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This article was published on May 20, 2021

Apple will soon let you control its devices with your eyes and gestures

Apple is introducing new accessibility features across devices

Apple will soon let you control its devices with your eyes and gestures
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Apple has introduced a bunch of accessibility features to help differently-abled people operate an iPhone, an iPad, or an Apple Watch. Plus, it’s launching a customer care service in the US, the UK, and France called SignTime to get assistance with Apple Products in sign language. 

The company has developed a new algorithm for WatchOS to let you operate the Apple Watch with gestures such as pinch and fist clench. Apple says that the accelerometer and gyroscope in the Watch work with the heart rate sensors to identify these different movements.

The Watch will also have a new motion pointer that can help you navigate to different screens only by moving your wrist. This is helpful for anyone who has limited limb functions or can’t move their hand because of some injury.

Motion Pointer accessibility function on the Apple Watch

For iPad, Apple is introducing eye-tracking control through third-party devices. This allows you to control the iPad through your eyes, and perform gestures such as a tap by just holding the gaze at an area on the screen.

For images, the tech giant is launching a screen reader called VoiceOver that will make it easier for people with visual imparities to browse through photos.

Credit: Apple
For this photo, the VoiceOver feature will read “Slight right profile of a person’s face with curly brown hair smiling.”

What’s more, the company will include a background sound feature in settings that can play white noises such as ocean, rain, or stream to help you stay calm and focus.

Apple’s background sound feature

These features will be available to users later this year through a software update. Apple is also working on more accessibility functions such as sound control to replace actions possible through physical buttons, and customized text and display settings for every app.

You can read more about Apple’s new accessibility features here.

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