Activating and Setting Up iPhone Without Sighted Assistance?

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
iOS and iPadOS

Does anyone know if you can setup and activate the iPhone without sighted assistance?



Submitted by mehgcap on Friday, September 19, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Yes. If you get your phone and it has not been set up already (such as by your cell carrier), just hit the home button three times and VoiceOver will come on. Find the button that keeps getting spoken in a bunch of languages and double tap it, then proceed through the setup process. You'll choose a language, country, wifi network, basic settings, and so on. Be sure that, once it's set up and you are on the home screen, you go in and set your accessibility shortcut to VoiceOver. Triple clicking the home button during setup will toggle VoiceOver, but once setup is complete, it won't.

Submitted by Jayson Smith on Friday, September 19, 2014

I only have experience setting up as a brand new iPhone and restoring from iCloud, but I think you can accessibly restore from iTunes as well.

When you power your phone on, right out of the box, wait for a little while. This is the only part you may have trouble with. If the phone is plugged in, it will probably vibrate twice when it's close to ready for input. If not, you'll have to guess at when it's ready. At any rate, hit the Home button three times. If this is your first iPhone, the Home button is on the front edge of the top of the phone, just above the charging port, etc. VoiceOver should start talking. If it's too soft, use the volume buttons on the left of the phone while it's talking. It'll be talking in a bunch of different languages. I'm not sure if this is necessary, but I always keep my finger around the Slide to Setup button, and only double tap it when it says it in English.

After that, it will prompt you for the information it needs. You can choose to set up as a new iPhone, restore from iCloud, or restore from iTunes.

If restoring from iCloud, and if this is a brand new iPhone running iOS 8, and if you have an existing iCloud backup, it will probably offer to upgrade to iCloud Drive. The general recommendation is that you choose the Not Now button, as iCloud Drive isn't supported everywhere yet.

Hope this helps!

Submitted by Serina Gilbert on Friday, September 19, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Thanks everyone for your prompt response. My iPhone 6 is due to arrive at my house today!!!

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Friday, September 19, 2014

If you have Siri enabled, you can also turn on Voiceover by using Siri, and saying "Turn on Voiceover."

Submitted by Lara Green on Saturday, September 20, 2014

In reply to by Serina Gilbert

Great hope you like the new phone
Anyone had problems restoring from icloud backup with voiceover? My iphone6 has taken over 4 hours restoring from my 16g ipad and with no way to check status not sure if it is stuck


Be patient. I haven't upgraded to iOS 8 yet (and don't intend to until the first bug-fix release) nor have I an iPhone 6. However, when I upgraded to my iPhone 5, it took nearly a day to finish restoring everything from my last iCloud backup. However, when the process was finally done, I could hardly tell my new iPhone 5 from my previous iPhone 4 insofar as screen and folder layouts were concerned.

As I say, be patient. If after a day or so if things haven't come up more-or-less normally, I'd begin to worry. Before panicking, though, I'd do a reset as if the phone were working and see what happened.

Submitted by Bobcat on Thursday, September 22, 2016

Got a new iPhone SE today. The sim card is not inserted yet. It was mailed to me by my mobile provider.
Do I put the sim in before first start or after setup? I'm guessing after.
I hope I don't loose that little card. Gonna put it in a bowl.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, September 22, 2016

Having just done this with an SE for my father, I needed to put it in first. After that things went fine.

Submitted by Danny Norris on Friday, September 23, 2016

If your are not sure if phone is powered up yet or not, flip the mute button back and forth until you feel the phone vibrate. It is the top toggle button on the left side of the phone.

Submitted by Danny Norris on Sunday, September 25, 2016

Just realized that for those of us that has the iPhone 7 and 7+, when you first power on the phones, the way you tell it is fully powered on is by continually hitting the Home button. It will start clicking when it is powered on. This also comes in handy if you happen to turn off Voice Over before powering down.