone to wake me up at 6 during the week, if I have to get up earlier to travel or I need to get up early on the week end, I usually use Siri to set the alarm for me: Simply “set alarm for 5AM, and just to make things tidy when that alarm is no longer required, “clear alarm for 5am”.

I like to listen to a bit of the radio when I first get up, so I ask Siri to “launch ABC Radio: and I’m off and listening to the breakfast show on 702 ABC Sydney.

Just before I leave for work, I always feel better about the day if I have asked “What is the Weather like today in Gosford”.

As I like to keep track of where I am on my bus trip to work: “give me directions to work”: and I can just listen to my turns spoken out loud.

When I am at work, Siri gets used most of the time to make Calendar entries, set reminders, make quick notes, look up and/or dial people, and send iMessages.

When I am back at home, I ask Siri to set the timer for XX minutes to time dinner for the family.

As far as dictation goes, any time I’m in an edit field, I can just do a 2 finger double tap using VoiceOver to start voice dictation, speak, and then 2 finger double tap again to complete the dictation.

For further details please go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Voice Synthesizers in iOS

Just a note for VoiceOver users, you’ll notice that audio ducking will occur when you’re playing audio and VoiceOver starts to talk: i.e. the audio will duck down to a lower volume, and then come back up again once VoiceOver has finished talking. This allows you to concentrate more on what Voiceover is saying.

The voices in iOS are used by both the operating systems built in speech, and VoiceOver.

Quite a lot of voices come pre-installed, a number of compressed voices which you can download the higher quality versions of (such as Karen) for Australia.

The speech operations that iOS supports itself is to speak highlighted text, speak auto corrections and capitalisations, speak out items when using the switch scanning operation, and provides the voice of course for Siri.

To have a look at the speech options for iOS, go in to Settings, General, Accessibility, Speak Selection. Here you will find: Speak Selection toggle (a speak button will appear when you select text), a button to select what Voice you want to use for Speak Selection (this is also where you go to download the higher quality voices which VoiceOver can also use), a slider to adjust the speaking rate (this will not effect VoiceOver),and a Highlight words toggle as they are spoken.

The nice thing about all of these speech options, is that they are completely independent of using VoiceOver. I.e. you don’t have to use a full blown screen reader to get speech feedback on your iOS device.

In addition, many applications that support text to speech on iOS can use the built in voices as well.

If you want to add or adjust voices in VoiceOver directly. Make sure VoiceOver is running either via the Accessibility Short-Cut (Home button 3 times) or go in and turn it on in Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, and tick VoiceOver (warning, this will change your gestures for iOS). In the VoiceOver panel, select Languages & Dialects, and choose your language/dialect.

Tip: if you add several voices to your VoiceOver rotor, you can change on the fly as it were anytime you want to change voices. I.e. two finger rotate around to Languages on your VoiceOver rotor, 1 finger flick up or down to change to another voice/language.

One thing I should point out for VoiceOver users in particular, is that VoiceOver will use the default voice for your region. So here in Australia, when you get a new iOS device, the default voice will be the compressed Karen voice.

What you will notice with the compressed Karen voice, is that it will chop off the end of words. I’d suggest you download the higher quality voice version of Karen or any other voice, and turn off Compress Voice in the VoiceOver panel.

Just keep in mind that each of the higher quality voices will use about 200MB each.

I haven’t checked this with the other language voices, but with the English language voices, you only get one voice synthesiser per language, unlike Mac OS X where you can get several voices per language.

Note - just in case it hasn’t become obvious, the voices that you use either in VoiceOver or iOS speech, can share the same voices.

The list of voice synthesiser languages is quite extensive with various dialects and female or male voices including: English, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.

Stating the obvious, you need to be connected to the internet (Wi-Fi) to download these higher quality voices from the Apple Servers.

Here is a list of the english female/male voices:

  1. English Australia Karen. Lee.
  2. English Ireland Moira.
  3. English South Africa Tessa.
  4. United Kingdom Male Daniel.
  5. English United States Female Samantha.

For further details please go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Back to top of Chapter 10 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 11: iOS/VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands and Gestures

General iOS (iPod touch, iPhone or iPad) BT keyboard commands and specific VoiceOver BT keyboard commands/gestures.

iOS Bluetooth Keyboard Commands

If you use an iOS device for any type of writing, you probably use Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. Here is a list of some of the more common keyboard commands.

Bluetooth Keyboard Shortcuts for Controlling Device Settings:

F1 - decreases the brightness on the device screen

F2 - increases the brightness on the device screen Space Bar - when your screen has gone to sleep will wake it up.

If you want to play some iPod app music in the background while you type

F8 - play or pause media

F9 - navigate forwards for media playing, next song

F7 - navigate backwards for media playing, previous song

F10 - mutes the media

F11 - decrease the volume for the media playing

F12 - increase the volume for the media playing Option (or Cmd or Shift or Cntrl) + F9 - skips to the next album Option (or Cmd or Shift or Cntrl)+ F7 - returns to the previous album

Bluetooth Keyboard Shortcuts for Selecting Text or Moving within text paragraph or document:

Cmd A - Select All

Cmd C - Copy Text

Cmd X - Cut

Cmd V - Paste

Option + Delete - delete entire words one at a time to the left of the cursor Cmd Z - Undo Shift + Cmd + Z - redo

Shift + Right Arrow - selects/deselects letter by letter moving to the right Shift + Left Arrow - selects/deselects letter by letter moving to the left Shift + Up Arrow - selects/deselects text when moving up Shift + Down Arrow - selects/deselects text when moving down Option + Shift + Right Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text word by word when moving right Option + Shift + Left Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text word by word when moving left Option + Shift + Up Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text line by line when moving up Option + Shift + Down Arrow - allows you to select/deselect text line by line when moving down

Cmd + Up Arrow - move the cursor to the beginning of document Cmd + Down Arrow - move the cursor to the end of document (also works with Cntrl) Cmd + Right Arrow - move the cursor to the end of the line (also works with Cntrl) Cmd + Left Arrow - move to the beginning of the line

Tab - indents the text

Right, Left, Up and Down Arrows - will move the cursor in the body of the text Eject Button (top row right-hand side of keyboard) - disconnects Bluetooth keyboard to allow accessing the virtual keyboard.

VoiceOver iOS Gestures

The following is a description of the VoiceOver gestures for use on the iPod touch, iPad or iPhone.

Remember, you can practice VoiceOver gestures (with VoiceOver running) by going to: Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, VoiceOver practice.

Navigate and read VoiceOver iOS Gestures

Tap: Speak item.

Flick right or left: Select the next or previous item.

Flick up or down: depends on the Rotor Control setting.

Operate the rotor:  Rotate two fingers on the iPhone screen around a point between them. The rotor control is a virtual dial that you can use to change the results of up and down flick gestures when VoiceOver is turned on. The effect of the rotor setting depends on what you’re doing. If you’re reading text in an email you received, you can use the rotor to switch between hearing text spoken word-by-word or character-by-character when you flick up or down. If you’re browsing a webpage, you can use the rotor setting to hear all the text (either word-by-word or character-by-character), or to jump from one element to another of a certain type, such as headers or links.

