Using Messages with low vision (not voiceover)

Low Vision Accessibility on Apple Products

Hello people!

I work helping people with low vision eg macular degeneration to use what sight they have.

This afternoon I'll be helping a lady who has always used iPhone and Mac but has recently had a major deterioration in her sight.

She is finding she's stopped using Messages due to her loss of vision, which is causing social isolation.

But she has enough residual vision that she does not yet see the need for VoiceOver.

Does anyone have any tips (apart from finding the dictation button, which is hard enough even for sighted people) that might help her?

She does know how to highlight and then "speak to text" but in our last session I could see that she has over 90 unread messages.

Best wishes




Submitted by Dave Matters on Monday, July 2, 2018

Siri can read text messages, and can help send them. Zoom can be used for reading them. Although not the easiest for typing messages. They could always just use voiceover for reading/sending messages. Could be a good transition process for if they continue to lose vision.

Submitted by Imogen on Monday, July 2, 2018

Thanks I was going to do Siri and Zoom with her. I find most people get frustrated with Zoom when, to move the field of view, you must double tap with three fingers then drag - it is a hard gesture to teach. I will try seeing if she can get used to turning VoiceOver on and off.

Submitted by Dave Matters on Monday, July 2, 2018

You can configure the ‘home button’ to start/stop voiceover or zoom. This easy access may help with them being willing to use it zoom or voiceover when they need but not all the time.

Submitted by Imogen on Monday, July 2, 2018

In reply to by Dave Matters

Unfortunately only one function can be configured to home button - so you have to decide between VoiceOver, Zoom or Magnifier. Magnifier is generally the most useful for people with low vision in my experience. I hope they will allow the accessibility tasks to be configured to different buttons in future iOS versions...

Submitted by Dave Matters on Monday, July 2, 2018

True that. I agree about the buttons. If they would set them so Siri can launch/toggle them all, that would be helpful also. You can select multiple but dealing with having to then choose from the menu is a pain.

Submitted by david s on Wednesday, July 4, 2018


You can actually have VO and zoom when you triple click the home button, To see what’s available and to add to the triple click, settings> general> accessability and select accessability shortcut button at the bottom.

HTH and good luck.

I tried that but the menu can't be increased in size and she isn't able to read it. But thanks for a good reminder, I knew it and had tried it before unsuccessfully, it might have been the answer this time but wasn't... I probably should have explained more clearly that yes I know you can have more than one on the home button but the accessibility of the resulting choice menu becomes the stumbling block for many with low vision.