Limited hand/wrist dexterity, need alternative to VoiceOver rotor on iPad

iOS & iPadOS

I work with a woman who wants to use the voice over rotor on her ipad, but has limited ability to do the required gestures (twisting at wrist, holding fingers in position). Has anyone used switches instead in order to use ipads, or had success with other, hands-free ways of accessing voice over? Thanks for the support!



Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

She'd have to use two of her fingers to press the up and right arrows together to use the roter settings. If she can do that then a bluetooth keyboard would be a great tool for her.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hello. I do not have an iPad, so have no idea if this would work. Could she try placing one finger on the screen, and then with the other hand, do a diagonal flick? Again, I don't know her abilities, obviously, but guess this might work.

Thanks for your reply. She recently purchased a bluetooth keyboard and is learning how to use it, so I agree that is a great option. However, she would like to find a way to use voice over rotor controls without it, as she finds the keyboard cumbersome to carry around all the time. Thanks, and let me know if anything else comes to mind!

Yeah, that was an option, but unfortunately she has almost no functional use of her other hand, so must use only the iPad one-handed (left hand). I wonder if there is a stylus that could create that motion though? Thanks for response, and let me know any other ideas that come to mind.

Submitted by OldBear on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I'm pretty sure there is a setting in accessibility that you can set up a custom gesture and maybe change a gesture for voice over. Perhaps, if the rotor gesture can be changed, you all could come up with a workable gesture to replace it. Sorry I can't remember what that feature is called, I'll have to Google it some more.
Edit: It's called Assistive Touch in the settings, however I am not sure from what I read that you can change the Voiceover gestures with the custom gesture setting.

Submitted by Chris Bruinenberg on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yes, i was thinking assistive touch but wasn't sure if you can change voiceOver gestures that have been built in.

Submitted by OldBear on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I turned it on, it puts a menu button at the bottom right of the screen, and I didn't find anything that changed Voiceover settings. I wish it did because I don't like the gesture.
I don't understand how it works, and I'm afraid to fool with it too much. LOL

Submitted by Maanling on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

i did this with sighted help as i wasnt sure how to add a custom gesture while voiceover was active.

In the accessibility menu, turn on assistive touch. You will see other options beloe the on button. Tap add custom gesture. In the space provided , make the rotor gesture with your fingers. Tap stop. Tap save. Name it VO Rotor. Now turn on voiceover. Like crockerbear said, theres a menu bottom right of the screen. Find ut and double tsp. The menu opens. Find and double tap custom. Find and double tap vo rotor. Nowtap once anywhere on the screen. This will activate the rotor. Continuing to tap will cycle through rotor options until you make a different gesture.

Now im going to sleep.
Greetings from the Netherlands

Submitted by OldBear on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Oh, it does the gesture for you and you select it from the menu! I thought it changed the gesture, but that's even better for someone with limited hand movement. That sounds like exactly what is needed.

Submitted by Maanling on Thursday, May 19, 2016

You are welcome.

Yes. I have a little sight so I could see what was happening on the screen. Almost like 2 virtual vingers are indeed doing the gesture for you.

This means the whole operation of the phone can be accessed this way. Even the physical buttons for locking the screen, pushing the home button, adjusting volume, taking a screenshot and activating Siri.

In accessibility options is also something called switch control. This allows you to add a bluetooth switch like the Blue2 (yes, i did research) and control your phone that way.

You can even set up the FaceTime camera to allow you to control it with your head.

Greetings from the Netherlands.

Submitted by DMNagel on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Go to settings, accessibility, VoiceOver and commands. Select rotor and assign the gesture you would like for each rotor option. I don't have an iPad either, but in many cases, iOS and iPadOS are the same.

Submitted by Michael Feir on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Club AppleVis Member

Using the VoiceOver command seting to change the rotor cycling gestures to something useable sseems like the best option if you can come up with a gesture she can do which doesn't conflict with anything else she requires. In my guide, I wrote how to change the rotor twists to left and right swipes with two fingers. Perhaps, this would work for her.
My other thought is Voice Control. Presuming Siri can understand her, she could use her voice to turn the rotor and do other things. It's possible to use VoiceOver with Voice Control. The results would be better while wearing earphones or a headset so Voice Control doesn't get confused. Voice Control is in the accessibility settings and is different than Siri. Best of luck with helping this lady. I have no doubt that a workable solution can be found.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Would it work? Also in my iPhone, I got rotor to come up by using to finger sliding right or left and using one finger up or down to select. I am sure it can be setup for it?