Two-finger tap: Stop speaking the current item.

Two-finger flick up: Read all from the top of the screen.

Two-finger flick down: Read all from the current position.

Two-finger “scrub”: Move two fingers back and forth three times quickly (making a “z”) to dismiss an alert or go back to the previous screen.

Two-finger triple tap: Open the Item Chooser.

Three-finger flick up or down: Scroll one page at a time.

Three-finger flick right or left: Go to the next or previous page (such as the Home screen, Stocks, or Safari).

Three-finger tap: Speak additional information, such as position within a list or whether text is selected.

Four-finger tap at top of screen: Select the first item on the page.

Four-finger tap at bottom of screen: Select the last item on the page.

Activate VoiceOver iOS Gestures

1 Finger Double-tap: Activate the selected item.

1 Finger Triple-tap: Double-tap an item.

Split-tap: An alternative to selecting an item and double-tapping is to touch an item with one finger, then tap the screen with another to activate an item. Touch an item with one finger, tap the screen with another finger (“split-tapping”): Activate the item.

1 Finger Double-tap and hold (1 second) + standard gesture: Use a standard gesture. The double-tap and hold gesture tells iPhone to interpret the subsequent gesture as standard. For example, you can double-tap and hold, then without lifting your finger, drag your finger to slide a switch.

Two-finger double-tap: Answer or end a call. Play or pause in Music, Videos, YouTube, Voice Memos, or Photos. Take a photo (Camera). Start or pause recording in Camera or Voice Memos. Start or stop the stopwatch.

Two-finger double-tap and hold: Open the element labeller.

Two-finger triple-tap: Open the Item Chooser.

Three-finger double-tap: Mute or un mute VoiceOver.

Three-finger triple-tap: Turn the screen curtain on or off.

In iOS 7 you can use a four finger double tap to activate VoiceOver practice. You can also use a four finger triple tap to copy the last spoken item to the clipboard.

I have done various demos on VoiceOver gestures, go to my podcast website for more information http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

VoiceOver Handwriting Gestures

The VoiceOver handwriting mode must first be turned on to then be available from the VoiceOver Rotor.

Go in to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, rotor, and 1 finger double tap on handwriting to select it (this is where you can select or unselect other rotor settings). Once finished, press the Home button to return to the Home screen.

Now access the rotor by the two finger rotate (as if you were turning a dial) until you hear handwriting: you will hear VoiceOver say “lower case”: you have now activated handwriting and you can start writing lower case print letters.

Two come out of handwriting, just do a two finger rotate with the rotor to another setting.

If you do a three finger flick down you will cycle through the options of being able to write on the screen (starring from lower case mode), uppercase, Numbers, punctuation, and back to lower case. Of course, three finger flick up will cycle you back through.

Each time you successfully write a letter for example, VoiceOver will say the letter.

When writing in to an edit field:

  1. Two finger flick left: back space. 2 Two finger flick right: space.
  2. Three finger flick right: newline.

When on the Home screen, as you start writing letters, VoiceOver will bring up a list of apps starting with that letter or letters: i.e. the more letters you type, the shorter the list.

Two finger flick up or down: moves up or down the list.

Two finger flick left: deletes the last letter.

1 finger double tap: activates that app (when the app is launched, you are taken out of handwriting).

When your in the Phone Keypad dialling field, you will be automatically put in Numbers when you select handwriting, so you can just start writing your telephone number to dial, two finger rotate to come out of handwriting and then select the Call button.

When your in the pin number unlock field, when you select handwriting you will be in numbers, so just start writing in your pin, when your pin is in, screen will unlock and you will be taken to the Home screen and handwriting mode off.

When your in Safari and you activate handwriting, you can write in the different letters for web navigation such as:

  1. l: Links.
  2. h: Headers.
  3. f: Form controls.
  4. b: buttons.

Each time you write one of the above letters, VoiceOver will say that element name.

To then navigate by these elements on the screen, just do a 3 finger flick down or up to move down or up the screen by your chosen element.

Two finger rotate will take you out of handwriting.

I have done a demo on using VoiceOver Handwriting gestures - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands

The following is a description of the VoiceOver Bluetooth keyboard commands for use on the iPod touch, iPad or iPhone.

Remember, you can practice VoiceOver Bluetooth keyboard commands (with VoiceOver running and the Bluetooth keyboard connected) by going to: Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, VoiceOver practice on your iOS device, and then using the Bluetooth keyboard. Otherwise, on the Bluetooth keyboard itself, press Control+Option+K for keyboard help, explore the keyboard by pressing keys or trying out some VoiceOver commands, and then press the Escape key on the keyboard to exit.

VO = Control-Option

General Navigation VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands

Read all, starting from the current position = VO–A

Read from the top = VO–B

Move to the status bar = VO–M

Press the Home button = VO–H

Select the next or previous item = VO–Right Arrow or VO–Left Arrow

Tap an item = VO–Space bar

Double-tap with two fingers = VO–”-”

Choose the next or previous rotor item = VO–Up Arrow or VO–Down Arrow

Choose the next or previous speech rotor item = VO–Command–Left Arrow or VO–Command–Right Arrow

Adjust speech rotor item = VO–Command–Up Arrow or VO–Command–Down Arrow

Mute or unmute VoiceOver = VO–S

Turn the screen curtain on or off = VO–Shift-S

Turn on VoiceOver help = VO–K

Return to the previous screen, or turn off VoiceOver help = Escape

Quick Nav VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands

Turn on Quick Nav to control VoiceOver using the arrow keys. Quick Nav is off by default.

Turn Quick Nav on or off = Left Arrow–Right Arrow

Select the next or previous item = Right Arrow or Left Arrow

Select the next or previous item specified by the rotor setting = Up Arrow or Down Arrow

Select the first or last item = Control–Up Arrow or Control–Down Arrow

"Tap” an item = Up Arrow–Down Arrow

Scroll up, down, left, or right = Option–Up Arrow, Option–Down Arrow, Option–Left Arrow, or Option–Right Arrow

Rotor VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands

Up Arrow–Left Arrow or Up Arrow–Right Arrow

You can also use the number keys on an Apple Wireless Keyboard to dial a phone number in Phone or enter numbers in Calculator.

Single Letter Quick Nav for the Web VoiceOver Bluetooth Keyboard Commands

When you view a web page with Quick Nav enabled, you can use the following keys on the keyboard to navigate the page quickly. Typing the key moves to the next item of the indicated type. Hold the Shift key as you type the letter to move to the previous item:

  1. H = Heading
  2. L = Link
  3. R = Text field
  4. B = Button
  5. C = Form control
  6. I = Image
  7. T = Table 8 S = Static text
  8. W = ARIA landmark
  9. X = List
  10. M = Element of the same type
  11. 1 = Level 1 heading
  12. 2 = Level 2 heading
  13. 3 = Level 3 heading
  14. 4 = Level 4 heading
  15. 5 = Level 5 heading
  16. 6 = Level 6 heading

I have done various demos on VoiceOver bluetooth keyboard commands - go to my podcast website http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

iOS VoiceOver Braille Keyboard Commands

When using a Braille display with VoiceOver in iOS, your Braille display may support the following commands to help with navigation.

