Introducing Autour, an iOS app designed to give blind users a better sense of their surroundings

App Developer

Hi, I work on the Autour app developed at McGill University, and I would like someone to test it and write an entry for it. It's an app for discovering your surroundings, much like Blindsquare, but with different features, as it's been developed independently, much of it before Blindsquare was first released, although Autour was released later. Among other things, it has spatialised audio for indicating direction, and multiple modes of reading, called Beam mode, Radar mode and Shockwave mode, each of which allowing to alternate between automatic reading and history. Also, on the main screen, VoiceOver gets replaced by a set of very simple gestures that are quicker to use and that don't interfere with what the app itself is saying. The app gets the names of places from Google Maps or Foursquare. It gets names of intersections from OpenStreetMap and it gets lists of bus stops from various bus agencies. There's a very concise instruction manual inside of the app.

The AppStore entry is

This app used to be for Canada only. This restriction does not exist anymore, though it doesn't have bus stops outside Canada yet, but that's about to change as well.

If you find any bugs or if you have suggestions, you may report them to You may also use this forum, of course, but this email address goes straight to the team.

Thanks for your attention, I hope that you will like the app !


#1 Aussi en français

App Developer

BTW, this app also works in French. I am a native French speaker and I always test the app using French.

#2 Don't get me wrong, I'm not

Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad at you about it, I'm just very confused on what to do in this app once I accept the terms of service agreement and what jesters I should use. I think it needs to have some speech feedback telling you users how do use the app.

#3 Doesn't seem to do anything

Other than making noises this app doesn't apere to do anything.

#4 this app

I haven't figured out what to do with this app either. it just makes cute noises but does nothing else. so how do we use the app with no feedback other then noises?

#5 I have been to the website

I have been to the website for the app given in the appstore entry and watched the video about it, however I suspect something has gone badly wrong with this apps testing, maybe its because I am using it on a 7 plus, anyway when I start the app after accepting terms and conditions I don't get any tutorial as the news item said I should, the app just sits there and makes short noises that rise in pitch with no other feedback. also I am in the UK so its possible this app won't work in my country.

#6 same here

Same here. I'm rather confused.

#7 Not Working For Me Either

I'm using an iPhone SE in Canada. I can't get this app to work either. It didn't even bring up the terms of service for me. I also get no voice feedback at all.

#8 App Problem

I have an iphone 6 plus running ios 10.1. The app used to work for me. Now I am having a problem. I accepted the location allowance question. I only get the feedback when I switch from Radar and Beam modes. I can also get to the settings and other options by swiping up. This is all I can do with this app.

#9 I can't even

I can't evn get to the settings with a single finger swipe up. Neither can I do anything with any swiping, tapping, pinching or any other gesture that I know of. Currently running this app on an iPhone SE, 64 gb, running iOS 10.1.

#10 Autour bug

On behalf of the Autour team, I sincerely apologize for the problems you've encountered starting the app. It appears to be getting stuck at the beginning of the interactive tutorial, which is triggered at startup for first-time users, although possibly elsewhere as well . This problem only came to light following Mathieu's post, above. As far as we can tell so far, it only appears to manifest under iOS 10.*. Still, this is most embarrassing.

As a bit of further background, Autour has been in use for approximately three months, predominantly in Canada. We made a conscientious decision to make the app completely free in order to minimize the barriers for adoption by as many blind and visually impaired users as possible. Our hope is to give the community a greater sense of "what's around them" as they walk down the street, and to facilitate their exploration, both of familiar and unfamiliar locales. We believe that Autour offers advantages over BlindSquare and hope you'll agree once you're able to try it properly!

We expect to have the start-up problem resolved shortly, at which time, we will post an update. I very much hope you'll all give Autour a try then.

#11 It works fine on my iPhone 5s running iOS 9

Autour is a great app if your iPhone running iOS 9. Let's wait for the fix on iOS 10

#12 Autour app

Thought maybe the bugs identified above were fixed. Just downloaded this app. I said OK to allow the app to access my location, accepted the terms and conditions, then nothing happened. Closed the app and opened it again with the same results. So deleted it.

