Which is the best iOS device for a legally blind person?

Hardware & Accessories

My brother is legally blind. For his birthday, I am considering purchasing an IOS device, but I'm not sure which one. I'm kind of leaning towards the iPhone 6 Plus with the larger screen, however, I want it to be something he can slip in his pocket to carry around the house with him (he's in his 80's) so that he can hear the alerts from apps. That's why I also discounted the iPad.

Any suggestions?




Submitted by Jeff on Sunday, April 2, 2017

If your brother has some usable vision and will be using it to use the device, the larger screen may be an advantage for him. On the other hand, the iPhones have low vision accessibility features such as larger fonts, zoom and high contrast colors, so the only advantage to the larger screen is that more information can fit on the screen (more lines of text for example). I think the slightly smaller size of the iPhone 6 and 7 will fit in pockets better. I carry my iPhone 6 around in my pants pocket all the time.

Thank you for your reply. After posting this, I called and was able to speak to an Apple rep (after waiting about 40 minutes). Apparently the SE version will work well using more touch than vision. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Submitted by Jeff on Monday, April 3, 2017

All iPhones (and iPads) use touch. What that rep probably meant is that the smaller phones depend more on using Voiceover rather than vision. Again, Voiceover is built into all iPhones, so if your brother is going to primarily use Voiceover and not depend on his limited sight, then the smaller phones would be equally usable -- which is essentially what I was saying. In other words, if your brother is going to use Voiceover, then I'd suggest one of the smaller phones. They are less expensive and fit better in pockets.

Submitted by tunmi13 on Monday, April 3, 2017

I would start with small and move on.
For example, start with an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, then move on from there to like the iPhone 6 models, the 6S models, and the 7 models.
If you find those to be not you brother's liking, switch to an iPad. Bigger lines of text, as Jeff was saying, can fit on there. There is more room to navigate as well.
HTH. ;) :)

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Monday, April 3, 2017


From what you're saying, I think a phone would be great. Just make sure you get one that will get the latest updates to ios., as they bring changes to VO. along with improvements.
If money's an object, the SE. would be good. Also, does your brother like his headphone jack? If he does, then I'd stay away from the 7, because of lack of a headphone jack. Hope I was able to help. I jhink your bhother will love ios. for accessibility. When I got my ipad, I was skeptical, even though I had a tiny bit of training. But now, I LOVE the thing!

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, April 3, 2017

the 3gs and the 4 are really old so lets not even consider them. If he's going to use VoiceOver with it and not actually using his vision, a regular phone, like the iPhone 7 would work beautifully. it fits in pockets beautifully. if you do get him one, please don't forget to get him a case and a screen protector, too. I didn't used to think a screen protector was necessary, but a friend of mine without one dropped her phone and the screen shattered so I went and got myself a couple screen protectors and i'm very glad I did. You can get cases and screen protectors pretty much anywhere like Amazon, etc.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, April 3, 2017

Agreed. Let's not even think of 3GS or 4/4S models. The 7 would probably meet his needs. Or maybe the 7 plus. The larger model fits nicely in pockets, I have the 6S plus and will be getting the new 7S plus when it comes out in septemberish this year. I'd say the larger screen size would probably meet his needs, larger screens mean bigger fonts/more magnification results. Hope this helps you.
Oh, one more thing. If he is hard of hearing, they make "made for iPhone" hearing aids.
HTH and wishing the best of luck.

Submitted by Curious1 on Monday, April 3, 2017

Thank you Dawn and Toonhead. You both gave me useful considerations to take with me to the Apple store (my brother will be with me as well). You're right, Dawn, it will need to accept the latest ios update for improved VoiceOver. This will be the first Apple device ever for my brother, so, no, he doesn't have Apple headphones. In fact, he wears hearing aids. Glad this came up. I'll do further research. I've decided on a phone rather than the iPad. He can place the phone in his pocket and have it with him at all times. Toonhead, your suggestion of the screen protector and case was helpful. He might easily drop it while placing it in or taking it out of his pocket. Now I need to discover if there is an audio warning when the battery runs low, so he'll know to plug it in. Something else I just thought of is ios updates. I think his son or grandson might be able to help him with this when the time comes (he and I live 500 miles apart).

Submitted by Curious1 on Monday, April 3, 2017

Thanks, Justin!
"Oh, one more thing. If he is hard of hearing, they make "made for iPhone" hearing aids."

Submitted by Jeff on Monday, April 3, 2017

The iPhone can be configured to play a sound and read the notifications from the phone.

A low battery notification will be displayed at 20% and I think at 10%. Plus, it's very easy to check the battery level at any time. Voiceover will read it as a percentage from the status bar at the top of the screen.

Likewise, a notification will be sent when iOS updates are available for installation. Again, one can check for updates anytime from within the Settings app.

It's good you have an Apple store that you can visit. Giving your brother the opportunity to hold and try the different phones will be the best way to decide which will work best for him. All of them run iOS with Voiceover.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Monday, April 3, 2017

While we're on the subject of cases, I'd get him an Otterbox. They're very durable. We got my dad one for his iphone & he dropped it 1 time & the case broke but not his phone! Plus if your brother drops it, it's protected. I can't remember the amount of feet it gives you, but in my opinion, Otterboxes are really good. I think they may be expensive, but well worth it.
You can find one of these on Amazon.

One more thing,make sure he gets Apple-Care. We got that for me & we took it in because I had some questions on how to work my device, & they were extremely patient, helpful & understanding. Plus, if you bring it to them at the store & they fix it, they'll even show you how to fix it so that if the problem happens in the future, then your brother will know exactly what to do.

Sorry about the length, but these are just little tips I thought you should know. Hope this helped!

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Keep in mind the Otterbox cases will protect the phone, but they can also be very bulky, and if he needs to remove the phone from the case for any reason it can be a real challenge. If he has a screen protector, and a case that covers the back and the corners of the phone that will be more than sufficient.