You will notice a lot of similarity between these iOS Braille keyboard commands and Mac Braille keyboard commands, but there are a few differences.

Consult the manual that came with your Braille Notetaker for more specific commands, specifically for iOS in accessing Control Centre, Notifications Centre, etc.

VoiceOver action

Dot 1 + Spacebar = Move to previous item

Dot 4 + Spacebar = Move to next item

Dot 3 + Spacebar = Move to previous item using rotor setting

Dot 6 + Spacebar = Move to next item using rotor setting

Dot 23 + Spacebar = Select previous rotor setting

Dot 5 + Spacebar = Select next rotor setting

Dot 123 + Spacebar = Move to the first element

Dot 456 + Spacebar = Move to the last element

Dot 1235 + Spacebar = Read page starting at selected item

Dot 2456 + Spacebar = Read page starting at the top

Dot 125 + Spacebar = Activates the Home button

Dot 234 + Spacebar = Go to the status bar

Dot 345 + Spacebar = Activates the Volume Up button

Dot 126 + Spacebar = Activates the Volume Down button

Dot 12 + Spacebar = Activates the Back button if present

Dot 146 + Spacebar = Activates the Eject key

Dot 7 + Spacebar = Activates the Delete key

Dot 145 + Spacebar = Activates the Delete key

Dot 8 + Spacebar = Activates the Return key

Dot 15 + Spacebar = Activates the Return key

Dot 2345 + Spacebar = Activates the Tab key

Dot 123456 + Spacebar = Toggle Screen Curtain on and off

Dot 1234 + Spacebar = Pause or continue speech

Dot 134 + Spacebar = Toggle speech on and off

Dot 34 + Spacebar = Speak page number or rows being displayed

Dot 3456 + Spacebar = Scroll up one page

Dot 1456 + Spacebar = Scroll down one page

Dot 246 + Spacebar = Scroll left one page

Dot 135 + Spacebar = Scroll right one page

Dot 236 + Spacebar = Deselect text

Dot 256 + Spacebar = Select text

Dot 236 + Spacebar = Select all

Dot 1346 + Spacebar = Cut

Dot 14 + Spacebar = Copy

Dot 1236 + Spacebar = Paste

Dot 1356 + Spacebar = Undo typing

Dot 2346 + Spacebar = Redo typing

Dot 2 + Spacebar = Pan Braille to the left

Dot 5 + Spacebar = Pan Braille to the right

Dot 1345 + Spacebar = Toggle announcement history

Dot 1245 + Spacebar = Switch between contracted and uncontracted Braille

Back to top of Chapter 11 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 12: What iOS device is best?

I am asked a lot on which is the best iOS device to use. And it really comes down to the individual, how much eye sight you have and what you want to do with the technology. The following are some considerations to think about.

  1. For a person who is blind the larger screen of the iPad may not be appropriate since there is more screen to deal with than that of an iPod touch/iPhone. However, for some, the larger screen layout makes more sense: particularly when wanting to get an idea of the layout of an application or webpage. For this reason, also keep in mind the iPad mini.
  2. If the user wanted to take advantage of the camera for Optical Character Recognition, then the latest iPhone is the best solution at the moment since the camera in the iPod touch, iPad etc are not really suitable for OCR.
  3. Consider the support mechanisms around the person using the iOS device, is there support?
  4. At the moment there does not seem to be any applications that will just run on the iPad and which is a much use for screen reader (VoiceOver) users. However, as textbook applications take advantage of the iPad and which are accessible, this would be a reason to recommend an iPad if there was no other accessible way of accessing the textbook.
  5. Quite a number of applications on the App Store are universal, and will run both on the smaller iOS devices as well as the iPad (taking advantage of the bigger screen).
  6. Both the iPhone 4s/later and the iPad 2/later can mirror what is on the screen to a HDMI compatible TV. Consequently the image on the TV screen will be bigger and may be easier to look/use from either device.
  7. Cameras in the iPod touch, iPhone and the iPad can all be used as electronic magnifiers or the zoom function in the camera app can be used for distance viewing. The larger screen in the iPad may be more appropriate for trying to view text. The latest iPhone does have the best optics, when combined with a HDMI tv, may prove to be a good solution for zooming in from the camera.
  8. For a person with low vision, using the iPad may be easier as items on the screen are better laid out and not so squashed. In addition, if they are using screen magnification (Zoom), they may be able to get away with using a low magnification setting and thus be able to see more on the screen.
  9. The iPad is less portable than the smaller iOS devices, and some people may find it harder to hold in their hand. Of course, they could always put the iPad on the desk or get an iPad mini.
  10. For a person with low vision, the iPad (due to its bigger screen) lends itself extremely well to drawing, colouring in, hand writing applications, etc.
  11. You can use a Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard on all iOS devices. In addition, you can get cases with a built-in keyboard for both the smaller iOS devices, as well as the iPad and iPad mini. Although the iPhone 5 case/keyboard I have is almost impossible to type on, and the keys are very close together.
  12. If a Person wanted to just use the on screen keyboard on an iOS device and have their fingers in the touch typing positions, then the larger screen on the iPad does lend itself to this situation very well.
  13. Some people find it easier to perform gestures on the bigger iPad screen than the much smaller iPod touch or iPhone screen.
  14. If 3g access is a priority, the iPhone, iPad 3g/wifi or iPad mini 3g/wifi s available. The iPod touch is only wifi.
  15. Siri (personal assistant) for controlling iOS by your voice, carrying out tasks is available on the latest versions of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad/iPad mini.
  16. Any of the iOS devices are not a replacement for a laptop or desktop computer, particularly for a person who is blind. OCR is still difficult, you cannot create/navigate tables in a document, and advanced formatting is still difficult.
  17. A device such as an iPod touch (or the iPad mini) can be a wonderful add on to a person’s tools, particularly for school.
  18. Using iOS for reading audio books has a limitation in its ability to locate chapters/pages/paragraphs. Using the Daisy software or Bookshare App will eliminate this problem.
  19. Sharing documents from non iOS devices/computers is easiest done via email as there are no SD or USB ports on any of the devices.
  20. Sharing documents between one user’s iOS devices can be done by connecting via the laptop/desktop with iTunes or email. iOS Cloud eliminates the issue of file sharing between one users devices as it can sync all devices.

Back to top of Chapter 12 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 13: My Favourite iOS Apps

These are some iOS (iPod touch, iPhone or iPad) App Store apps that I have come across to get you started, and that work reasonably well with VoiceOver.

book apps

Audible

This app is great for listening to Audible audio books on your iOS device. Just remember that you can only download books that are already in your library at audible.com. i.e. you can’t purchase books from within the app: its download only. At last count, I had 200 Audio books.

Audible iOS App Store download link

iBooks Store

I still remember when the iBooks Store first became available on iOS, I thought it was Christmas. You can purchase and download books from with the app. At last count I had just over 520 books. iBooks Store iOS App Store download link

Kindle

The Kindle app first became accessible in mid 2013, and like the Audible app, you can only download books that are already in your Kindle library which you can add to by just going to amazon.com. At last count, I have 350 Kindle eBooks.

