Apple Details Accessibility Features of New Apple TV

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Shortly after announcing the release of the new Apple TV and launching the tvOS operating system, Apple has today published a new webpage detailing the accessibility features of the new set-top box.

According to the Vision section of the tvOS Accessibility webpage, the new Apple TV will include both VoiceOver and Zoom, as well as a number of other standard accessibility features for blind and low vision users.

For VoiceOver, one can navigate the tvOS interface using already-familiar gestures--including taps, flicks, and the rotor. To enable VoiceOver during the setup process, simply triple-click the Menu button three times.

According to Apple's website, Zoom magnifies content up to 15 times its native size and is accessed using the Siri remote. To have an item spoken to you, double-click the Siri button.

Apple has also included Bold Text, Reduce Contrast, Reduce Motion, Closed Captioning, and an Accessibility Shortcut as features in tvOS--all of which are detailed on Apple's website.

Will you be buying a new Apple TV? Let us know in the comments!

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Submitted by themusicman08 on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

In my opinion, I think that Apploe should've shown what it would have been like to run the set up process with VoiceOver. This would give us a feel for what it would be like if a new user would've decided to buy an Apple tv or not. Also, why can't you put all, if not some of the features in the 3rd generation of the Apple tv? I think I'll pass on this one unless I get this as a gift.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Time is always a factor in these events. I do think a short mention of accessibility features would be nice, like a little word from Tim about accessibility would be cool inbetween presentations. A vast majority of the people watching the Apple event don't even need to use VoiceOver, and probably don't even know such a thing exists. For us, however it's a bigger deal.

Submitted by themusicman08 on Thursday, September 10, 2015

While I agree with you ToonHead, VoiceOver has never been mentioned in any of the events I've heard. And, I know that VoiceOver could cover alot of ground. It would be nice if they could demo VoiceOver in some of the presentation.

Submitted by Jeff on Thursday, September 10, 2015

I'm thinking you meant that one should click the menu button 3 times in rapid succession, usually referred to as triple-clicking. Or do you mean you actually have to triple-click 3 times? And is this the default on Apple TV? It doesn't seem to be the default on iPhones.

Submitted by MarkSARCH on Thursday, September 10, 2015

Seens as each new apple device is a boom to blind community,
The question is
Do you really need a a new apple TV?
The 97 or 96 percent of costumer satisfaction doesn't reflect about people who use accessibility.
The point view from my part will be:
Do you really need a new apple TV or are you starting to collect apple devices?

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, September 10, 2015

the last time I can recall voiceover being demonstrated was in 2004 I believe when Steve Jobbs was unveiling it and did a full demonstration of it. I don't think its been mentioned since at any apple event.

Submitted by Santiago on Thursday, September 10, 2015

It would be nice if Apple gave us more details as to how VoiceOver will work on the new Apple TV. For instance, how will we input text on the Apple TV? I'm not sure if the remote only has a touch surface, or if it's a little display as well. I know that the regular iOS keyboard pops up when you need to input text when controlling a current Apple TV with the iOS remote app, so not sure how that'll work on the new Apple TV.

Submitted by Macky on Thursday, September 10, 2015

I like the idea of siri on the tv and the new remote surely can't be lost as quickly as the old one! It'll be interesting to see what apps third parties come up with though a bit like the watch it could be a case of another way to do the same thing in a different way instead of reaching for the iPhone. For me, when apple starts to offer significantly more film and particularly tv programmes with audio description via itunes then that will tip the scales to getting one but at the moment I'll remain on the fence.

Submitted by Chris on Thursday, September 10, 2015


I have to agree with the previous poster. I won't consider an Apple TV until we have more descriptive video options available. I wonder if the new processor will allow us to have Alex and the high quality Nuance voices? The compact voices were a huge factor that drove me away from the Apple TV. Besides, it's about time all Apple products get Alex. The watch and TV are the only things left that don't have Alex or high quality voices.

On another random note, can you use the Apple TV without connecting it to a TV if you have something like the fitheadless HDMI adapter?