Apple Makes Fitness+ Workouts More Accessible to Blind and Low Vision Subscribers With the Addition of Audio Hints That Supplement Trainer's Spoken Instructions

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple Fitness+ workouts are gaining Audio Hints, a new accessibility format developed by Apple engineering that combines VoiceOver and Apple’s Text-to-Speech synthesizer to read synchronized Timed Text over video to provide verbal cues beyond those given by the trainers.

Audio Hints are intended to supplement the trainer's spoken instructions by inserting synthesised audio cues to parts of a workout that are only demonstrated visually. This can include prompts for timing on an exercise, alternate actions, and much more.

Audio Hints are available across the Fitness+ library of Studio workouts, and will be available for previously released workouts and new content. They will typically provide information on the following in a workout:

  • Start and end of exercise
  • Changes in body position
  • Exercise modifications shown by the modifying trainer
  • Tempo and rhythm
  • Equipment adjustments

If you have VoiceOver turned on when you start the workout, Audio Hints will be automatically enabled. Otherwise, you can enable or disable the hints during a workout via the More Controls button. You can also adjust the speech rate for Audio Hints here, independent of the speed for the workout.

Audio Hints will begin rolling out to workouts this week with the releases of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. They will be available on all of the workouts except for Meditation, Time To Walk, and Time to Run.

If you are an existing user of Apple Fitness+, we look forward to hearing your experience and opinion of these supplementary cues. If you're not already a subscriber, will the addition of Audio Hints tempt you in to giving the service a try? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Apple Fitness+ launched in December 2020. It provides subscribers with access to a library of workout videos encompassing a wide variety of core strengths, including Yoga, dancing, running, walking, cycling, rowing, and pilates. Over 30 new workouts are added each week across all workout types with a variety of trainers, times, and music.

Apple Fitness+ requires iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, and tvOS 14.3 or later. Apple says that to get the newest features, you should use Apple Fitness+ with Apple Watch Series 3 or later with watchOS 8 or later paired with iPhone 6s or later with iOS 15 or later; iPad with iPadOS 15 or later; and Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD with tvOS 15 or later.

Apple Fitness+ is available as a standalone subscription or as part of the Apple One bundle. More information is available here.

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Comments

Submitted by Brian Giles on Monday, March 14, 2022

Color me very surprised! I expected iOS15.4 to drop this week but not this!

I already used my free trial so can't try this out, but I'm curious to see if people think the audio hints they've come up with are helpful, or if they'll say they're not helpful enough.

I sent Apple a bunch of constructive feedback about the lack of accessibility of Fitness plus when they sent me a survey about my Apple Watch last year. Maybe they took even a little something from that?

Hoping someone does a podcast on this. At least they're trying. Good on you, Apple!!

Submitted by JLove on Monday, March 14, 2022

I wanted something like this, but I was not sure if this was already included.
Good thing I waited.
Lets see how good/Useful it is.

Submitted by Skippy on Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Hi,
I absolutely love it! The way it works, is that it uses whatever voice you’re using for voiceover, to give you information the workout trainer isn’t providing verbally.
If you are a voiceover user, this feature is automatically enabled.

Submitted by gallagher123123 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Wow, I'm excited. Cannot wait to give this a try. Glad I waited to get my free trial.

Submitted by Marc on Tuesday, March 15, 2022

If anybody has a particular workout that is utilizing this new technology, could you let us know the name of the workout? I tapped on two so far but they don't seem to have any additional VoiceOver feedback.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I believe the following workouts all offer Audio Hints:

Core

  • Core with Betina ep 12
  • Core with Kyle ep 38
  • Core with Kyle ep 37
  • Core with Greg ep 36

Cycling

  • Cycling with Bakari ep 48
  • Cycling with Tyrell ep 56
  • Cycling with Kym ep 54
  • Cycling with Sherica ep 55
  • Cycling with Emily ep 45

Dance

  • Dance with Jhon ep 41
  • Dance with LaShawn ep 41
  • Dance with Ben ep 40

HIIT

  • HIIT with KIM ep 62
  • HIIT with Jamie-Ray ep 53

Mindful Cooldown

  • Mindful Cooldown with Dustin ep 26
  • Mindful Cooldown with Jessica ep 28
  • Mindful Cooldown with Jonelle ep 16
  • Mindful Cooldown with Dustin ep 25
  • Mindful Cooldown with Molly ep 20

Pilates

  • Pilates with Darryl ep 21
  • Pilates with Darryl ep 20
  • Pilates with Darryl ep 18
  • Pilates with Darryl ep 16
  • Pilates with Marimba ep 19
  • Pilates with Marimba ep 17

Rowing

  • Rowing with Anja ep 62
  • Rowing with Anja ep 58
  • Rowing with Josh ep 57
  • Rowing with Anja ep 57

Strength

  • Strength with Betina ep 34
  • Strength with Sam ep 51
  • Strength with Kyle ep 38

Treadmill

  • Treadmill with Scott ep 50
  • Treadmill with Jamie-Ray ep 29
  • Treadmill with Scott ep 49
  • Treadmill with Sam ep 31
  • Treadmill with Emily ep 32

Yoga

  • Yoga with Dustin ep 76
  • Yoga with Molly ep 62
  • Yoga with Jonelle ep 45

Submitted by Skippy on Tuesday, March 15, 2022

I’m not sure if I mentioned it yet or not, but workouts Apple has already released will also be getting this feature. Any future workouts will also have it.
At present, anything that has the word studio in it, will have these hints.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Is this app in the App Store? Maybe I'm writing the name wrong. Is it called Fitness Plus? Would be interested in checking it out. Thank you.

Submitted by Skippy on Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Hi,

Since Apple made it, it’s a native app, and will appear as, “Fitness “on your home screen. On your Apple Watch, it will be called, “activity. “
I’m not real sure why they have it under two different names, but that’s just the way it is.
I have a follow up phone call with them tomorrow, and would be willing to ask, since I myself am curious.

Submitted by Earle on Wednesday, March 16, 2022

I've looked through quite a few of the workouts and I'm not seeing any that say studio. I'm running the latest version of iOS as well as the latest version of Watch OS. When I click on a workout it appears that most of them have audio hints. At least that's what the descriptions say. I haven't actually tested any of them yet.

Submitted by Skippy on Thursday, March 17, 2022

The, “core with Kyle “workout, as well as any others in that list, will have this new audio hints feature. All other workouts Apple has made, will also get it eventually.
I did the “core with Kyle” workout the other day, and it was actually relatively easy to follow.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Thursday, March 17, 2022

I asked Apple Support and they just said that the app is called Fitness. Looked in the App Store and other options came up. Even tried to look in the Health App. Couldn't find it.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Thursday, March 17, 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

You don’t need to download it from the App Store. It comes as default on the iPhone. It’s called Fitness. So just look in the App Library. The Apple Watch version is called Activity.
Dave

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, March 17, 2022

Searched app library; asked Siri, searched app store ... nothing pops up for the Apple fitness program, other than Apple One which I am not about to subscribe to. I am running the latest version of iOS. I guess you could say I'm at a loss.

Submitted by Eileen😷 on Thursday, March 17, 2022

My understanding is that you need to have an Apple Watch to be able to access Fitness+ (and the Fitness app).

See: How to get Apple Fitness+

Here's what you need
Make sure that you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or later and an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV that's compatible with Apple Fitness+.