Kindle iOS App Store download link

Read2go

According to the App Store, Read2go is an educational app, but since I think its also a book reader app, I’ve stuck it here as well (besides being in the Educational app section). I mainly use it for listening to daisy books and newspapers from the Vision Australia library.

Read2go iOS App Store download link

Business apps

Australia Post Mobile

Great for looking up post codes - if you read previous chapters, you know this is near and dear to me.

Australia Post Mobile iOS App Store download link

Outlook Mail Pro

This is how I check my Outlook mail at work.

Outlook Mail Pro iOS App Store download link

Game apps

AudioRun

Jump from roof top to roof top through a city without falling. I know, fairly brainless, but it is just fun to play.

AudioRun iOS App Store download link

Aurifi

Explore sound, movement, and music.

Aurifi iOS App Store download link

Blind Side

Fantastic adventure all done through sound. You are a professor who wakes up and you and your girl friend cannot see. Can you avoid the monsters and escape. Now this game is very very cool to play.

Blind Side iOS App Store download link

De Steno Games

Several old PC games come to iOS: Blackjack, Casino, Dodge City, Destination Mars, Run for President, and Sounds Like. Just feels like you are playing a very very old PC game.

De Steno Games iOS App Store download link

Frotz

Text adventures on your iOS device. Now this one did bring back memories.

Frotz iOS App Store download link 4?mt=8)

Naval Combat

The classic Battleship game: sink the computer or other players ships by guessing their positions on the board.

Naval Combat iOS App Store download link

Papa Sangre

Rescue the sole from Papa Sangre. Great audio adventure.

Papa Sangre iOS App Store download link

Stem Stumper

Get fertiliser and kill the angry acorn’s.

Stem Stumper iOS App Store download link

TappyTunes

Pick a well old melody and tap to try and keep the rhythm. My grand daughter loves this one.

TappyTunes iOS App Store download link

Tic Tac Toe Score

Drag your finger around the grid to make sense of the game.

Tic Tac Toe Score iOS App Store download link

Where’s My Rubber Ducky

Help the blind person “Jim” to kill all the Zombies who stole his Rubber Ducky by using just your ears. Requires that your iOS device has a GPS and compass. Your either shooting or cutting to peaces the Zombies, so this is a fairly violent game. However, a good example like Blind Side to show how a purely audio game can be developed and played. Just e careful you don’t spin around to much and loose your orientation (I have grin).

Where’s My Rubber Ducky iOS App Store download link

Zani Touch

Bop-It style game: touch it, pinch it, shake it etc.

Zani Touch iOS App Store download link

Education apps

Read2Go

According to the App Store, Read2go is an educational app, but since I think its also a book reader app, I’ve stuck it it in the Book section as well. I mainly use it for listening to daisy books and newspapers from the Vision Australia library.

Read2Go iOS App Store download link

ViA from the Braille Institute

Find apps that have been specifically designed for people who are blind or low vision.

ViA from the Braille Institute iOS App Store download link

Entertainment apps

ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Commission)

Watch, catch up, and more from ABC Television.

ABC iView (Australian Broadcasting Commission iOS App Store download link

BBC iPlayer Global

Watch content from the BBC.

BBC iPlayer Global iOS App Store download link

Foxtel Guide

Look up what is on Foxtel, and with Foxtel IQ via your account, change and record shows,actually works quite well.

Foxtel Guide iOS App Store download link

Is it Dark Outside?

Tells you whether it should be dark or not based on your GPS position. Actually this came in handy when I went to New Zealand this year.

Is it Dark Outside iOS App Store download link

Podcasts

Podcasts app from Apple itself. Search, subscribe, and listen to podcasts all from within the app (can either stream or download the podcasts).

Podcasts iOS App Store download link

Remote

Control iTunes on your Mac or Apple TV. Now this app is great as I can check how much time is left on a movie that the children are watching on the Apple TV in their play room.

Remote iOS App Store download link

TWIT

This Week In Tech. When I get up early enough, I like to listen to the TWIT programs live such as Tech News Today, MacBreak Weekly, iFive for the iPhone, and iPad Today.

TWIT iOS App Store download link

Health and Fitness apps

eSleep

Actually quite nice gentle sounds to relax by.

eSleep iOS App Store download link

White Noise

Use sounds like wind, trains, traffic etc to block out other noises. This comes in handy when you’re trying to block out noise on a flight.

White Noise iOS App Store download link

Zombies Run!

Go on various missions and try and avoid the Zombies whilst you’re running. This is the app I use all the time when running on my treadmill.

Zombies Run iOS App Store download link

Life Style apps

Apple Store

Locate your nearest Apple Store, and search/purchase products. Sort of sadly, this one gets used a fair bit (smile).

Apple Store iOS App Store download link

White Pages Australia

Looking up phone numbers and address’s in Australia.

White Pages Australia iOS App Store download link

Yellow Pages Australia

Same deal, looking up phone numbers and address’s in Australia.

Yellow Pages Australia iOS App Store download link

Medical apps

I have to say I can’t actually understand this category, and the apps that are in it, have nothing to do with medical conditions (at least for the apps I have here).

BlindSquare

GPS app specifically designed for people who are blind, integrates with 4Square and 3rd party products.

BlindSquare iOS App Store download link

VisionAssist

Use your iOS camera like a video (CCTV) magnifier.

VisionAssist iOS App Store download link

Music apps

Downcast

Great podcast downloader/streaming app, and since Downcast is also on the Mac now and they both use iCloud, its great.

Downcast iOS App Store download link

ooTunes Radio recording and alarm clock

Great way of listening to radio stations around the world.

ooTunes iOS App Store download link

Productivity apps

AccessWorld

Access World from American Foundation for the Blind tech magazine which I read all the time.

AccessWorld iOS App Store download link

Dropbox

Well we should all know what this one is, file sharing between devices or in my case between my iOS devices and my Macs.

Dropbox iOS App Store download link

Dropvox

Record memo notes quickly to dropbox: just a button to start and stop recording and the file is then saved.

Dropvox iOS App Store download link

Fleksy VO

Pattern recognition keyboard app - game changer for people who are blind and need to type on the on-screen keyboard.

Fleksy VO iOS App Store download link id520337246?mt=8)

Pages

As this is the companion app to the Mac, it is very easy to share files between all of my devices.

Pages iOS App Store download link

Single Text

Share quick notes between your iOS devices and the Mac (need to install Single Text for the Mac: has info in apps store concerning website).

Single Text iOS App Store download link

VoiceBrief

Listen to your Twitter, Facebook, feeds, Gmail etc via audio.

VoiceBrief iOS App Store download link

Social Networking apps

Find My Friends

Lets you find your friends via your iOS device to theirs upon request for permanent or temporary tracking based on your iCloud Apple ID. I use this one to let me know where my partner is when she is leaving to pick me up from work after my boys after school activities.

Find My Friends iOS App Store download link

Skype

Another commonly used app: audio, video, and text chat client.

Skype iOS App Store download link

Twitter

The official app from Twitter

Twitter iOS App Store download link

TweetList

A great Twitter client for Twitter.

TweetList iOS App Store download link

Travel apps

Ariadne GPS

This is a great app for quickly finding out where you are, and setting Points Of Interest (POI) anywhere you like.