#13 ios 10

I'm thinking why all of you guys are complaining (don't get me wrong I'm not trying to be rude), is because approximately 70 percent of you guys are using iOS 10, and 30 percent of us are still on iOS 9.3.5.
So, what I'm guessing, is that people with iOS 10 are having the issue where the app doesn't do anything, but people on iOS 9.3.5 are not having any trouble.
This may also have to do with compatibility of your device. Check the information section in the app store entry and find where it says "Compatibility". Flick right and you will hear the required iOS version, and what devices are compatible to run the app.

#14 Autour bug FIXED!

On behalf of the Autour team, I'd like to thank everyone for your patience and am delighted to report that the bug that prevented the tutorial from starting under iOS 10 has now been fixed (in version 1.6.7, now available from the App Store). I apologize that we hadn't caught this earlier!

We hope you will give Autour another try and let us know what you think. Also, we are excited to let you know that public transit data has now been added for hundreds of cities around the world.

- Jeremy

#15 Add Other Voices?

Hi this app is really neat! Any chance you can add more voice support in the future? The only thing really stopping me from using this is Samantha as her voice goes right through my head. Other than that I really like this app and I think that the clock feature is great!

#16 Tutorial getting stuck on beam mode

My tutorial get stuck on the beam Mode. it says I have to rotate the phone and stay in the same direction as me so it will read out the different places that are around. However, when I rotate, nothing happens and then it just says to retry

#17 Add Other Voices? Yes!

Hi Jeff, Indeed, for those who don't like the "Samantha" voice, you can easily change this as follows (from
  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Speech.
  2. Choose your default dialect. Your options depend on the language your device is set to use.
  3. Choose Default or Enhanced Quality.

#18 I ment for this app

No I ment the voice for this app. I am currently using Daniel for Voiceover but the Autour app is using Samantha.

#19 Changing Voice


In order to change the default system voice, go to the speech settings under Accessibility. I am not talking about the settings in VoiceOver, but the ones that control Speak Screen. Change the voice from that screen and the app will use that as the default. Apple made it function like the SAPI speech control panel in WIndows or the speech section for System preferences on the Mac. This changes the system voice that applications use. Having said that, it would be nice to add an independent setting in the app to adjust the voice.

#20 Changing the voice for spoken speech within Autour

Thanks to Chris for noting that in order to change the voice for spoken speech within the app (rather than the VoiceOver prompts), you need to:

  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech.
  • Select Voices.
  • Choose the one voice and dialect you would like.
  • Regarding Chris' suggestion, I'd first want to find out how many users would find it helpful to have such an independent setting in the app, before adding yet another option to our already fairly lengthy list of preference settings!

    #21 That doesn't work either

    I set the voice to Daniel there as well but the app still uses Samantha.

    #22 iOS Version

    What version of iOS are you using? I think this only works on iOS 10.

    #23 IOS 10.1.1

    I am using IOS 10.1.1 on a 6S. This works with other apps such as Audio Darts but not this 1.

    #24 Tutorial

    When I start the app I am being forced to listen to a tutorial. I can’t move beyond this tutorial and use the app until I play its silly games. Why must this app treat me like a child and force me into a simulated travel route to learn the app? I want to learn the app on my terms not the developer’s idea of how I should learn the app. Blind Square has a user guide but the user is not forced to read it. I have an iPhone 7 running iOS 10.

    #25 Tutorial

    App Developer

    Hi, sorry, it took me a long time to notice that this has not been replied to. It's now possible to skip the tutorial since version 1.7.0 (january 2018. For that you have to go to the Settings app, in the Autour menu, and turn on the switch named "Bypass tutorial". But really, going through the whole tutorial is only 5 or 6 minutes and it probably saves you some time later. I saw BlindSquare's huge manual a few years ago and we made a point of keeping Autour's documentation short in comparison. After the tutorial, you have access to a small instruction manual in the "About" menu, but much of the documentation about settings is written directly below each item of the Settings menu (and at the top of each of its submenus).