Ariadne GPS iOS App Store download link

NAVIGON MobileNavigator Australia

This is a full blown GPS app with text to speech turn by turn navigation. I tend to use this one on the bus on my way to work, and used it by downloading the maps when I visited New Zealand this year. I became the navigator for out group.

NAVIGON MobileNavigator Australia iOS App Store download link

TripView Sydney

Great app for checking bus, train and ferry times plus stops, timetabling, setting alarms etc. I like this app particularly as it tells me what platform the train is leaving from.

TripView Sydney iOS App Store download link

Utility apps

aidColors

Identifies colours. Although with most colourapps, I think it depends on the amount of light etc on the item being checked.

[aidColors iOS App Store download link](http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/aidcolors/id365495704?mt=8 5591358?mt=8)

Find My iPhone

Find your iPhone by another iOS device, and send a message, play a sound or remote wipe the device. I use this app all the time to try and find where in the house my boys have put their iPhones or iPads down (usually under a cushion somewhere). The sound certainly gets your attention.

Find My iPhone iOS App Store download link

Green Charging

Get notified when battery fully charged to save power.

Green Charging iOS App Store download link

Keeper Password and Data Vault

As I use the Mac version of this app as well, I always have access to my login details, passwords etc.

Keeper Password and Data Vault iOS App Store download link

Light Detector

I use this to tell if the lights are on etc, particularly if my boys have supposedly turned their lights off and are supposed to be sleeping (smile).

Light Detector iOS App Store download link

LookTel Money Reader

Identify a number of currency notes from various countries including Australia. Yep, absolutely use this one.

LookTel Money Reader iOS App Store download link

Talking Calculator (basic)

Same as the scientific calculator below.

Talking Calculator iOS App Store download link

Talking Scientific Calculator

This has both speech and large print, and works well with voiceOver.

Talking Scientific Calculator iOS App Store download link

Time Signal

Just in case you wanted to know the exact time.

Time Signal iOS App Store download link

Redeeming iTunes Gift Card Codes

Whilst we’re going to be talking about apps (applications) from the App Store, in a few countries you can use the camera on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to redeem iTunes Gift Card Codes directly in to your AppleID.

In Australia, I just peel off the plastic strip over the code, go to redeemed, put in my AppleId and password, activate the camera button, and then just point my camera at the code and it appears in the code field (which if I could see I could type in manually as well).

In iOS you can use the redeem camera function not only in the Apps Store, but in the iTunes Store, and iBooks Store as well.

Back to top of Chapter 13 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 14: Hardware Bits and Pieces that I have found Useful

Over the years I have collected a number of bits and pieces to use with my Apple gear, some of which you may find useful as well.

Adapters, Chargers, And Cables

I actually have quite a few adapters, chargers, and cables for home, work, and when I am presenting.

Lightening to 30 pin adapter

Since I still have a few iOS products that use the 30 pin connector, I have found myself with lots and lots of 30 pin connector cables that I would also love to use with my lightening based iOS devices as well. Consequently I purchased several Lightening to UsB Adapters which obviously change the 30 pin connector to a Lightening Connector. Mainly use these at home when I need to charge one device or another.

Lightening to 30 pin adapter Apple Retail Online Store download link

Lightening to USB cables

I also find that I don’t have enough Lightening to UsB cables to stretch between work and home, so I have a few that stay in my bag just in case:

Actually one great thing about the new lightening cables is that they plug in either way which wasn’t the case with the original 30 pin cables, a small thing, but it does make a difference.

Lightening to USB cable Apple Retail Online Store download link

Mac air charger

Even though my Mac air 2013 has great battery life, for peace of mind, I purchased a second Apple 45w MagSave 2 Power Adapter for Macbook air to have at work which I can then take away with me when I do presentations etc.

Another benefit of getting the adapter was it came with an extender power chord which I can use with my existing Mac chargers for those inconvenient power points where the charger cable doesn’t quite reach.

Macbook air charger Apple Retail Online Store download link

iOS chargers

Whilst I’m talking about needing chargers, I also have two extra 12w UsB power adapters to use with either my iPhone or iPad mini: one of which stays in my work computer bag, and the other one on my desk at work.

iOS charger Apple Retail Online Store download link

Mophie Juice Pack

When on extended trips and there is no convenient place to charge my iPhone 5, I also purchased the Mophie Juice Pack for those that don’t know, is a case for your iPhone with a battery in it. So when your iPhone is down on charge, you just flick the switch on the case and you have a second battery.

Mophie Juice Pack Apple Retail Online Store download link

Mini Display port to VGA And Griffin Mini Display port to HDMI with audio plus DVI adapters

Because I never quite know what I am going to be able to plug my Mac air in to when I go and give a presentation as far as either a VGA or HDMI screen, I purchased both the: Mini Display port to VGA Adapter:

Mini Display port to VGA Adapter Apple Retail Online Store download link

And the Griffin Mini Display port to HDMI with audio plus DVI:

Griffin Mini Display port to HDMI with audio plus DVI Apple Retail Online Store download link

Lightening to Digital AV and Lightening to VGA adapters

Likewise, to cover myself for using my iPhone or iPads at presentations as well, I duplicated these adapters.

Lightening to Digital AV adapter Apple Retail Online Store download link

Lightening to VGA Adapter Apple Retail Online Store download link

HDMI to HDMI cables

As I also use my Apple TV at presentations as well (and also for my iOS devices and Mac), I have several HDMI to HDMI cables:

HDMI to HDMI cable Apple Retail Online Store download link

Ethernet USB adapter

Again with presentations, I never quite know whether I will have access to a Wi-Fi network or a fixed ethernet network, so since my Mac air doesn’t have an Ethernet port, I also have a Ethernet to UsB adapter as well:

Ethernet to UsB adapter Apple Retail Online Store download link

Apple battery charger

Finally, given the fact that I have so many Apple Wireless Keyboards plus the Magic trackpad, and they all use batteries, I have also purchased myself the Apple Battery charger with rechargeable batteries (comes with 6) to use in all my keyboards (and Trackpad) to at least save a bit of money (smile):

Apple battery recharger Apple Retail Online Store download link

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Like everything to do with Apple (smile), I actually have a number of these Apple Wireless (Bluetooth) Keyboards.

Firstly, just a reminder that you can use these keyboards with your Mac with VoiceOver, on your iOS devices with VoiceOver, and of course, with your Apple TV with VoiceOver.

On all of the above, you can fully navigate the OS, besides typing. I find the keyboard is particularly useful on iOS, and certainly is a lot faster on the Apple TV for navigating or using the on-screen keyboard with the Apple remote (which is doable but the BT keyboard is much nicer).

Rather than having to worry about what Apple Wireless Keyboard is paired with what device, I tend to have the Apple TVS paired with their own Apple Wireless Keyboard, one keyboard paired with my Mac air for work, and the other one with my iPad.

To pair the Apple Wireless Keyboard: On the Mac, go to System Preferences, Bluetooth, iOs Settings, Bluetooth, and the Apple TV Settings, General, Bluetooth.

The only thing I find difficult about this keyboard is the push on/off button on the back right edge of the keyboard as it’s a bit hard to actually tell if the keyboard is on or off: i.e. same action for on or off.

A very nice keyboard to type on though (smile).

Of course, I also use the Type2Phone application for the Mac (see my favourite 3rd party Mac apps) to also use my Mac air as a keyboard as well to all of these devices.

Then of course there is also the Logitech Solar keyboard which I use when I am at work to use one keyboard for 3 devices at once: my work Mac, iPad mini, and iPhone.

Again, all ordered from the Apple Store app on my iOS devices.

Here is a link to the Apple online Store:

Apple Wireless Keyboard Apple Retail Online Store download link

Magic Trackpad

The Magic trackpad gives you an external (Bluetooth) trackpad for your Mac.

Of course you need something like this on the iMac since as far as I know it doesn’t have a built-in trackpad.

On the MacBooks, yes you do have a trackpad already built-in, but there are a few reasons you might want an external one as well:

  1. When you are training someone on how to use a Macbook for example, you can both use the trackpads: one in the Macbook and the Magic trackpad itself at the same time.
  2. You can set either trackpad up so that one has the VoiceOver Trackpad commander, and the other is the standard trackpad gestures.

To pair on the Mac, go to System Preferences, Bluetooth. Remember to turn on the VO Trackpad Commander first turn on VO with Command+F5, and then hold down the Control+Option keys together and then do a two finger clockwise rotate on the trackpad: to turn it off, same command but with a two finger counter clockwise rotate.

I have the same issue here I have with the Apple Wireless Keyboard: the on/off button at the back right edge of the keyboard is very hard to tell if the trackpad is on or off: i.e. same action for on/off.

You can order of course your trackpad via the Apple Store app on your iOS device if you wish.

No, I haven’t forgotten about the Magic mouse, but it’s not accessible so it’s not in here (smile).

Here is a link to the Apple online Store:

Magic Trackpad Apple Retail Online Store download link

Airport Time Capsule

I have the 2TB version of the AirPort Time Capsule. I tend to use my AirPort Time Capsule in a few ways:

  1. It’s the Time Machine backup drive for our family iMac.
  2. It is the Wi-Fi network that supports the two Apple TVS in the house, whilst the other network is used for everything else: i.e. everyone else’s iOS device, and a few other Macs here and there.
  3. I store all of my books on the Time Capsule, which means no matter whether I am on my Mac, iPhone or iPad mini, I can always get access to my books via the Wi-Fi network.
  4. It’s the 3rd back up option for all of my podcasts.

As with all other Apple products, it was very easy to install and setup using VoiceOver on my Mac, and I can even check the state of it from my iPhone etc if I need to.

I purchased mine from the Apple Store using the Apple Store app on my iOS devices.

Here is a link to the Apple Online Store Page:

Airport Time Capsule Apple Retail Online Store download link

AQ Audio Smart Speakers

I actually have two of these at the moment, one in my lounge room nook, and the other one in my dining room.

These are AirPlay speakers that I can use with my various iOS devices, Macs, and my several Apple TVS all on my home Wi-Fi network.

Not only do these speakers AirPlay, but I can also change their mode to either be their own Wi-Fi hotspot when I don’t have an available Wi-Fi network to use with my various devices or stick them in direct mode which means I can then directly plug them in via a 3.5mm cable in to various other devices such as my Victor Stream.

When I use Airfoil or AirPlay Speakers (see the section on my favourite 3rd party Mac apps), I can control these speakers individually together with my Apple TVS and/or have multiple-speakers running with one of my iOS devices.

To find out more info, go to:

AQ Audio Smart Speakers website](http://www.aqaudio.com/au)

Logitech Solar Keyboard

This keyboard besides being solar powered, allows me to pair this one keyboard with 3 Bluetooth devices which I can then switch to when ever I feel like it.

The model I am currently using is the Logitech Solar KS760. You basically use the pair button with the Function Keys F1, F2, and F3. Once you are done, you just press the function key of the particular device that you want to use. I have mine currently setup for My iPhone, iPad mini, and my Mac.

It is also a really really nice keyboard to type on, and I have not found any issues with making sure it is charged.

Although I must say, the physical slide switch to turn the keyboard on or off is a lot easier to tell if the keyboard is on or off verses the push in button on the Apple Bluetooth keyboard.

This model which may no longer be available by the time you read this I obtained from the Apple Store via the app on my iOS devices.

Logitech Solar Keyboard Apple Retail Online Store download link

Back to top of Chapter 14 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 15: Switching from Microsoft Windows to OS X

This Chapter outlines the points I go through when explaining the difference between Windows and the Mac.

Whilst not all of the concepts of Windows and the Mac exactly equal each other, they seem close enough in my mind to make a general comparison to get a point across.

  1. Macs cover Mac Minis, Mac Airs, MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Accessibility inbuilt in the OS since Tiger 10.4, Leopard 10.5, Snow Leopard 10.6, Lion 10.7, Mountain Lion 10.8, and Mavericks 10.9. OS can be fully re-installed without sight.
  2. Keyboards – mini and full sized QWERTY keyboards (with a numeric keypad): in Windows Control, Windows, and Alt to the left of the space key, in the Mac Control, Option, and Command: Control and Command similar to Control and Alt. On a mini Apple keyboard, the function (FN) key is to the left of the Control key making 4 keys in total to the left of the space (some Windows keyboards also have the function key).
  3. In Windows (XP/Vista/7) inbuilt screen reader (Narrator) (which can be launched with Windows+U) to basic besides getting out of trouble (does not support Braille), In mac inbuilt screen reader VoiceOver (which can be launched with Command+F5) fully functional screen reader (supports Braille). Important note – VoiceOver comes with its own interactive training tutorial. Many UsB and Bluetooth Braille displays are supported by VoiceOver, and does not require any drivers to be installed. In Windows you’ll find all the accessibility options in the Ease of Access Centre, in the Mac they are in Accessibility within System preferences. Note - Windows Magnifier in Windows 7 is quite a respectable screen magnifier as is System Zoom on the Mac. A final note - Narrator in Windows 8 is quite a respectable screen reader for general tasks.
  4. In Windows screen readers tend to use a single key which make up 2 or more screen reader commands, in Mac VoiceOver uses the Control+Option keys (plus other keys when required) to perform screen reader commands (called the VoiceOver or VO keys for short).
  5. In Windows laptop keyboard Delete, Backspace, and Insert keys, in a Mac laptop keyboard Delete, and no Insert or Backspace keys. Even on a full size Apple keyboard, no backspace, Macs only use a Delete key.
  6. As Windows is fully keyboard driven, so is the Mac. A combination of screen reader and OS commands is always the best way to go when using either operating system. VoiceOver has several options for navigation including the standard VO commands, Quick Nav using the cursor keys, NumPad Commander using the numeric keypad on a full sized keyboard, and Trackpad commander using the touch Macbook trackpad or the external Magic trackpad. In addition, VoiceOver can also be setup to have commands launched by a Braille display.
  7. The common tasks of mailing, web browsing, and word processing: In Windows, Windows Mail (email which needs to be installed), Internet Explorer (browser), and Notepad/WordPad (text editor). MS Office or iTunes needs to be installed. In mac Mail (email), Safari (browser), TextEdit (word processor), and iTunes. iWork which contains Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations) needs to be installed. Important note – Microsoft Office on the Mac is not accessible with VoiceOver. However, you can still access Word documents on the Mac with TextEdit or Pages.
  8. In Windows PDF files are mainly accessed by screen reader users with Adobe Reader, in Mac Preview is used to view PDF files: i.e. press Space on a PDF file to initiate Preview. Preview is great for viewing a number of file types, including mp3 files (if you want to listen quickly to an audio file) without having to run iTunes etc.
  9. In Windows most screen readers can give you structured info about a PDF file or allow you to navigate a table in a document, in Mac VoiceOver still does not read out the structured information in PDF files such as tables, heading etc, and does not allow the navigation of tables in a document.
  10. Both Windows and Mac can have applications installed from various sources (including the App Store on the Mac). Common install file from 3rd parties is a dmg file (Mac OS X disk image).
  11. In Windows, applications are uninstalled via an application, in Mac the applications are deleted to the trash with Command+Delete.
  12. In Windows, Windows key to access applications by typing in name or via the start menu, in Mac Command+Space (Spotlight) to type in or via Shift+Command+a for applications folder.
  13. In Windows, the recycle bin is on the desktop, in Mac the trash is on the Dock.
  14. Windows the Alt key is used to go to the menu bar, Mac with VoiceOver VO+M. both OS’s have common items on the menu bar such as File, Edit, View ETC. In the Mac, the first two items on the menu bar are Apple where you can choose to restart or shut down the Mac, and a menu who’s name changes depending in what application you are in such as Finder, Mail, Safari, TextEdit, iTunes etc. If you wish to get in to the settings of an application on the Mac, Command+, (comma) will take you in to preferences.
  15. In Windows context menu Shift+F10, in Mac VO+Shift+M context menu.
  16. In Windows Windows+Tab to go to the Task bar, in Mac with VoiceOver VO+D for the dock (which is sort of like Windows Task bar).
  17. In windows Windows+B System Tray for battery, network status etc, in Mac with VoiceOver VO+MM for status menu (called Extra’s in Mountain Lion and above).
  18. In Windows Windows+D is used to go to the desktop, in Mac with VoiceOver VO+Shift+D. Unlike Windows where you have your commonly used applications (icons) such as Internet Explorer etc, the Mac desktop is empty by default and this is where an inserted DVD or USB stick appears, or if enabled, where your Macintosh HD appears (like your local C drive in Windows). You can however put short cuts on your desktop (which the Mac calls alias’s): most people put there commonly used applications on the Dock rather than cluttering up their desktop.
  19. In Windows Control Panel to make changes to the system, in the Mac System Preferences.
  20. In Windows, Windows key to bring up search, in the Mac Command+Space.
  21. In Windows documents accessed via the desktop, in the Mac Shift+Command+O.
  22. In Windows, eject the cd by pressing the eject button on the CD/DVD disk drive, in Mac Command+E for eject on the volume/disk drive.
  23. In Windows Alt+Tab to switch between applications, in Mac Command+Tab.
  24. In Windows Alt+F4 to quit an application, in the Mac Command+Q.
  25. In Windows Control+F4 to close a window, in Mac Command+W.
  26. In Windows Windows+M to minimise all windows, in the Mac Option+Command+W.
  27. In Windows, Control+Alt+Del to get access to the task manager to close down a non responsive application, in Mac Option+Command+Escape to bring up Force Quit Applications.
  28. In Windows when entering a password with a screen reader keystrokes are echoed as asterisk, in Mac with VoiceOver when entering a password clicks are heard.
  29. In Windows toolbars, document or edit areas, lists, tables, html pages can be accessed with screen readers, in Mac with VoiceOver Toolbars, document or edit areas, lists, tables, and html pages need to be interacted with to use the controls or space within these items.
  30. In Windows screen readers speak the text to the right of the cursor, in Mac VoiceOver speaks text the cursor passes.
  31. In Windows when editing a document copy Control+C, cut Control+X, and Paste Control+V, in Mac copy Command+C, cut Command+X, and Command+V paste.
  32. In Windows Shift or Shift+Control keys plus Arrow keys to highlight, in Mac Shift+Option and Arrow keys to highlight.
  33. In Windows Control+A highlight all, in Mac Command+A highlight all.
  34. In Windows Control+S to Save, in Mac Command+S to save.
  35. In Windows Control+P print, in Mac Command+P print.
  36. In Windows file explorer Windows+E, in Mac Command+N new finder window.
  37. In Windows file view can be changed to list view etc, in Mac file view can be changed to list view etc such as Command+2 for list.
  38. In Windows F2 to rename a folder/file, In Mac Enter key to rename a folder/file.
  39. In Windows Alt+Enter file properties, in Mac Command+I.
  40. In Windows Enter key to activate a folder/file, In Mac Command+O.
  41. In Windows RightArrow to expand a folder tree view/LeftArrow to collapse, in Mac with VoiceOver VO+\ to expand and collapse a folder tree view.
  42. In Windows to eject a CD/DVD press eject button on drive, in Mac Command+E on the selected DVD/CD volume.
  43. In Windows to eject a USB stick/drive Windows+B System Tray and select Safely remove hardware, in Mac Command+E on the selected USB stick/drive volume.
  44. The similarities between VoiceOver on Mac OS X and iOS (iPod touch, iPhone and iPad), can be of some assistance in understanding the concepts of: Gesturing: in particular the VoiceOver rotor (iOS touch screen or Mac Macbook trackpad or Bluetooth Magic trackpad). QuickNav: on either system using a physical Bluetooth keyboard via the arrow keys. or getting used to using the VO (Control and Option) keys together to perform VoiceOver commands. The way VoiceOver treats the cursor when navigating through text.
  45. It is also true that Mac and iOS are getting closer and closer together and sharing similar applications and data. The iMessage app for both iOS and Mac is a great example of this, where you can send/read iMessages from either your iOS device or Mac. Of course, iCloud is a way that Apple is allowing the user to share data between the desktop and mobile platform.

Back to top of Chapter 15 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 16: Resources

I’ve put together a number of podcasts and websites for you to delve in to the mysteries of the Apple Verse.

Podcasts To Follow About Apple Technology

It can be time consuming to find resources on the Internet for specific topics of interest. Here are 12 podcasts relevant to Mac and iOS accessibility to get you started.

Apple and Other Accessible technology

Accessing Apple products from a blind or low vision perspective, check out my podcast. I have created over 250 audio podcasts that cover physical orientation, step by step guides on how to use Apple technology from a vision impaired perspective: iSee podcast feed

The Apple Byte (SD).

Brian Tong takes you inside the core of Apple Apple Byte podcast feed

Apple Keynotes

Video of the Apple’s most important announcements Apple Keynotes podcast feed

AppleVis Podcast

The AppleVis Podcast provides VoiceOver users with short walk-throughs and reviews of iOS features and 3rd party apps AppleVis podcast feed

iFive for the iPhone

iFive for the iPhone podcast feed

iPad Today

Tech geeks Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane love their iPads so much they’ve created “iPad Today,” the TWiT network’s first show highlighting the best apps, most helpful tools, coolest tricks, and essential news surrounding the iPad revolution iPad Today podcast feed

Mac OS Ken

Apple and Mac News you’ll like Mac OS Ken podcast feed

MacBreak Weekly

Get the latest Mac news and views from the top journalists covering Apple today. Another great show from the TWiT Netcast Network MacBreak Weekly podcast feed

MacCast (Enhanced) - For Mac Geeks, by Mac Geeks A podcast for Mac geeks by Mac geeks. (Enhanced AAC edition)

MacCast podcast feed

Macworld Podcast

Macworld podcast feed

TUAW - Daily Update

All your Apple news in less than five minutes TUAW - Daily Update podcast feed

We Have Communicators

Along with special guests each week, the folks of iPhone Alley discuss all things iPhone; news, tips, reviews, and even answer your questions We Have Communicators podcast feed

Websites For More Information on Apple Technology

It can be time consuming to find resources on the Internet for specific topics of interest. Here are 6 links to specific websites relevant to Mac and iOS accessibility to get you started. Remember, you can always email accessibility@apple.com if you have any issues with accessibility across the Apple product line.

Apple Accessibility page:

Apple Accessibility web link

Apple Special Education page:

Apple Special Education web link

iPhone Online manual:

iPhone Online manual web link

Getting Started with VoiceOver on the Mac:

Getting Started with VoiceOver on the Mac web link

Mac-cessibility network

Mac-cessibility network web link

AppleVis

Applevis web link

Back to top of Chapter 16 Return to Table of Contents

Chapter 17: Bringing It All Together: My Family and Apple

Seems as though these days, everyone is bagging Apple for this and that, and bad or negative news is good news. Well just because I can, here is a good news story about Apple and my family.

Oh and yes, before I get started, I am a person who is totally blind, my wife has a disability, and my two young boys also have a disability: so with that out of the way, lets get on with the story.

As a family, we sometimes find it hard to get out and about. To give my boys a range of entertainment options, they have my iPad 2 and my wife’s iPad 1 (first iPad) with movies, TV shows, books, music, and educational and entertainment apps. They also take their iPads to gymnastics and karate.

In those situations where an iPad is a bit bulky, the boys also have our 3GS iPhones, again, with all the required apps etc.

Of course since the boys have our old stuff as it were (but still very functional), both my wife and I now have iPad mini’s, iPhone 4s and an iPhone 5. I have an iPad 3rd generation which I use for work.

Of course, my wife and I have all of our own favourite apps, movies, TV shows, music etc on our own devices. For me in particular, the Light Detector app is great to make sure I turn all the lights off at night time. The other very useful app is of course Find My iPhone: i.e. using the play sound option so I can find where I put down my iPhone or iPad in the house or where the boys have left theirs scattered through the house.

Whilst I’m talking about Apple mobile devices, we have two iPod touch’s which are used as a bit of a backup, when (horrors of horrors) the other devices have not been charged, and the boys must use/do something.

Since all of these mobile devices have Apples built-in accessibility (VoiceOver), I can support not only myself, but my boys and my wife as well. I use the famous Triple Click option (press the Home button 3 times) to turn VoiceOver (screen reader) on or off when I need to help out. A great example of this is when my wife is driving and she gets an SMS, I can Triple Click the Home button on her iPhone, let her know what the SMS is, reply if I need to for her, and then Triple click to turn VoiceOver off: iPhone back to a standard iPhone. In the case of the boys, when an App on their iPad is not working, same deal with Triple Click Home, shut down the app from App Switcher, relaunch the app for them, and Triple click to hand the iPad back with the app running as good as new.

I still thank Apple every now and again for giving me full access to the App Store (for purchasing apps), iBooks (for purchasing and reading Books), iTunes (for downloading Movies, TV shows etc), iTunes U (for getting access to educational content), Podcasts (to allow me to easily find and subscribe to podcasts), of course Find My iPhone, Find My Friends (to see when my wife is near work to go out and meet her), and the Remote app for the Apple TV, so that when my boys say "it’s only got 10 minutes to go, I can always check.

When we or just the boys themselves, want to watch a movie at home on a big screen, we use the Apple TV to either stream movies or TV shows from the net or our iMac in the study, and of course AirPlay audio to my AQ Audio smart speakers around the house.

Yes, and of course, I have a talking interface on the Apple TV through VoiceOver that I can use as its all built-in yet again for me to be able to browse and select movies, TV shows etc for my boys to watch. The speech also helps my boys pick up words that they don’t know and work out what a summary of a particular show is all about. Like the other iOS devices, VoiceOver can also be toggled on or off, although my boys seem to like it on, and now think there is something wrong when it doesn’t speak (smile).

The family iMac doubles for family content, and my wife’s business which she runs from home. All of our iOS devices were originally backed up to this Mac before iCloud came along. Besides iCloud, to keep all of our files safe, we also use Time Machine to back up to our Apple Time capsule. The Time Capsule also backs up the Mac air (which my wife uses when she is away from her desk or out and about), and both of my Macbook Pro and Macbook air (one for testing and the other as my home/work Macbook).

Yes, and you guessed it, all of the Macs are fully accessible via VoiceOver. So I can purchase apps from the Mac apps store, and do all the things in iTunes that everyone else can do: purchase/rent movies, get TV shows, podcasts, books, get more apps etc. The Time capsule was fully accessible for me to setup as well.

When the unthinkable happens and I have to restore any of the Macs (which has only happened a few times in the last few years), the restore process is fully accessible again via VoiceOver.

I also use an Apple TV for presentations using my Macbook, iPhone or iPad via the Personal Hotspot option within one of my iOS devices to act as a wifi network which allows me to wirelessly stream to the Apple TV. Since everything talks, I know myself that everything is working, and most importantly displayed on the screen I am using. Once a while ago I gave a presentation where there was nothing on the screen, and folks seemed to be to uncomfortable to say something: so at least, now I know myself.

With presentations in particular, I use an Apple Bluetooth keyboard with my iPhone, iPad or Mac. When I’m demonstrating gestures on the Macbook, I use the bluetooth Magic trackpad so folks in the audience can better see what gestures I am using. One very cool thing about the Macbook, is that I can use the Magic trackpad for VoiceOver, and then just leave the trackpad in the Macbook for mouse control for those times when it is handy to use the trackpad/mouse functions.

When traveling for work, I don’t always feel like taking out my iPhone or iPad, particularly when traveling on the train, this is where my other two nifty Apple devices come in handy. If I just want to listen to music or an audio book, I just pop out the iPod shuffle. If I also them want to listen to FM radio, then the iPod nano comes out.

The iPod shuffle has physical buttons and takes its speech accessibility from the Mac, whilst the iPod nano has a touch screen and VoiceOver much similar to VoiceOver on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. I should also say that the iPod nano has a built-in accessible pedometer which I should really start using.

I haven’t touched upon the many apps I use on the iPhone/iPad or my Mac, but I can honestly say that having access to all of these fantastic accessible Apple products has not only improved my home and work life, but given my whole family access to technology that we can all share, use, and support.

Apple rocks, so there (smile).

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